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Pale shades lend an undeniable air of romance to a wedding, but pastel-colored bridesmaid dresses can risk looking froufrou. To keep the feel fresh and modern, choose an up-to-date shape like an Empire waist or a chic detail like an on-the-shoulder bow.
Silk crepe dress, Thread, $480; threaddesign.com for stores. *
Matte jersey dress, Vera Wang, $250; available in March at verawangonweddings.com.
A knot adds oomph to the bustline!
Silk taffeta dress, J. Crew, $225; jcrew.com.
Chiffon gown, Bari Jay, $190; barijay.com for stores.
Pair pastels with bright colors. "A soft pink dress looks hot with red or purple shoes for a party," says celebrity stylist Kate Young.
Whether long or short, strapless or V-neck, not-so-basic black is beloved for its formality and dramatic contrast with the bride's white gown. And talk about something your bridesmaids can wear again! Who doesn't want a gorgeous black dress in her closet?
Flatters most figures!
Cotton sateen dress, David's Bridal, $135; 877-923-2743 for stores.
Silk taffeta dress, Ann Taylor, $215; anntaylor.com.
Silk charmeuse dress, Lynn Lugo, $285; lynnlugo.com for stores.
English net gown, Lazaro, $330; jlmcouture.com for stores.
Ditch the strand of pearls or diamond studs, and layer mismatched, bold costume jewelry over a black dress to give it a sexy cocktail vibe, says Kate Young.
CLIFFS NOTES ON LENGTHS, FABRICS AND SILHOUETTES
Want long dresses? Give guidelines for hemming: One gal's version of full length could just hit the ankles, while another's may skim the floor.
Silk shantung and douppioni silk are smart fabric choices: They're breathable, don't wrinkle, and are modern enough to wear again.
Make sure your friends aren't tugging at their strapless tops. Choose a style with boning that's cut high under the arms.
So you want to stay subdued, but navy and brown aren't for you? This season's take on neutrals ranges from warm, shimmery mocha to cool steel gray. Proof that you can play it safe and still have fun! Plus, the shades work for either a day or evening wedding.
Silk shantung dress, Coren Moore, $290; corenmoore.com for stores.
Silk chiffon gown, Jenny Yoo Collection, $338; 323-951-0521.
Shows off a trim waist!
Douppioni silk dress, Purely Alfred Angelo, $223; alfredangelo.com for stores.
Silk shantung dress, Simple Silhouettes, $275; simpledress.com for stores.
De-wedding the look by adding a cropped denim or leather jacket to a neutral cocktail dress. "It will make it cooler, more fun and relaxed," says Kate Young.
MAKE SCOUTING FOR BRIDESMAID DRESSES EASIER FOR EVERYONE
Invite your maid of honor to help narrow options before letting everyone weigh in, suggests Bridget Brown of Bella Bridesmaid.
If your supporting cast has a diverse mix of shapes, choose a color and fabric, then let them select the style that flatters them best.
Luckily, many lines now have plus-size and maternity styles in their collection, so check before zeroing in on a particular brand.
The spring runways popped with saturated hues like sapphire and amethyst, and these bold colors work just as well for a walk down the aisle. Bridesmaids who want to stand out from the crowd will applaud your fashion-forward eye.
Taffeta dress, Jim Hjelm, $200; jlmcouture.com for stores.
Matte jersey gown, Melissa Sweet Bridesmaid, $268; priscillaofboston.com for stores.
Taffetta dress, Love Special Occasion, $220; lovebyenzoani.com for stores.
Silk chiffon, Watters Maids, $270; watters.com for stores.
Wear black opaque tights, black booties, and a thin cardigan over a short jewel-tone dress, and the look instantly becomes date-worthy.
TIPS ON WHO PAYS FOR WHAT AND HOW MUCH
Typically, bridesmaids are responsible for buying their own dresses, according to Bridget Brown. The average price: $200 to $400.
Lessen the burden on a cash-strapped buddy by offering to kick in $50 or $100 in lieu of a traditional bridesmaid gift like jewelry.
Another way to keep costs down: Let girls wear their own shoes and accessories. Just give some direction like "metallic" or "pearls."
* For details and other credits, turn to page 289.
Waterman, Lauren. "Dresses They'll Want to WEAR AGAIN." In Style Winter 2010: 135. General OneFile. Web. 9 Nov. 2010.
Gale Document Number:A215799074