Outfitting The Bridesmaids

1488110644_044538a7f8 Virginia’s article about the economic reasons why plus sizes are becoming harder to find in stores reminded me of a conversation I had just overheard about buying shoes. There was to be a wedding, and one of the bridesmaids wore size 10½ shoes. Every time the bridesmaids found a shoe that they all liked, it would be unavailable in size 10½. So they were starting to check out shoes at Zappos, with finding shoes available in 10½ as their first concern.

I have seen numerous bridesmaids’ dresses which were not particularly flattering, and I used to wonder if this was a conspiracy to make the bride look more beautiful. But now I suspect that it’s not easy to choose a dress style that will look flattering on a large variety of bodies.

I attended one wedding that illustrates this issue well, and I learned from talking with the dressmaker some of the problems that she can face. In that case the material chosen for the bridesmaid’s dresses was a boldly flowered print, and the finished dresses looked cute on the bridesmaids who were size 6, 8, and 10. But two of the bridesmaids were significantly larger: one had a bust line of 45 inches, and the other had a bust line of 52 inches (with a larger waist). The dressmaker actually had to have more cloth shipped in from out of town in order to have enough for their dresses, and the flowered print was definitely unflattering to the larger young women.

I realize that bridal dresses are usually intended to be a one-use outfit. But what about the bridesmaids? Do bridesmaids ever get to wear dresses that they find themselves using again for other occasions?

[Photo by Bradley P. Johnson and used under the Flickr Creative Commons license.]