Ive been shopping for bridesmaid dresses. And actually enjoying it. Generally accepted to be the bête noire of the bridal business, I think I have actually discovered a way to satisfy both my stylistic urges and those of my five yes five bridesmaids. The answer? Buy them each a different dress.
Its a growing trend within bridal parties for different styles of the same dress to be worn by bridesmaids. There are a number of companies who do this extremely well. For my sisters wedding we wore Twobirds dresses these are a very clever American import from a designer called Ariane Goldman, who came up with the range when shopping for her own bridesmaids. The dresses are made from a luxurious silk jersey and have a full skirt but the top of the dresses can be styled in a number of different ways those who hate their upper arms can cover them, girls with a great back can show them off and those with ample bosoms can get extra support via a bandeau top that can be purchased separately. The dresses are heaven to wear so swishy and comfortable, and all of my sisters bridesmaids (she had six!! Maybe its an Irish thing) were delighted and felt beautiful in the dresses. Dresses cost from £200.
Another fairly recent addition to the bridesmaid scene in London is Maids to Measure. I wore a dress from this company to be a bridesmaid for my friends recent wedding, and by all accounts the dresses looked spectacular. The company is based in South West London - I did my measurements at home which turned out to be not entirely accurate, but as part of the price you get a second fitting so the dresses came back perfectly fitted to every one of us the second time around. From £225.
Not wanting to copycat my sister or friends weddings, I have decided to go down the route of styling each one of my bridesmaids individually. Admittedly this is giving myself a lot more work - especially as only two of the aforementioned maids actually live in the same country as me - but my thinking is that as grown up women each with their own stylistic preferences and body shapes, they will be happier wearing something they have helped to choose themselves. My only requisite is that it must be midnight blue and floor length.
And so I have been scouring the web, picking up the odd gown on the Outnet (already Ive picked up a beautiful backless Issa gown and a sparkle-sprinkled Badgley Mishka gown for my little sister) and Ive also come across a great place called the Dress Consultants which is the only UK stockist of American label Amsale. Amsale is some sort of bridesmaid Mecca, with hundreds of styles of dress available in whatever colour you want, ranging from floaty chiffon numbers to perfectly draped jersey gowns. The Dress Consultants are currently only open at the weekend, but I have booked an appointment later this month to try on a series of gowns with my two London maids and I will report back after that.