For those of you carrying bridal fashions, be on the lookout for the very best stock in bridesmaids gowns as the wedding season approaches! “The brides are saying I want them to wear it again,” said Monta Vaden, a certified wedding specialist at Wedding Wonderland in West Knoxville. “Some of them look like party dresses.” One reason dresses translate to other occasions is length. “The trend is tea-length to cocktail, which is about right at the knee,” Vaden said. “This makes them kind of flirty but sophisticated.”
The higher hemline plays to a certain bridal demographic. “The average bride that comes in here is 19 to 24,” Vaden said. “Her bridesmaids are going to want something young and sexy, so they are going for the shorter dresses.”
Silhouettes for the little numbers range from classic A-lines to empire-waist goddess designs. Some have a simple natural waist with an easy skirt. Also, the bubble skirt is blowing up.
Fabrics also make them easy sells. There is polished cotton, which has a soft casualness and creates a dress that works for more relaxed or outdoor weddings. Chiffon adds elegant movement to the pieces. Of course, silk is popular, as is taffeta. Some makers have opted for polyester-silk blends, which has a super-lightweight hand. The Alfred Angelo label has done a knit-jersey line of bridesmaid dresses. “The fabric drapes beautifully and flatters every body type,” says Alfred Angelo designer Michael Shettel. “The combination of a unique fabric and trendy styling means these dresses can be worn again. Whether to a summer cocktail party, fancy dinner out or next year’s holiday parties.” Vaden said some brides are snapping up the dresses for rehearsal dinners. Also, she has sold some of the dresses to high schoolers during the prom season, where shorter looks took center stage.
At A Joyous Occasion, Frye has seen interest in them from mothers of the bride. “I encourage younger mothers to look at bridesmaids dresses,” she said. “A lot of the things for them are so matronly.” Although short is in vogue now, that doesn’t mean there isn’t a place for long dresses. “Some girls get nervous about the hem not falling at the same place (on their bridesmaids) with the shorter dresses,” Frye said. “I say eliminate the stress and go long.”
In necklines, strapless reigns supreme, with emphasis on the sweetheart. Halters are an option, too.
Details make the dresses pop. Waist interests are key, from skinny belts to bold obi-style sashes. Ruching (vertical and horizontal) at the bodice works, as does pleating. Some even have pockets.
As far as color, citrus brights are hot right now. On the other end are neutrals: black, brown, and taupe. Metallics are popular, as well. And it seems white bridesmaids dresses are no longer a no-no.
“The rules are out the window,” Frye said. “It’s all about personal style and about what the bride envisions.”