How to Pick Bridesmaid Dresses

Don’t know how to pick bridesmaid dresses? We can help. Read on to discover our top tips and advice.

By Jane Chertoff

How to Pick Bridesmaid Dresses
Photo by Onelove Photography

Picking out a bridesmaids dress that looks fabulous on your body type doesn’t have to be complicated. There are so many options for bridesmaids dresses, from fit-and-flare to A-line, to halter, V-neck, and one-shoulder. There really is something out there for everyone. If you know where to look, you’re bound to find a dress style that’s both flattering and comfortable. To help inform your search, use this handy guide.

Petite Bridesmaid Dresses

Petite gals may feel swallowed up by off-the-rack dresses, so alterations are key to getting the fit just right. That said, the best dresses for petite frames include dresses that are form-fitted at the waist and have shorter hemlines.

Anything that draws attention up to the neck and shoulders like V-neck, spaghetti straps, or sleeveless dresses, will help elongate petite gals. Short dresses also look adorable on petite frames. But if you have your heart set on a longer dress style, it can work—as it’s expertly tailored for a petite frame.

How to Pick Bridesmaid Dresses | Zola Photo Credit // Zola

Best bets: A-line, V-neck, spaghetti straps, sleeveless necklines

Tall/Athletic Bridesmaid Dresses

Tall or athletic bridesmaids are long and lean, so they can get away with lots of different styles when going bridesmaid dress shopping. To create the illusion of a waist, however, consider a bridal gown with an empire waist or a column-style dress that you can wear with a belt. As for necklines and straps, try a halter or one-shoulder dress. Long maxi dresses are ideal for the tall bridesmaid, too. They still may need to be altered, though, and your tailor may be able to add extra material for length, if needed.

Best bets: Empire waist, belted dress, halter, one-shoulder

Busty Bridesmaid Dresses

For more coverage, a scoop neckline or shoulder drapes work well. Or if they’re comfortable showing off a little more skin, they may love a sweetheart bodice or V-neck dress with wide straps. Just make sure everything is tailored well, so the fit shows off all your gal’s best assets. The right supportive undergarments are also key here.

Best bets: Scoop neckline, shoulder drapes, sweetheart bodice, V-neck

Pear or Triangle-Shaped Bridesmaid Dresses

Pear or triangle shapes want to balance out their lower half. Look for fit-and-flare dresses, A-line, or a flared skirt with a top, if you’re open to separate pieces. As for necklines, strapless or V-neck lines will draw attention upward and help balance out the look.

Best bets: Fit-and-flare, flare skirt with top (separates)

Plus-Size Bridesmaid Dresses

Plus-size bridesmaids shouldn’t feel limited in their selection. There are so many great plus-size styles available that look great. Look for a trumpet style, A-line, or anything with a cinched or belted waist and details like a deep V-neck or even cap sleeves or thicker straps for more coverage.

Best bets: Cap sleeves, A-line, empire waist, trumpet style

Bridesmaid Dresses for Pregnant Women

Going to be preggers on the big day? You can still have a gorgeous dress that fits your growing bump. Let the store know you’re looking for a maternity dress (if you’re going to be over five or six months on the wedding day) that can easily be taken out as needed. As for styles, look for an extendable empire waist in a soft fabric or a form-fitting mermaid gown that showcases the bump.

Best bets: Soft fabrics, empire waist that sits above the bump, maternity mermaid gown, shoulder details

What Bridesmaid Dress Looks Best on Everyone?
How to Pick Bridesmaid Dresses | Zola Photo Credit // Lisette Gatliff Photography

If you’re getting married and searching for a dress that will look great on everyone, you can’t go wrong with an A-line dress that will be altered to everyone perfectly before the big day.

If you’re the bride, be sure to consider your wedding’s color palette and overall style before selecting your bridal gown selection. Or better yet, why not choose a color and then let your girls decide on their own style dress? The photos will still look uniform and everyone will look great in their chosen silhouette.

When it comes to bridesmaid dress shopping, there really aren’t too many rules. Whether you go for matching dresses or have all your girls in a different dress, the decision is really up to you and what you envision on your special day.

Visit Zola’s bridal boutique for even more bridesmaid dress inspo.

Simplify Your Wedding Planning at Zola