A Guide To Buying A 'Plus-Size' Bridesmaid Dress
The Debrief: Because it is possible to retain your style and have a dress that fits and suits you...
Social convention dictates that bridesmaid dresses are a bit of a minefield. Matching shiny satin numbers tied with a sash around the middle in a colour no one likes? The worst. Not least because plus size bridesmaids are implicitly or explicitly excluded from the matchy-matchy lineup- either because the size range doesn’t go big enough for us, or because the dress looks extra-gross when simply sized up with no regard for varying body sizes.
Fortunately, the one and only time I’ve been a bridesmaid, I could pick my own dress. A draped, chiffon duck-egg blue sleeveless dress that I never wore again but looked and felt great in at the time. Hopefully you’ll be given free rein, but even then there’s a whole range of things to consider: is it ok to wear cream or white? If I wear a dark colour is that inappropriate for a summer wedding? How can I still look like myself while adhering to the dress code? And, for a plus size bridesmaid who’s given the luxury of choosing her own dress: will there be anything in my size that I want to wear?
First and foremost, think about your personal style because there’s nothing worse than feeling uncomfortable on a day when you’re having a ton of photos taken. From there, figure out what works with the rest of the wedding party’s aesthetic.
I rounded up these nine dresses that I think are perfect for the plus size bridesmaid. I tried to include as comprehensive a size range as possible, but I found in my research that there’s a major gap in the market around formal event outfits above a UK size 26, which drops off even more considerably at a size 28. This won’t come as a surprise to anyone who wears those sizes, but it feels worth pointing out so that brands know where they’re falling short.
I gravitated towards a sorbet/pastel colour palette which I know isn’t the most imaginative approach but it feels right for spring/summer weddings. I’m personally not anti-wedding guests wearing pale (read: bride-like) colours, and feel the ASOS short-sleeved cream dress with silver sequins would look incredible on a tall bridesmaid. If you want a more punchy colour, I adore the yellow of the Manon Baptiste floral dress from navabi, and I reckon the colour-blocked Anna Scholz dress would look brilliant with chunky platform heels in a third bright colour. Lace and chiffon are always super pretty, and I feel that a draped deep V-neck suits both a large bust if you want to show it off, and a smaller bust, since the draping means the fabric sits well without making it look like the dress doesn’t fit.
Obviously, take on board what your bride wants, but I firmly believe there’s no reason why being a bridesmaid means you shouldn’t retain your style and have a dress that fits and suits you.
1. Peach Grecian midi dress from Simply Be, £69
2. Nude embellished maxi dress from ASOS, £95
3. Lilac prom dress for Chi Chi London, £66.99
4. Floral textured knee-length dress from Navabi, £179.99
5. Apricot beaded maxi dress with split from Simply Be, £110
6. Pink one-shoulder prom dress from Forever Unique at ASOS, £175
7. Block colour v-neck swing dress from Anna Scholz, £199
8. Pastel floral knee-length dress from Studio 8, £140
9. Pink off-the-shoulder prom dress from Evans, £43.50 (sale)
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