- Ornate bridesmaid dresses with ruffles, collars, and puffy sleeves have gone in and out of vogue.
- Patterned dresses dominated the 1970s, and bohemian off-the-shoulder dresses were big in the 1980s.
- These days, bridesmaid outfits don’t all have to be the same colour or style, or even be dresses at all.
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Just as wedding dress styles have changed over the years, different bridesmaid gowns have gone in and out of vogue.
From ornate dresses with ruffles, collars, and puffy sleeves to sleek, pastel-coloured pieces, here are 32 photos that show how bridesmaid dresses have evolved.
Corsets that smoothed hips, narrowed waists, and enhanced bustlines were popular in the Victorian era.
Bridesmaid and flower girl dresses from 1853 on display at the Chicago History Museum were made of silk taffeta and lace and feature fringe on the sleeves and neckline.
In 1885, Princess Beatrice (Queen Victoria’s youngest daughter) and Prince Henry of Battenberg posed with their bridesmaids, who were wearing short, ruffled dresses.
King George V, then the Duke of York, married Mary of Teck in 1893. Their bridesmaids’ dresses featured puffy sleeves and long skirts.
At the Drexal wedding in 1910, bridesmaids resembled the bride themselves with veils, bouquets, and plain white dresses.
In the 1910s, tightly-constricted corset waistlines began fading out of style in favour of loose dresses.
Lord Edward Stanley, the Earl of Derby, and Sibyl Cadogan married in 1917. Their bridesmaids wore floaty tea-length dresses cinched at the waist.
Princess Anita Lobkovitz’s bridesmaids in 1920 wore shorter dresses that were characteristic of flappers in the decade. The bride also wore a flapper-style headpiece.
Matching bridesmaid hats were also in vogue at the wedding of Piers Debenham and Angel Paget in London in 1928.
During the Great Depression, bridal dresses became less formal due to monetary concerns, and bridesmaid dresses followed suit.
Bridesmaid dresses at the wedding of Terence Wheatley and Ena Cadbury-Brown were adorned with puffy flowers and scalloped edges.
Collared dresses made a comeback in 1935 at Olive Primrose Haxton and Fitzroy Paget Upsall Phillips’ wedding.
Bridesmaids at the 1937 wedding of Olympic equestrian Derek Allhusen in London wore long, flowing gowns with collars and pins at the neck.
Hats were a major trend in the 1940s, and matching headgear became a bridesmaid staple.
By the mid-1940s, puffy sleeves had started to deflate in favour of cap sleeves.
The 1950s ushered in new silhouettes such as strapless dresses with sheer capelets.
Dresses with full skirts dominated the 1950s.
Bridesmaids at a London wedding in 1952 wore two-toned dresses with collars and striped tulle skirts.
Bridesmaids at a wedding in 1959 wore plain dresses with elbow sleeves and ribbons at the waist paired with white gloves.
Shift bridesmaid dresses with short hemlines in the 1960s exemplified the decade’s mod style.
When President Lyndon B. Johnson and first lady Lady Bird Johnson’s daughter Lucy got married in 1966, the bridesmaids wore bubble gum pink dresses and veils.
Bright green bridesmaid dresses with ruffles and high necklines were chosen for Prince Louis Ferdinand of Prussia and Countess Donata of Castell-Rüdenhausen’s wedding in 1975.
Towards the end of the 1970s and into the next decade, off-the-shoulder bridesmaid looks became popular.
The 1980s were a time of big dresses with design elements including voluminous sleeves, large ruffles, and poofy skirts.
Candy-coloured bridesmaid dresses in vibrant colours made for memorable wedding photos in the 1990s.
Deep jewel tones remained popular in the early 2000s, and full-length gowns came back in style.
Bridesmaid dresses began to lighten up and offer simpler silhouettes.
Some brides also began focusing less on uniformity, incorporating a mix of dress colours and styles into their bridal party.
Strapless dresses gained popularity in the 2000s as more people held their weddings at places other than houses of worship. Matching dresses remained a classic look.
At Leah Wood and Jack MacDonald’s 2008 wedding in London, bridesmaids wore lilac gowns with spaghetti straps – a staple of the 2000s.
Millie Mackintosh and Professor Green’s bridesmaids wore plain pastel pink dresses. It seems that ornate dresses with ruffles, collars, and puffy sleeves are gone for the time being.
Uniformity in a bridal party is also not compulsory anymore – in fact, mismatched bridesmaids dresses became more and more popular.
Different lengths, colours, and styles can be mixed together for an assortment of dresses that still photograph well together.
- Read more:
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