Back when the tradition of bridesmaids wearing matching gowns first became popular in the mid 1800s, the dresses they wore would coincide in formality with the time of day the wedding took place. But today, the formal bridesmaid dress is acceptable for just about any type of wedding, including late-morning, afternoon, or evening nuptials.
Much like this change in wedding etiquette, the dress for bridesmaid has also, thankfully, drastically changed over the last 150 years or so and have evolved from unflattering styles, colors, and fabrics to dresses that can actually be worn again to another formal event.
Popular Colors and Fabrics for Formal Bridesmaid Dresses
While at one time, black was one color never to be worn to a wedding, and especially not by members of the bridal party, fortunately that’s now no longer true with this color opening up a great deal of flattering choices to choose from. Black can also be accented by literally any other color in the spectrum, including ultra formal accents in gold or silver, or even offset by the palest of cream colors and ivory.
Other dark shades such as hunter green, burgundy, brown, deep reds, plum and blues are all perfect for the formal bridesmaid dress, and the darkest of colors will always flatter any type of figure. However, you aren’t necessarily limited by these particular colors, just be sure those you do pick are in the styles of dresses that match the formality of the day.
Some of the fabrics used to make the most beautiful and formal of bridesmaid’s dresses include satin or sateen, silk, which will always be in style, and organza, a blend that’s comprised of silk fibers along with nylon and polyester to create this sheer, elegant fabric. For a vintage but formal look, choose fabrics like velvet, crushed velvet, or velour.
Formal Bridesmaid Dress Styles
Today, classic, understated, and elegant are three words that instantly come to mind when it comes to the formal bridesmaid gown, as long gone are the layers of taffeta and ruffles that once struck fear in the hearts of bridesmaids everywhere. Formal dresses are usually floor-length and will rarely fall above the knee. A simple gown with spaghetti straps would work well, and if any of the maids are concerned with showing too much of their shoulders or arms, scarves or wraps in matching or complementary colors are the answer for this and any style of dress that’s without sleeves.
Accessories, such as embellishments on the dress in sparkling faux crystals, the shoes, or glamorous headpieces and matching jewelry can all add to the formality of a gown as well.
According to proper etiquette, the bride decides upon the colors and the fabrics she wants while the bridesmaids can then have the liberty of choosing the specific style of formal bridesmaid dress they like the most, or the one that looks best for their figure. This not only gives the members of the bridal party the freedom to pick an outfit they’ll be happy to be seen in, and hopefully, be able to wear once again, which is especially important with the high prices of most everything today.