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.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.Francesca Sequin Dress Available in Sizes 12-32 via Igigi 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.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!
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.
What do you think of these tips? Do you have any advice for brides looking for the perfect curvy bridesmaid dress?