We’ve finally moved beyond the ruffled, brightly colored styles that gave bridesmaid dresses a bad name. So much so that modern options easily pass for chic dresses that—dare we say—your bridesmaids will actually wear again. Here are six such dresses.
Lydia Lace Skirt and Cleo Top, BHLDN ($200 and $80). 8 E. Walton St., 312-573-2573
Stepping into BHLDN’s Gold Coast boutique is enough to make anyone want to get married. And the bridal and bridesmaid dresses are just as eye-catching as the sparkly space. This Jenny Yoo-designed top-and-skirt combo defies all expectations of a bridesmaid dress. Our favorite part? The lace skirt has pockets—the perfect place for a maid of honor to store last-minute helpers like Chapstick, tissues, and Advil.
Kimberly Long, Joanna August ($285).Brideside, 660 W. Lake St., Fl. 2, 847-232-3521
Cap sleeves, a keyhole back, and a fresh mint hue add just enough interest to this simple floor-length dress. The buying process is simple, too: Brideside, which launched here in Chicago four years ago, makes it light years easier for a bride to find the dress for her bridal party. Brides and bridesmaids alike can browse the site’s massive inventory and earmark their faves. Each lady can then try on three dresses at home for $10 (though Chicagoans have the bonus of being able to visit the West Loop HQ in person).
If you’re a Chicago bride with maids scattered around the country, bookmark Weddington Way. The site is filled with gorgeous bridesmaid dress options like this Lela Rose style, which shows that ruffles don’t have to feel fussy. Bridesmaids can help you narrow down the options in the site’s virtual showroom, and a stylist can coach you through the process to take away at least some of the wedding-planning stress.
Custom-Made Dress, Veronica Sheaffer (starting at $3,500). 2409 W. Hirsch St. (by appointment), 312-878-7864
Veronica Sheaffer, a self-taught, Chicago-based designer, launched her bridal brand in 2010. She quickly gained a following for her stunning custom-made bridal gowns—even Stephanie Izard said “I do” in one! Sheaffer can also create a suite of custom-made gowns for bridal parties, too. Expect feminine designs and the most luxurious fabrics around.
Gigi Sleeveless Asymmetrical Sequin Stripe Gown, Donna Morgan ($330).Nordstrom, 55 E. Grand Ave., 312-464-1515
Stripes are a refreshing departure from the infamous ruffles. Here, they ditch their nautical ties and get the glam treatment courtesy of glistening sequins. The ivory-and-nude color combination is fit for an outdoor wedding, while midnight and nude works for a black-tie affair.
Chic brides have leaned on Jenny Yoo to outfit their bridal parties for 14 years. It’s easy to see why: Each dress designed by the famed bridesmaid dress designer exudes elegance. Take this Madelyn dress, for example. The classy cowl neckline and liquid charmeuse fabric will look just as chic when you’re flipping through your wedding album 20 years from now.