The Agony Of Ugly Bridesmaid Dresses

This weekend, the romantic comedy "27 Dresses" opens in theatres nationwide.

In it, Katherine Heigl plays a young woman who's always a bridesmaid, but never a bride -- 27 times, in fact -- and she has 27 ugly dresses to prove it!

Sound familiar? Many woman have to grin and wear it -- some 11 million are bridesmaids each year -- and many are forced to don the most unflattering dresses.

On The Early Show Friday, Heather Levine, fashion editor of The Knot, offered suggestions to help brides-to-be spare their bridesmaids of the dreaded dresses.

Oh -- and the set was "adorned' with several examples of very unflattering bridesmaid dresses.


One of the biggest trends in bridesmaids' dresses is to have them look coordinated, but not match too much.

Some things to keep in mind:

  • Pick a color, but LET THEM CHOOSE THE STYLE: There's nothing wrong with wanting your bridal party to look coordinated, but because all your girls have unique shapes and styles, why not pick a color and fabric and have them choose the rest? Just be sure to choose a color that's flattering on the various skin tones of your bridesmaids
  • KEEP WEARABILITY IN MIND: No matter how cute the outfit, once it's called a bridesmaid dress and someone is wearing it next to 11 other girls, chances are she won't be too excited to put it on again. But there is hope: By adding ruffle trims and floral embellishments, varied hemlines, and flattering necklines, designers are making bridesmaid dresses feel more like sophisticated eveningwear that would never be pegged as a multiple.
  • GO FOR METALLICS: Rather than asking your girls to buy matching celadon green wedges, these days, formal footwear is all about silver and gold. Metallic accessories were hot on ready-to-wear runways this year, and that look has trickled down to bridesmaid fashion, as well -- and it will work with just about any color and look you've picked for your bridesmaids.
  • LET YOUR GIRLS CHOOSE THEIR JEWELRY: You can and should suggest the type of jewelry you'd like to see them wear (pearls, silver, or gold), but allow them to pick from their own closets when it comes to the particulars. Chances are, your pictures won't pick up the difference in their jewels, and they'll feel more comfortable in baubles they already know and love.

    CONSIDER HAVING EACH BRIDESMAID CARRY A BOUQUET OF DIFFERENT BLOOMS, ALL WITHIN YOUR WEDDING COLORS: So, if your colors are pink and green, one girl could hold a bouquet of pale pink roses, another of fuchsia peonies, and another of green hydrangeas. Your bouquet could then consist of one or two flowers from each of theirs, bringing the look together!


  • BRIGHT COLORS: Bright and bold colors are all the rage, from electric blue, to hot pink, and even canary yellow.
  • UNSTRUCTURED SHAPES: Another trend that that spilled over from ready-to-wear is unstructured shapes. Some shapes look great on tall/thin-ballerina-type figures, but aren't good for curvy girls, since they'll look as though you're trying to cover something up, when you should be flaunting it!
  • EMPIRE WAISTLINES: The ultra-flattering trend of empire waists has definitely spilled over from ready-to-wear. This is a great option for curvy girls, and also works great for pregnant bridesmaids!