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Match maid in HEAVEN

More than ever, dress trends for bridesmaids are following the fashion runways, mirroring what women are wearing on the red carpet or for a night on the town.

"Bridesmaids' dresses have the opportunity to follow suit with fashion trends, and it's happening faster than ever before," said Juliana Chen, David's Bridal design director of bridesmaids and social occasion dresses. "Trends that are big in fashion right now, for instance black and white, we're seeing reflected in bridesmaids' dresses right now."

Chen is based in New York City at the David's Bridal design studio but travels the country searching out what's in style and bringing it to this season's bridesmaids. Some of her finds:

Classic B&W

Fashion's enthusiasm for the distinct black and white look translates beautifully to a bridesmaid dress, Chen said, referring to white or bisque-colored gowns with contouring bands of black in a scalloping wave that slims the body. Brides are also opening up to the little black bridesmaid dress and dresses in shades of white with colored sashes.

Peplum style

Peplum is another style that whittles the waist and shows off a woman's assets no matter her shape. "What makes this trend so popular is that it flatters every body type," Chen said. "If you're slim, peplum will give you curves, and if you're fuller-figured, it makes your waist appear to be smaller. It's a trick that works for almost everyone."

Pastel Party

One of the hottest trends in bridesmaid dresses is the "pastel party," putting the ladies-in-waiting in an array of colors rather than the exact same dress. Whether choosing a handful of jewel tones or shades of one color, such as pinks from blush to cotton candy or neutrals such as whites, ivories and grays, complimentary hues look fantastic in photographs and let each bridesmaid stand out.

Mix to match

Dresses may have the same body type but be in different colors, or the bridal party may be in a different silhouette but the same fabrication, Chen said. With a similar skirt, it's possible to change things up on top with strapless, tank or one-shouldered looks in the same wedding party. Many brides are also opting for their maids to choose their own dresses within a color scheme.

Prints are hot

Prints are another way to mix things up, Chen said: "The maid of honor can wear a feminine floral print, and the maids can wear tonal shades from her dress."


Wearability is key, she added. Bridesmaids want to walk down the aisle in the same kind of dress they would choose for themselves, such as a high-low in chiffon. Strapless with a short, split skirt in the front and flowing longer in the back, "this is a look that can be dressed up or down," Chen said. "It can be more formal with heels and accessories or more fun for a wedding in the Hamptons with strappy sandals," she said.

Short and flirty

For length, short and flirty dresses on the bridesmaids will make the bride stand out as the only one in a floor-length gown, and for reusability, cocktail-length is a plus. Designers do seem to be moving away from the stereotypical satin, strapless A-line, which was ubiquitous 10 years ago, but it likely will never go out of style.

Match maid in HEAVEN