The latest looks for the femmes in your bridal party

Bridesmaid dresses come in all sorts of styles and colors, and it’s important to choose a dress for your ’maids that coordinate with your wedding’s formality, color palette and flatters the woman wearing it.

Make sure to give yourself enough time to choose the dress, because it may take up to eight weeks for the store to deliver it and you need to allow time for alterations. Also, check the store’s ordering policy. It may not put the orders through until every bridesmaid has given her measurements or size and left a deposit. You may receive a discount for your girls if you order more than three, so ask about it. The dresses are probably not returnable so double check the style number, fabric and color before the order is placed.

Allowing your bridesmaids to choose their own dress has become more and more common, but always set guidelines and keep your veto power in case one girl selects a dress that you detest. Guidelines should include:

•  The color of the dress, specifically the shade. Purple can range from lavender to plum.

•  Formality, including hem length and whether some amount of arm coverage is required by the ceremony site.

•  Embellishments. Make sure you are clear as to what types of embellishments you are OK with.

Just because you are giving them the green light to choose their own dress doesn’t mean you can’t be part of the decision-making process. Offer to go dress shopping or e-mail images of dresses you like online from designer sites and e-retailers.

Here are some of the latest bridesmaid dress styles to help you and your bridesmaids find the right one for your wedding. Remember that each bridesmaid dress style will be available in a rainbow of colors so a dress you see here is not limited to the shade shown below:

One-Shoulder Necklines
This red-carpet style is the hot neckline for bridesmaids this year. The asymmetrical style adds a chic look to a short or long dress and designers are creating one-shoulder “straps” in a variety of ways.


L-R: White by Vera Wang Style VW360013, $168, exclusively at David’s Bridal; ML Monique Lhuillier Bridesmaids,; Amsale, Style G659C,; J. Crew, Style Lucienne, $235,; Alvina Valenta, Style AV9172,

White or Ivory, The Pippa Middleton Look

Ever since Pippa Middleton walked down the aisle in that stunning white Alexander McQueen dress, brides have begun asking for dresses in a similar style—capped sleeves, cowl neck. If the silhouette isn’t right for your wedding choose one you like and order it in white or ivory. Here are three white/ivory bridesmaid dresses, two very similar to Miss Middleton’s style.


L-R: A.B.S. by Allen Schwartz, Pippa’s Dress, $312,; J. Crew, Style Dabney, $295,; Lela Rose Bridesmaids, Style LX154,

Draped Bodice (and Purple)

I was pulling dresses with draped bodices when I realized that each of these are a shade of purple so this is for two trends. Designers are draping bodices to add an element of detailing to an otherwise unadorned dress. These three happen to be strapless and floor-length, but you’ll find bridesmaid dresses with draped bodices in both tea and knee-lengths and with a variety of straps/sleeves and necklines. As for purple, I think the royal wedding gave designers regal inspiration and you can pick lavender, bright purple or plum from most swatch cards. 


L-R: Dessy Collection, Style 2846,; ML Monique Lhuillier Bridesmaids,; Amsale, Style G629C,


Brides wearing a gown with a colored sash can mimic the look on their bridesmaid dresses. Designers offer a variety of styles with a coordinating belt or sash. Or choose a dress designed in multiple colors. It may difficult to find a patterned fabric that will look good on everyone so opt for a dress made from two solid colors: one for the bodice and one for the skirt.


L-R: Simple Shilhouettes, Style Freesia, $295,; Alfred Angelo, Style 7127,; Alfred Angelo, Style 7140,


Anne Chertoff is the author of The Wedding Organizer available at