Dear Miss Marie,
I am getting married next Spring and do not want my bridesmaid dresses to look tacky or too "bridesmaidsy." Do you have any tips on finding great bridesmaid dresses?
I am so glad you asked! It has become a cliche that bridesmaids dresses are tacky - but still no one seems to learn from it! First - fabric choice is key. Dresses should not be shiny unless they are made of silk. Natural fibers are the way to go because nothing screams synthetic (and cheap) like a super shiny dress. Secondly, its easiest to choose a great bridesmaids' dress if it isn't a bridesmaids dress. Beautiful dresses can be found from mid range stores like J.Crew, Anthropologie, Anne Taylor, Modcloth, and BHLDN (though this is a bridal line). Dresses with a pattern or texture also are unexpected and add a level of sophistication.
Lots of brides are also choosing to pick a hue or palette and letting their maids choose their own dress (with the bride's guidance and approval of course!). This helps each girl feel comfortable and pretty by choosing a dress that fits her style and body. This is especially recommended when your bridesmaids are drastically different heights/weights/body types.