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Bridesmaids Dresses | Manolo for the Brides - Part 10
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Bridesmaids of a certain age

I asked my FSIL to be a bridesmaid in my wedding in a misguided attempt to foster some sort of sisterly bond between us. Long story short, I now advise all who ask me whether they should do the same to choose their maids on the basis of already extant bonds. Thankfully I’ve rambled on about in-laws quite recently, so this post is not about spousal sisters but rather about the dresses they might want to wear if asked to be in the bridal party.

Longer story short, my SIL is a bit older than The Beard, and the dresses she initially gravitated toward had sleeves and conservative necklines, like these from Aria.

Still swingy, but not quite as showyAnd a tad more grown up

Please note that I in no way encouraged my SIL to do anything outside of choose a dress that was the right length and the right color. She herself brought up the fact that she would feel more comfortable in a frock that didn’t bare too much and wasn’t particularly daring, meaning no strapless dresses or dipping décolletages. That was fine by me, just as my own sister’s choice of a dress with the tiniest of spaghetti straps was fine by me. I’m easygoing like that.

Even longer story short, dwelling on the whole amazingly facocked situation got me thinking about older bridesmaids in general and how they might feel when wearing in a little silk sheath surrounded by gals ten or more years their junior.

I can easily imagine many a mother who’d be utterly honored to stand amongst her daughter’s bridesmaids. On the other hand, most bridesmaid garb is designed for the younger, youthful figure. Heck, I’m only 28 (maybe 26 or even 25 on a good day) and I already prefer clothing that conceals more than it reveals.

If I’m not quite young or youthful enough for many of today’s bridesmaid styles, I’m guessing that your mom or your Aunt Beth or your older cousin who’s like a sister to you might appreciate not being asked to wear something short, strapless, and tight. Should your wedding party include bridesmaids of a certain age, you may want to consider choosing a dressmaker that will outfit each of your bridesmaids in a different style using the same fabric.

And now, a poll…

Enter the boob bow

It’s hard to missSomething to hold on to?

You know your best friend isn’t really your best friend when she shows up on your doorstep, terribly excited that she finally found THE perfect bridesmaids’ dresses, and after a great deal of hand fluttering and giggling, she shows you this Saeyoung Vu Couture number. We left butt bows behind for a reason…there’s no need for the boob bow to step in to fill the gap.

All I can think of when looking at this dress is how that bow will undoubtedly come in handy during drunken attendant couplings wherein overzealous and none too coordinated groomsmen are doing their best to make sweet, sweet inebriated love to bridesmaids in reception hall broom closets. The bow says, quite clearly, “Hey, you fumbling oaf, ‘the girls’ are right here!” It is, additionally, something to grab onto when the world starts spinning and all that post-nuptial naughtiness just plain loses its allure.

Blue, blue, blue, blue bridesmaids

Over at Manolo for the Home, I talk about how overwhelmingly blue the furniture and design world has been as of late. Seriously — looking at Bluefly, I’d say that a good 85% of the blue dresses could easily be integrated into the photo shoots in my stack of more recent home decor rags. Now I’m a blue fanatic. In fact, I’m kind of surprised my wedding colors were brown and gold rather than blue and silver. Life’s funny like that, I guess.

Aren’t these blue dresses beautiful? Wouldn’t they look lovely on a gaggle of giggly bridesmaids?

Go darkGo long
Go lightGo Wang?

Usually I’d take dresses like these and match them with something like a cake or flowers or place settings, but I’m in a weird mood. As it turns out, you can match your bridesmaids to your port-o-johns if you’re so inclined.

Outdoor potty segregation can be a good thing


Think about it–will you really ever wear it again?

One E. Dee Martin of Washington, DC decided to prove that you really can re-wear those tired old bridesmaid dresses hanging in the back of your closet. She and her girlfriends picked out their ugliest wedding frocks and staged a no holds barred pastels vs. autumn shades bridesmaid football game.

Strap pulling is 100% legal

Awesome, no? The first (and by far the most awful) bridesmaid dress I ever wore was made of some scratchy, shiny teal fabric, but I can’t dis on it too hard because my grandma made it and she might stumble across this blog someday. Sorry, gram!

A great little article in the NYT Fashion & Style section discusses the evolution of the bridesmaid dress, from “structured duchess satin” gowns to sophisticated gowns that flow with the body. The article makes the claim that today’s bridesmaid garb is far more fashion forward than the poufy pastel dresses of yesteryear.

“Everybody wants to put their personal touch on the dress,” said Lazaro Perez of the Lazaro bridal house. Requests typically include hems and neckline modifications, or a change in fabrics. Some houses are responding with a menu of options meant to render the one-style-fits-all philosophy of bridal-party dressing as quaint as twin beds in the honeymoon suite.

It’s a nice sentiment, but a quick search reveals that there are still scads of ugly bridesmaid dresses out there that wouldn’t be out there if people weren’t buying them. I think that the gown industry still has a long row to hoe. What say you?

Mom’s the Word

No, this isn’t about MOB dresses or how to get along with your mother-in-law. This is about when there’s a mom-to-be in the bridal party.

Once upon a time, such a situation would have been unheard of. Bridesmaids were expected to be unmarried and younger than the bride. Brides were expected not to know about the birds and the bees until mom clued them in just before it was too late and in vague, terrifying terms.

Now, though, the rules have changed. When I was married way back in 1993, I had five bridesmaids. Four of them were married. The other was twelve years old. Two were pregnant. Both were in the very early stages, so it didn’t affect the clothes, but I’ve sometimes wondered how I would have handled the situation if one of them had been further along.


So cheap, it can’t possibly be legal…but it is

Will you get the dress of your dreams or a crappy copy?

The legality of counterfeit (or so-called designer inspired) dresses is confusing to many people. No one wants to pay full price for what they believe is a designer dress and then discover that it’s a knock-off. But some brides-to-be and their maids, in the interest of saving money, gladly patronize eBay sellers and online shops that blatantly advertise from scratch copies of high-end wedding gowns and bridesmaid dresses.

Counterfeit Chic has a straightforward explanation of how laws and lace intersect:

Like other items of clothing, wedding dress designs are not protected by intellectual property law. One designer did manage to find a loophole, however. In Eve of Milady v. Impression Bridal, 957 F.Supp. 484 (S.D.N.Y. 1997), Judge Shira Scheindlin granted a prliminary injunction against an alleged copyist of the distinctive lace designs on certain bridal dresses. The reason? While clothes are not subject to copyright, fabric designs are considered protectable forms of writing, and the court found lace patterns to be a form of fabric design.

So where does that leave sites like Designer Duplicates and The Bridal Chalet? Here’s a bit of copy from the latter’s web site:


Time to raid the closet!

E-mail troubles prevented me from posting this yesterday, but I wanted to direct you to the fabulous Francesca’s post on Manolo for the Big Girl wherein she mentions that Sydney’s Closet is having its fall sale. I know at least one lovely lady who fell in love with a gown from Sydney’s Closet, and it’s easy to see why. Thank ye gods for the Internet, where a girl can find whole shops devoted to her size.

Here are three of my favorites:

Va va va voom!


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