Gone are the days where bridesmaids are expected to walk down the aisle in bright pink confections of tulle and bows. Chic bridal parties are all about the cocktail dress. Whether identical or mismatched, these fetching frocks will make your friends feel at their best. And who wants a gloomy set of bridesmaids in ugly dresses? The best part is that your gal pals will wear these again and again, to holiday parties for the office and perhaps even to proposals of their very own.
Above, the pearl finish to this rose lace sheath is stunning. Can't you just see it at a candlelight ceremony? And this will become her fancy fate night staple paired with a cute shrug.
Also lovely in lace are these two dresses above. For a more relaxed wedding on a beach or in a garden, go with a more unstructured look as seen in this cabarnet-colored dress (above, left). If, on the other hand, your event is slightly more formal stick with a classic LBD gone lacy (above, right). If your wedding is modern and you want to avoid lace, try out sexy sheaths in dark shades of velvet (below) or silk.
Afraid that a cocktail dress will make your bridal party seem not quite as special? Fear not! Find dresses with fun details that will ensure they stand out in the crowd of guests. This strapless LBD is set off by a high-low hemline with a bronzed band. It would look fantastic at a holiday wedding and, depending upon the height of your friends, could be paired with flats or heels. Another exceptional little black dress is this option (above, right) with its illusion neckline and cap sleeves. If your wedding is very formal, play with hemlines and have your dresses go floor-length. I love this white and black combo (below) for upcoming winter weddings!
The other great part about using cocktail dresses instead of traditional bridesmaid dresses is that they allow you to keep up with the trends more easily. Going retro and playful? This floral a-line with polka dot overlay (below) is just the right dress to accompany a Mad Men-inspired wedding.
Art Deco has been such a huge hit over the last couple of years. Especially if you would like your bridesmaids wearing white, selecting a dress that is beaded (below) with a shorter hemline is fun without being too bridal.
Lastly, maybe it's all the episodes of The Voice I've been watching lately, but I am b-a-n-a-n-a-s for this metallic sequined, striped shift. It's right on-trend and seems to be designed specifically for a big New Year's wedding.