Many brides consider the dresses for their bridesmaids to be equally important or almost as important as their own wedding gown. Some brides choose their bridesmaids’ dresses all on their own, while others incorporate the input of the entire bridal party. Despite whose decision it is, there are many things to consider before deciding on a full-length, mid-calf length, knee length, or mini bridesmaid dress.
Full-length dresses are popular during the colder months, but they are also utilized throughout all four seasons because they are versatile and add a touch of elegance to every bridal party. Some brides will opt to buy their bridesmaids dresses themselves, while others state their preferences and leave the purchasing to the bridesmaids. Regardless of who gets stuck with the purchasing task, there are a few things that all buyers should consider when purchasing a full-length bridesmaid dress, such as: wedding venue, wedding colours, and the body types of the bridesmaids.
Women’s Body Types
Before a bride and her bridesmaids decide on the type of dress to buy, they should first establish the body type for each and every bridesmaid. Even a full-length bridesmaid dress can go completely wrong if it is not suitable for the woman’s body type.
Busty with wide hips
Small, short waist
Average/long legs with thick thighs
Broad shoulders and no waist
Average tummy with a relatively flat bum
Chunky thighs and calves with average legs
Small/average breasts with narrow/average shoulders
Slim waist with average belly
Similar pelvis and hip width
Average/short legs with thick thighs and calves
Big breasts with a slight waist
Slim hips and long legs
Broad shoulders with small breasts
No waist with slim hips and long slender legs
Narrow shoulders and small breasts
Long waist with a relatively flat tummy
Bigger bottom with possible saddlebags
Short thick legs
Big breasts with a short waist
Big hips, bottom, and thighs
Slim lower legs
Broad shoulders and a busty chest
little to no waist
Narrow hips and long legs with a slight tummy bulge
Similar shoulder and hip width
Slight waist with long legs
Small shoulders that are often much smaller than the hips
Small breasts and waist
Average or long legs
Big thighs and bottom
Narrow shoulders and average breasts
Tummy often protrudes beyond breasts
Big breasts with a slightly curvy long waist
Similar hip and breast size
Slim thighs and legs
Different dress styles complement different body types, and even full-length dresses have to be carefully selected to provide a flattering fit. Each woman should consider her most outstanding features and then choose a dress that highlights her assets and hides her flaws.
Types of Full-Length Bridesmaid Dresses
All full-length bridesmaid dresses have one thing in common, and that is the fact that they all have long skirts that either stop at the ankles or flow down towards the floor. The main factor that separates and defines these dresses is their unique designs.
Even though it is already decided that the dresses will have a full-length skirt, there often still exists an issue with selecting specific gowns because a bridal party generally includes women of varying shapes and sizes, as previously mentioned. Therefore, the challenge will be to select full-length dresses to fit and flatter all the bridesmaids but still maintain a unified look. In order to accomplish this task, women need to be aware of the various dress styles and what body types go well with them.
Empire Bridesmaid Dresses
Empire dresses are made with a high waistline that is just below the bust. This style is most seen in strapless dresses, but there are a variety of empire dresses to choose from. They generally have a straight flowing skirt that does not hug the body.
Who Can Wear This?
Full-length empire bridesmaid dresses are great for slim and bigger bottom bridesmaids as well as women with less than ample bosoms. The high waistline and the straight outline of this dress type will make petite bridesmaids seem taller. It is also a good option for pregnant bridesmaids and bridesmaids with a fat tummy because the waistline starts above the midsection, and the skirt is loose enough to hide it. Overall, empire bridesmaids dresses are great for women who are looking to hide a less than flattering tummy or hips. It is also very comfortable for most women.
Sheath Bridesmaid Dresses
Sheath dresses are sometimes called column dresses and made with seams that run vertically along the dress from the shoulders to the floor. Sheath dresses do not include a flared skirt but hug the body to a point and then continue straight towards the floor. They often reveal the shape of body.
Who Can Wear This?
Full-length sheath bridesmaid dresses are suitable for slender or average-sized bridesmaids with an hourglass, column, vase, or skittle shape. If a woman has a slender pear or cello, she could also consider this style option as long as she is comfortable accentuating her lower assets. Full-length sheath bridesmaid dresses are also great for short women who want to seem taller.
Mermaid, Trumpet, and Fit and Flare Bridesmaids Dresses
Mermaid dresses are very popular, and they are often chosen for bridesmaids especially if the bride is also wearing a mermaid wedding dress. Trumpet and fit and flare dresses are very similar to mermaid ones as all of them hug the body completely and then flare off widely at either the thighs or the knees.
Who Can Wear This?
Full-length mermaid bridesmaid dresses can be worn by all women as long as they have body types with balanced curves or a smaller waistline. Trumpet and fit and flare dresses can also be considered for the aforementioned body types. These three flare dress types are not suitable for women with a pudgy tummy because the dresses are form fitting, and they will highlight that flaw. Additionally, these dress types are not very conducive to dancing and other vigorous activities, so this should also be considered.
A lot of attention is given to the bodice of the bridesmaids dresses; however, the neckline also plays an integral part in the design and the way it fits each woman. For instance, straight, strapless neckline dresses are more flattering on women with larger busts as it gives the chest area just enough attention without over emphasising ample bosoms. In contrast, halter tops are more suited for women with a smaller bust because they add a little extra appeal without dulling down the dress style. One-shoulder strap dresses are becoming increasingly popular, and they can be great for all bridesmaids regardless of bust size.
Full-Length Bridesmaid Dress Sizes
Another issue that bridesmaids face is selecting their appropriate sizes. They sometimes assume that they wear the same size as another bridesmaid and subsequently choose the wrong size and then have to get it altered. Recent measurements and a size chart should always be used before selecting a dress size.
Below is a dress size chart that can be used if the seller does not provide their own. Measurements are in cm. Sizes are estimated and may vary by brand and manufacturer.
Hollow to Hem
Some sellers only have a few sizes, and while they may not provide a chart per se, they may tell you what body measurements will fit into the dresses that they currently have. Other sellers will ask for personal measurements and then alter or build a dress to fit. Always consult the seller about sizing details before making a final decision.
How to Buy Full-Length Bridesmaid Dresses on eBay
When you need to purchase bridesmaid dresses, it is best to have a wide selection to choose from, especially when your bridesmaids body types are very diverse. If you plan to buy full-length bridesmaid dresses online, eBay is a very good place to start because they house many styles and colours.
To get started, you only need to perform a search from the eBay homepage. Type "full length bridesmaids dresses" to generate your initial results. This will generate a large selection of dresses, and you can then filter down your options.
If you already know your colour scheme, it would be wise to enter the colour description in your initial search to filter out all other colours and quicken the selection process. For instance, a search for purple bridesmaid dresses would eliminate unfavourable options and reduce the result count. You can then filter the dresses to eliminate new or used ones and then narrow your search even further by price and shipping method. Bridesmaids should select more than one option to act as a contingency plan in the event that one does not work out.
Buying bridesmaids dresses is sometimes even more difficult than selecting a wedding dress because of the diverse taste, style, body size, and body type of each bridesmaid. However, the hassle can be lessened if each bridesmaid knows her specific body type and learns to associate certain dress types with her figure.
The aim is to have uniformity but still keep all the bridesmaids happy about the way they look in their wedding gowns. This can be accomplished by selecting a colour scheme and then have all bridesmaids select a dress style that complements their body while sticking to an overall theme. If a particular full-length dress style is chosen for all, each bridesmaid can still have different necklines that flatter their respective busts. For instance, all bridesmaids could wear a full-length, purple, bridesmaid dress, but one may have a strapless neckline, while another have a halter neckline, and the third could wear a one-shoulder strap dress. The aforementioned options are just a few ways to ensure all the bridesmaids look good.
Additionally, women should consider the wedding venue, mainly the flooring before deciding if their full-length bridesmaid dress will stop at the ankles or drag on the floor. Floor-length dresses may not be ideal for outdoor or beach weddings because they will easily become dirty and cumbersome. eBay simplifies this task of choosing the perfect full-length bridesmaid dresses with their wide selection, built-in search engines, and personalised filters.