Showers & Parties

Best Dress Options for Bridal Shower Guests 2019

Best Dress Options for Bridal Shower Guests 2019
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Navigating a bridal registry can be tricky enough, but the guest’s path to a bridal shower dress is littered with sartorial minefields. This fancy fête’s dress code can be a head-scratcher and it comes with some rules for the road. Two to remember: As a guest, you shouldn’t wear black or white. You want to look festive, so black is out and cheery colors are in. White’s a no-no because that tone is traditionally reserved for the bride-to-be. Beyond those two warnings, don’t fret, because our recommendations for what to wear will save you from bridal shower side eye. Read on, then choose your dress accordingly.



Finding the Best Dress for a Bridal Shower



Bridal showers are typically semi-formal gatherings held in a well-appointed home, country club, brunch restaurant or rooftop bar. It’s a fête like no other and, as a guest, you should rise to the occasion with your girliest dress and finest accessories. If the location is on the formal side, you can ramp up your look with lace, silk and ruffles paired with stunning stilettos. Some bridal showers are more informal, held in a garden or by a pool. In this case, you can wear more casual fabrics, including combed cotton, which features a sheen finish (rather than the spun cotton of a t-shirt). As for style, a sundress, maxi dress or shift dress might be appropriate for an outdoor affair. Stylish sandals are appropriate accessories, as well.



How to Decide on a Bridal Shower Dress



Let’s face it: If you’re a card-carrying member of the bridal party, you’ve already spent a bundle on a fanciful bridesmaid gown that you might not wear again. So for the bridal shower, choose a dress that can be worn over and over for semi-formal and formal events. Such a frock falls into the category of “investment clothing.” Since women come armed with a variety of budgets, our list has included dresses that start at $36 and go to $279 (and one splurge-worthy frock thrown in for $498). In the end, don’t sweat it. As long as you’ve made the effort to dress appropriately for the nature of the event, the bride will remember what really matters: You celebrated her upcoming commitment with her as a gesture of love. That’s more important than going into debt over a dress.




Think light and bright. Pastels are your friend for spring and summer and jewel tones will win them over in winter. If ever there was a time to eschew black, this is it. You’re supposed to look celebratory and ornamental, not as though you’re in Victorian mourning. White is also on the nixed list, as that shade is reserved for the bride-to-be. And check this out: On rare occasions, the shower hostess will specify a guest color palette, so keep that in mind when choosing a bridal shower dress.




It’s hard to overstate the importance of looking genteel and ladylike at this traditionally female event for close friends and family. Err on the side of conservatism, for starters, and look for classic styles such as wraps, midi lengths, sheaths or fit-and-flare styles. An above-the-knee dress is fine if it isn’t too truncated and is well-tailored (i.e., not a tight knit dress meant for the dance floor). Floral prints are bridal shower perennials and can be worn for any season, depending on the colors (pastels for spring and summer, deeper tones for fall and winter). And don’t wear anything harsh, not for love or money: Leave the black leather, studded accessories and overtly sexy heels at home.



Material & Other Features:

A bridal shower is the setting for all things feminine. It’s the time to choose floaty or drapey fabrics such as silk and chiffon. Lace or ruffles are heartily welcomed in bridal shower attire. And bring on the bling: A bridal shower demands your best-dressed self, so add your finest baubles or get dramatic with costume jewelry. It’s your time to sparkle.



1 of 19 Image Credits: Bloomingdale’s

Best Fall Style

Lauren Ralph Lauren Lace Peasant-Sleeve Dress in Vibrant Garnet


You’ll be a vision in garnet in this seasonally appropriate dress for a fall bridal shower. For autumn or winter, it’s best to stick to such darker, warmer tones. The floral lace overlay is perfection, as the bridal shower is the perfect place for wearing such fine fabrications. The three-quarter length peasant sleeves with gathered cuffs add the ladylike touch, while the above-the-knee length is a fashionable counterpoint. This dress is the perfect combo of elegance and fun.

Features a floral lace overlay and a full lining

2 of 19 Image Credits: BHLDN

Best Winter Style

Thrive Velvet Dress in Wine


A winter shower will no doubt be an indoor event, which means it will be temperature controlled. So, you can serve up some short sleeves in this decadent velvet gown (which is perfect for future holiday parties, as well). This wrap dress is a winner with its rich velvet fabrication, flounced sleeves and shoulder ruching. Winter showers allow you to shine, because the fabrics are a bit dressier than those of other seasons (plush velvet, glitzy sequins, shiny satins). This festive dress will see you ready to celebrate.

Made with a tie closure of polyester and Spandex
Dry clean

3 of 19 Image Credits: Nordstrom

Best All-Season Dress

JS Collections Sheer Sleeve Soutache Sheath


This dress spans the seasons. If the shower is in a cold-weather climate, the three-quarter sleeves will stave off the chill. Conversely, the same length, in a lace fabrication, offers a touch of relief in warm climates. Because it’s a midi sheath dress in a dove grey color, it’s subdued without being somber. Plus, its details are to die for: Swirling soutache ribbons and a demure hem slit that makes for ease of walking in this fitted silhouette.

Partially lined
Made of 100 percent polyester
Dry clean

4 of 19 Image Credits: Modcloth

Best Vintage Style

Retro Direction A-Line Dress


If you’re attending a shower that is set somewhere between formal and casual, a navy blue dress is your solution. Navy is not as somber as black, but it still imparts a hint of sophistication. This navy A-line is the perfect dress for those who love some vintage influence, given its fitted waist and full skirt. We love the pleated details along its unique collar. Bonus: Side pockets!

Made of 50 percent cotton, 47 percent nylon and 3 percent Spandex

5 of 19 Image Credits: Nordstrom

Best Floral Dres

Eliza J Floral Print Ruched Sleeve Fit & Flare


The daintiest of floral prints are found in this versatile dress with a color combination of pink, fuschia, white and electric blue against navy. This dress is a wardrobe must-have due to its print and color palette: You get the girly vibe with the floral print, but the darker colors keep it from looking too sweet. The arm length transcends seasons and the sleeves feature some stylish shirring. Bonus: The classic fit-and-flare silhouette flatters most figures and the removable sash defines one’s waist.

Made of 95 percent polyester and 5 percent Spandex
Dry clean

6 of 19 Image Credits: Macy's

Best Macy’s Dress

Betsy & Adam Chiffon Halter Gown


If you like blue, this is the dress for you. You’ll be a vision in electric blue at a spring or summer shower call in this vibrant frock. The floor-sweeping silhouette brings on the romance in flowy chiffon. The halter neck keeps it modern. And the gorgeous floral print at the hem, with dogwood blooms and cherry blossoms, is as pretty as a painting.

Made of polyester
Dry clean

7 of 19 Image Credits: Amazon

Most Affordable Style

MUXXN Women's Classic Vintage Tie Neck Dress


This is a dress made for Grace Kelly in a Hitchcock flick, such is its utter elegance. The silhouette skims one’s curves to a T. Then there’s the knee-length hem and three-quarter sleeves, which offer more evidence of sophistication. Finally, the mock neck with a tie closure seals the deal: This dress brings out your best — including a price point that won’t have you pinching pennies. Bonus: It comes in 16 colors.

Made of rayon, cotton and Spandex

8 of 19 Image Credits: Macy's

Best Mother-of-the-Bride Style

Adrianna Papell Embellished Cape A-Line Dress


Save the drama for the mama with this dress. Yes, it’s a scene-stealing frock that the bride’s mother can rock. Available in navy or amethyst satin, this shiny statement dress from Adrianna Papell features an A-line skirt that hits at the knee. It’s designed to wow with an attached capelet. Plus, there’s a sparkling embellishment at the waist. This dress works for a dressed-up bridal shower that takes Mom out on the town.

Made of satin with rhinestones and beads

9 of 19 Image Credits: Shopbop

Best Splurge Style

Needle & Thread Magdalena Dress


Description: No, you shouldn’t upstage the bride-to-be. But if it’s a fancy evening fête, throw conventional wisdom out the window — particularly if you’re the maid of honor! Then, it’s time to strut your stuff in this soft tulle frock from Needle & Thread, that purveyor of dreamy dresses fit for modern-day Cinderellas. Among the amazing details are crystal and faux pearl embellishments at the waistband, embroidered floral details and a scalloped ruffled trim. The diminutive ruffles that top the soft tulle make for a stellar combination. This dress is sweet, not sexy — and we love it for that special shower guest.

Made in India
Fully lined
Dry clean

10 of 19 Image Credits: Shopbop

Best Garden Party Style

Likely Mona Dress


What is it about a dress that ties at the neck? That one tiny detail delivers a big impact. This midi-length dress, made of lightweight crepe, is garden-party perfect with its pale pink floral print. We love the blouson bodice that provides a contrast to the snug fit at the hip. Then there’s the tiered skirt, which is ready for romance. You’ll outshine the flowers by wearing this frock to the shower.

Made of polyester
Hand wash, cold

11 of 19 Image Credits: Neiman Marcus

Best Wrap Style

Elliatt Famous V-Neck Wrap Dress


With this dress, you’re all set: It’s ready for a variety of bridal shower incarnations, from a pool party to a champagne brunch. Simple, yet stunning; that’s how we describe it. It offers so much interest beyond a typical wrap dress, beginning with the oversized bow at the waist. Then there’s the bias-cut skirt, an unusual detail in this modern age. There’s more: The ruffled sleeves add impact and this dress, in pale blush, is subtly shiny for the win.

Made of polyester
Hand wash, cold

12 of 19 Image Credits: Lilly Pulitzer

Best Brunch Dress

Lilly Pulitzer Hollyn Halter Maxi


For social gatherings under the sun, Lilly Pulitzer is perfectly on point. The designs always include ladylike leanings with an easy-breezy vibe and, almost always, a fabulous print too. Take this satin maxi dress: It’s designed with a coral-pink-and-blue print, a sophisticated straight fit and a halter neckline. The back tie detail at the neck elevates the dress to a celebratory level. This is a great dress option if the shower is in someone's backyard, by a swimming pool or at a marina.

Made of soft satin that is machine washable, cold

13 of 19 Image Credits: J. Crew

Best Pink Style

Tiered Popover Dress in Cotton Poplin


The beauty of this cotton poplin dress is its ability to get dressed up subtly. In a gorgeous fuschia color and easy silhouette, this dress is ready for the beach, barbecue and brunch, but the decorative ruffle collar keeps it in an “uptown” zip code. Since it’s a non-waisted tiered dress, it can be easily thrown on and dressed up or down, depending on the situation. It’s like a blank slate of vibrant color that would grace any wardrobe.

Made of machine-washable cotton poplin

14 of 19 Image Credits: Bloomingdale’s

Best Lace Style

Eliza J Floral Guipure-Lace Dress


When in doubt, dress up. It’s always better to be overdressed rather than underdressed at a bridal shower. This Eliza J dress in floral guipure lace is perfect because it conveys elegance though its fabric. Still, the silhouette shows a playful amount of knee. The contour edging of the lace, along with ladder-stitched bands, adds to the overall beauty of this ensemble.

Made of 100 percent polyester overlay and lining
Dry clean

15 of 19 Image Credits: Neiman Marcus

Best Halter Option

Alfred Sung Fit-&-Flare Doupioni Dress


The fit-and-flare silhouette has increasingly become a big trend. Not only is it comfortable, it is surprisingly chic when designed in a fancy fabric, such as this one that imparts a slight sheen. The halter neckline adds to the style of the fitted bodice, while the darts breathe vintage flair into the skirt. This dress looks amazing when paired with the right accessories, such as a wide cuff or a statement-making brooch (or both!). Bonus: Side seam pockets.

Made of a polyester shell and lining
Dry clean

16 of 19 Image Credits: Bloomingdale’s

Best One-Shoulder Dress

Ralph Lauren Ruffle Sheath


Made of crepe fabrication in a sheath silhouette, this Ralph Lauren dress would be the star of any bridal shower (without outpacing the bride-to-be, naturally). The asymmetric neckline makes it a fashion statement, as does the cascading ruffle along the right side. Finally, the hemline, at a few inches below the knee, adds an extra ounce of formality. And that peony color sends us swooning.

Made in a strapless-bra-friendly style
Dry clean

17 of 19 Image Credits: Anthropologie

Best Anthropologie Dress

Alain Striped Midi


You can still follow the “no-white” rule in this white dress that features vertical and horizontal stripes. This low-key dress is perfect for a backyard bridal shower. We love the ruffles at the hem and the puffed sleeves on this boho design. The finely embroidered yoke, full of floral details, adds to the girly aesthetic.

Made of cotton with a cotton lining
Dry clean

18 of 19 Image Credits: Amazon

Best Amazon Dress

ECOWISH Womens Dresses Elegant Ruffles Cap Sleeves Summer A-Line Midi


In a dreamy sky blue color, this dress looks summery and ultra-feminine. Figure flattery is found in the fitted bodice and banded waist. We love the eyelet fabric in this tea-length dress; it gives it that extra bit of flair. Wear it to the shower with dressy heels, but afterward, the sky’s the limit. You could add sandals or ankle boots for an outdoor concert.

Made of cotton eyelet fabric
Hand wash cold

19 of 19 Image Credits: Nordstrom

Best Nordstrom Dress

Eliza J Asymmetrical Lace Fit & Flare


A fit-and-flare silhouette looks good on most body-types, particularly when the skirt isn’t super full. This one gets extra style points for the asymmetrical scalloped hemline and cap sleeves. We love the lacy blooms; they lend some romance to the style. The illusion neckline is yet another pulse-quickening detail.

Made of polyester
Fully lined
Dry clean