Bridesmaid dresses have experienced a well-deserved renaissance as of late. No longer is the category restricted to shiny, over-the-top frocks that are destined for a sad afterlife in the deepest, unreachable corners of your closet — now, options abound for flattering, modern gowns that can be worn again and again.
Below, some trending styles to consider that will ensure your bridal party stands out on the Big Day.
Amsale Sophia dress in Ruby ($357 at Blush Bridal Boutique).
Keep it sleek
Flowy, billowing frocks may have been the choice of bridesmaids a few years ago, but, these days, folks are going a lot sleeker.
“For a long time, people thought by hiding their bodies, they were doing themselves a favour,” explains Candice Wheeler, manager at Victoria’s Blush Bridal Boutique. “But, as time has gone on, people have realized that more form-fitting silhouettes can be just as flattering, if not more flattering.”
Look for gowns that highlight your bridal party’s favourite parts of their bodies — whether that be a waist-cinching wrap dress or a shorter number that shows off long legs. And don’t be afraid to mix and match dresses in the same colour family to ensure every member of your party feels confident and comfortable.
Park and Fifth Bloor Curve dress in Dove Grey ($290).
Calm, cool and collected
Colours like green, blue and grey are having a moment in the bridesmaids world, with many people opting for these cool-toned hues over more traditionally “romantic” ones like nudes and pinks.
“We’re seeing a lot of smoky blues and navies and everything from a beautiful light mint all the way to super rich forest greens,” says Wheeler.
Meanwhile, Lindsay Mix, studio manager at Vancouver’s Park and Fifth, notes dove grey has been particularly popular with her clients. “It pairs well with any setting,” she says, “and it's just very simple, clean, elegant.”
Park and Fifth Bowen dress in Rose Floral ($195).
Don’t stop at mixing and matching dress styles for your bridesmaids — switch up the fabrics for added dimension, too. Mix says, at Park and Fifth, bridal parties are increasingly pairing satin slip dresses with more traditional crepe numbers. “It gives the palette a little more depth,” she says.
The key to ensuring a cohesive look with so many cuts and textures at play? Stay within the same colour family. “Make sure all the undertones are the same — so either all cool colours or all warm colours,” says Mix. “I think that’s really important.”
The Dessy Group off-the-shoulder chiffon dress with sash in Desert Rose ($290 at Blush Bridal Boutique).
Right to bare arms
Whether it’s breezy sleeves or an exposed-shoulder cut, bridesmaid dresses are all about baring arms as of late — in fresh, modern ways. “It’s not necessarily just the strapless or a spaghetti strap anymore,” says Mix. “People are branching out.”
Wheeler is a fan of the off-the-shoulder look, which she says complements an underrated part of the body. “I find the collarbone one of the body’s prettiest features,” she says, “so it’s nice to be able to show it off in a new way, as opposed to with your basic strapless.”