To the relief of bridesmaids everywhere, there has been a major shift in the bridal industry over the last few years.

Designers are now paying more attention to modern styles and fashions. No longer must bridesmaids choose between the hideous hot pink or baby blue chiffon gown that absolutely screams wedding. Now they can find dresses they might actually want to wear again.

Why is this happening now? For decades the bridal industry seemed stuck in a time warp.Bridesmaids were forced to wear the same styles their mothers had worn when they were bridesmaids thirty years before. Then wedding costs went through the roof.

The price of the average wedding has doubled in the last two decades. As a result, more and more couples are planning less expensive, less formal ceremonies. This has had an influence on everything from the venue to the dresses. Brides-to-be demanded more affordable modern gowns and the industry responded.

Dresses for the bridesmaids have also become more affordable due mostly to the bride-to-be. Twenty or thirty years ago, she was expected to select the dress.

Only on rare occasions did she delegate the responsibility to her maid of honor. But as weddings costs increases, many brides-to-be started feeling guilty about forcing their friends to buy dresses they would only wear once.

Bridesmaids will always defer to the bride-to-be when it comes to selecting a dress. After all, it is her big day. But since they want their friends to be comfortable, most brides-to-be merely pick the color. They let the bridesmaids select their own style and cut of dress.


Just as white became inextricably linked to the bridal gown, colors like baby blue, hot pink, and fuchsia were tied to the bridesmaid dress. But since brides usually keep their dresses and pass them on to their daughters or daughters-in-law, color has never been an issue.

Bridesmaid dresses, on the other hand, are not kept for posterity. Most of them ended up at consignment shops a day or two after the wedding. Choosing less wedding-specific colors gives bridesmaids the option of selecting a dress they can wear again.

Choosing a color isn’t nearly as easy as it seems. The appeal of the old standbys was that the bride-to-be didn’t have to think about which color worked best for each of her bridesmaids. Some experts even recommend different colors for different seasons. Our advice is to choose a classic color that can be worn at any time of the year.

Metallic colors like silver, platinum and pewter are popular with bridesmaids of all ages. They can be worn at both casual and formal weddings or to future dinner or cocktail parties. Paler yellows and greens work well for outdoor ceremonies on the grass or in the sand. Black is a perennial favorite that most bridesmaids adore. The classic little black dress can flatter almost any figure.



As we mentioned, most brides-to-be encourage their bridesmaids to choose their own style of dress. Over the past few years, the average dress has gotten much simpler, shorter and more fluid. Gone are the ruffles, frills and furbelows. In short, the modern bridesmaid dress no longer looks like an old prom dress.

The A-line dress is probably the most popular style or cut of formal dress. They compliment most body shapes and can be worn at both formal and informal ceremonies. Ball gowns are also quite popular with older bridesmaids or for those who like longer, more elaborate dresses.

Hem and Neckline


Most bridesmaids are well aware of the fact that they should not wear a dress that is shorter or has a lower cut neckline than the bride-to-be. If their friend is wearing a tea-length dress, then they should wear a tea-length dress as well.

The bride-to-be seldom has to mention this to her girlfriends. Décolleté necklines are strictly off limits if is the bridal gown has a halter or high collar. The same goes for strapless dresses. If the bride-to-be is wearing a traditional dress with straps, her bridesmaids should follow suit.




In addition to the dress, bridesmaids are often encouraged to select their own accessories. From shoes to jewelry to their own bouquets, bridesmaids can define their very own look. As you might expect, the shoes are often the most important accessory.

Freed from the hideous traditional colors, many bridesmaids are selecting fabulous footwear to strut around in on their friend’s big day. The most popular and publicized trend is once again metallic colors.

This may have something (or everything) to do with the fact that black is now one of the most popular bridesmaid dress colors. And you don’t have to be a dressmaker to know that every metallic color looks great with black. Silver, platinum and gold shoes are now top sellers.

Whether you are a bridesmaid or the bride-to-be, the most important thing is finding a dress that you feel comfortable in. Modern fashions and more appealing colors have made that easier than ever.