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curvy bridesmaid dresses

5 Tips to Find the Perfect Curvy Bridesmaid Dress

  |   By Holly Jackson

If you’re a curvy woman of a certain age, there’s one question you’ve probably learned to dread: “Will you be a bridesmaid?”

There’s nothing like that unique combination of pure joy for your friend and complete certainty that you are likely to spend a day getting photographed in a dress that makes you look like a pink Heffalump.

Maybe you’re a bride yourself or just looking for an appropriate curvy bridesmaid dress to suggest to the bride-to-be. Today I’ve compiled a list of issues to concern yourself with and help any curvy bridesmaid look their best.

1. Avoid strapless and spaghetti strap dresses.

It’s not impossible to find a great strapless bra, but they are more individual than standard bras. To keep things easy, avoid strapless and spaghetti strap dresses that may make it hard to wear with a regular bra. If you do fall in love with a dress in this category, make sure to equip each bridesmaid with a matching shawl/cropped cardigan/coverup that matches their dress. These can serve a broad range of purposes, from hiding unwanted bra straps to keeping your bridesmaids warm in case of a weather change.

curvy bridesmaid dress

Monique Lhuillier Sleeveless V-Neck Chiffon Dress
Available in 8 Colors and Sizes 0-18
via Nordstrom

curvy bridesmaid dress

Adrianna Papell Lace Yoke Gown
Available in 2 Colors and Sizes 2-16
via Nordstrom
 
curvy bridesmaid dress
 
LaFemme Ruched Bodice Sweetheart Gown
Available in Sizes 0-14
via Neiman Marcus

2. Look for options outside of bridal boutiques.

If you’re a bride, this is probably old news. Bridal shops tend to work with smaller sample sizes and don’t always account for curves well. They may also have a more limited selection at a higher price point. Instead, check out both the formal gown section and bridal party lines at various department stores. Nordstrom and Neiman Marcus are both a safe bet, but even stores like J. Crew and BHLDN have great options these days. You’ll get more for your money and get to try on the sizes your bridesmaids will wear.

curvy bridesmaid dress

Fleur Dress
Available in 11 Colors and Sizes 0-18
via BHLDN
 
curvy bridesmaid dress
 
 
Francesca Sequin Dress
Available in Sizes 12-32
via Igigi
 

curvy bridesmaid dress

Mae Dress in Classic Faille
Available in 10 Colors and Sizes 00-16
via J. Crew
 
curvy bridesmaid dress
 
Julia Dress in Classic Faille
Available in 8 Colors and Sizes 0-16
via J. Crew

3. Stretch fabrics are your friend.

Stretch fabrics get a bad rap among the curvy clothing community, mostly because the ones used are so bad. A high-quality stretch fabric will help a dress fit better and be sturdy enough to avoid any awkward stretching or sheerness that can come with cheap materials. If you have a bunch of bridesmaids who are completely different sizes and body types, then you should look at simple column style or A-line dresses in beautiful stretch fabrics. They can be dressed up with belts, jewelry, wraps and shoes to look completely fashion forward as well.

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Adrianna Papell Embellished Metallic Jacquard Sheath Dress
Available in Sizes 2-16
via Nordstrom

curvy bridesmaid dresses

Social Bridesmaids Bateau Neck Jersey and Chiffon Gown
Available in 2 Colors and Sizes 0-16
via Nordstrom
 
curvy bridesmaid dress
 
 
Tadashi Shoji Sequined Lace Sheath Dress
Available in 7 Colors and Sizes 0-16
Regular and Petite
via Nordstrom

4. Don’t assume alterations will be simple or inexpensive.

It’s easy to find a dress that works for almost everyone and assume an extra curvy bridesmaid can have a tailor work on any lingering issues. Curves make almost everything more complicated, including alterations. Many alterations may result in the tailor having to take part of the dress apart and then put it back together again, which can rack up significant costs in addition to the original dress. Be kind and think of your bridesmaids’ wallet!

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Alfred Sung Dupioni Fit & Flare Dress
Available in 12 Colors and Sizes 0-16
via Nordstrom

5. Make sure that your curvy bridesmaid is comfortable in her dress.

Your bridesmaids are your friends, which means they naturally want to please you. After all, it’s your day! However, when you’re curvy, everything looks different. What may seem normal to you may make your bridesmaid feel overly exposed or be too form-fitting. Make sure you make it clear that you want everyone in your wedding party to feel comfortable in what they’re wearing, both physically and emotionally.

curvy bridesmaid dresses

Fame And Partners Plus Ainsley Multiway Dress
Available in Sizes UK 18-24 (US 14-20)
via ASOS

What do you think of these tips? Do you have any advice for brides looking for the perfect curvy bridesmaid dress? 

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Holly lives in an old house in New Orleans with her husband, two dogs and far too many bras. By day she runs The Full Figured Chest, the preeminent lingerie copywriting and marketing firm in the industry. She is the number one recommended copywriter by The Lingerie Journal and her blog was recently featured in Lucky Magazine as one of the top three lingerie blogs online.