Thursday, November 8, 2012

Trend: Mismatched Bridesmaids

I know you're obsessed with the trend of mismatched bridesmaids, so I decided to write a post dedicated to helping you do it successfully. We've all seen the photos all over Pinterest with perfectly mismatched dresses that look like Martha Stewart handpicked them to create the most beautifully eclectic and chic bridal party on the planet. We've also seen plenty of photos of the unsuccessful mismatched look where you can't tell what the theme was (if any).

If creating the perfect mismatched look seems daunting to you, just relax! Below is everything you need to know to do it right. There are a couple of rules that can help guide you, but ultimately, it's about finding a combination that you love and that makes all your girls look great.

Rule #1: No matter how mismatched, they should still look like your bridal party. As your bridesmaids, they are supposed to stand out from your guests, and their attire should reflect that.
Rule #2: No matter how mismatched, there should still be some unifying look about them. This can be the fabric or color of the dress, or even just their accessories and/or flowers. You'll see as we continue.

There are ultimately three different ways to mismatch your bridesmaids successfully:
1.) Different dress, same color.
2.) Same dress, different color.
3.) Different dress, different color.

The first option- Different dress, Same color- is very popular and probably the best way to create a unified look while also giving each bridesmaid the opportunity to show her own style. Below are four gowns all in the same shade of grey and all made in the same fabric- chiffon:

Why this works:  
- Even though all the dresses are different, they all come from the same designer, and are in the same fabric and color.
- When photographed, they will all reflect light in the same way because the fabric is the same in all four dresses.
- In addition, each bridesmaid is able to choose the neckline, silhouette and even length that will flatter her the most.
Advantages of this option:
- Every bridesmaid gets to choose a dress she feels good in.
- Easy to accessorize- just choose the same shoes, jewelry and flowers for each girl and it will instantly make the entire party look cohesive.
What's tricky about this option:
- Hem lengths might not all agree. If you let your girls choose any short dress they like, you may end up with some above the knee, some below, some tea length, etc. (Solve this problem by being specific about the length or by putting everyone in floor length dresses.)
- What if two girls want the same dress? Do you let them wear the same thing despite everyone else being different, or make them duke it out? Or worse yet, do you decide for them and risk the dreaded "Bridezilla" title? Think about this BEFORE the appointment and have a plan for how to handle that scenario.
The second option- Same dress, Different color- is just about as popular as the first. In this scenario, you will have to find one dress that works for all the body types in your bridal party and then choose colors from your wedding for them to wear.
Why this works:
- Since the dresses are all the same, it brings the look together. (There's that cohesion we keep talking about.)
- The colors chosen are part of the overall wedding color scheme, so despite being different, each one makes sense within the bigger picture.
- Because it's the same dress, the fabric will also be the same, so it will photograph the same, flow the same, etc.
Advantages of this option:
- Bridesmaids won't have to fight over who gets to wear which dress- they're all in the same style!
- You can choose the most flattering colors for each skin tone so each girl looks and feels great!
- Easy to accessorize as well- again choose the same shoes, flowers and jewelry and it will all come together perfectly!
What's tricky about this option:
- Finding the ONE dress that everyone loves, that flatters all body types, fits all bugdets and that comes in the various shades you want can be a tall order.
The third option- Different dress, Different color- is probably the least popular and the most difficult to pull off. Success will ultimately come down to fabric and color choice.
Why this works:
- In the case of the photo above with four lovely shades of purple, they are all the same type of fabric. They are all by different designers, but because they are all chiffon, they will all photograph in a similar way and move similarly as well.
- They are all the same length and they are all strapless, sweetheart necklines. While you don't have to be quite so specific with having the same neckline and length, both can be details that help unify the party.
Advantages of this option:
- Price: if one of your girls is struggling financially, she can find a dress that meets your parameters that also falls within her budget.
- Freedom: Your girls get to have control over so many aspects of their dress choice- it makes shopping for it a little more fun.
What's tricky about this option:
If you say to your girls, "Just pick a purple dress- I don't care what the style or fabric is," you will end up with a party that looks like this:
There is satin, organza, tulle, taffeta, chiffon and literally six different shades of purple (including one irridescent!) in this monstrosity of a bridal party. What on earth about this says "cohesive?" There aren't enough matching shoes, earrings and bouquets in the world to make this motley crew look elegant and appropriate. I know what you're thinking, "Well, of course it doesn't work with purple, but I'm having a neutral wedding- all my girls are wearing champagne. Also, they're all required to wear a long dress, so they'll all be perfectly elegant and appropriate." In response, I present to you THIS monstrosity:
Oh, my.
Are you starting to see my point? As much as you might want to tell your girls that they have freedom and that they can even just pick something out of their closets, the result will truly be a mish-mash of fabric, silhouette and color. In other words, they need parameters and it's up to you to decide what those are. The one and only time you can truly say, "Just pick whatever you want," and have it look good is if you tell them to find an LBD (Little Black Dress).
See what I mean? Despite there being four different fabrics, neclines and silhouettes, black is black. It just works. 
Well, if you managed to get all the way to the end of this post, then you can consider yourself well-versed in the methods of mismatching your bridesmaids. However, if this all still seems a little overwhelming, I have one very simple solution for you: the convertible dress. I know you've seen them and we have the best one on the market right in our store available for you to try on and play with all the different ways of wearing it. It's designed by Jenny Yoo and it comes in both long and short versions that can literally be worn in dozens of different ways:
Did you have mismatched bridesmaids at your wedding? What made you choose that kind of look? Leave a comment below or email us with your story and photos!

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