The Ultimate Bridesmaid Dress Manual

Your Best Fit
Courtney models a short and chic bridesmaid dress.
Courtney models a short and chic bridesmaid dress.
Image courtesy Bridals by Lori

"Bridesmaid dresses do not run true to size," Krystle explains. Courtney adds, "In department stores, there's a lot of vanity sizing. But in bridesmaids, size is based on proportion." And what's more, each designer's size scale is different.

When you're shopping for a bridesmaid dress, anticipate that you'll wear a dress about two sizes larger than you're used to. And that's just an average -- the size really depends on the cut of the dress.

Keep in mind that not every cut will work for every body type. "Girls who are short-waisted or have a short torso will have a hard time wearing a dropped waist style," Krystle says. "It'll bunch through their waist because the fabric has nowhere to go."

If there were two universal styles for every body type, they'd probably be empire and modified A-line. "Dresses that hit at the natural waist look great on most body types, too," Courtney says. A true A-line will make curvy girls look hippy, and a tight dress doesn't do the figure any favors, either. But the flattering forgiveness of a modified A-line will please practically every bridesmaid.

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