Are you stepping into the role of bridesmaid? What a fun journey you get to undertake with your dear friend, the future bride!  As a bridesmaid, you won’t just stand beside her at the altar; you will also support your friend as a confidant, friend, and supporter, someone who will be beside her at every step of the process of the wedding planning process. You can help soothe her nerves before and during her big day, and help her make decisions and eliminate stressors as the event approaches.

Before you get to those duties, you’ll have to make sure you find the right bridesmaid dresses for you, based on the options that your bride has provided. After all, many brides will ask their bridesmaids to choose among a few colors, styles, or patterns for their dresses. This ensures that every bridesmaid not only looks great, but also feels confident in her dress. Whether you choose an affordable or expensive bridesmaid dress, fit is critical. Fashion experts agree that tailoring your bridesmaid dress is important, and will help you look your best no matter which dress you choose.

Here’s a guide on how your bridesmaid dress should fit and feel so you look your best on your friend’s big day.

Waist

Where exactly is your waistline? It’s the smallest part of your waist all the way around, and you can find it easiest when you’re standing up straight and then bend over to one side or the other. A little crease in your skin should form in the nook of the waistline—this is where you need to measure to get an accurate waist size. Typically this is about two inches above your belly button, but can vary based on body type.  But don’t try to measure too tightly! You want your dress to be snug but comfortable, so you’re not gasping for breath during the wedding ceremony. The measuring tape should be flush to your skin, but not squeezing it, when you measure your waist. Much of your range of motion comes from the waist, so a comfortable fit allows you to sit, stand, or dance with a full range of motion. However, a loose waist can be unflattering, like you’re swimming in your dress. Typically you want anywhere from ½-1” of room between you and the dress in the waistline. An accurate waist measurement will allow you to look your best in your dress, and move freely on the dance floor.

Bust

Busts vary in size and shape. Every woman knows this. It’s important to remember that the bust measurement is actually different from your bra size: it’s a measurement of the fullest part of your chest. If you’re in a fitting, it’s a good idea to try on the dress with the bra that you intend to wear during the ceremony to get the most accurate measurement. Wrap the measuring tape around the fullest part of your bust so that it runs horizontally across your back to get an accurate measurement. If the measuring tape changes the shape of your bust, you’ve pulled it too tight.  A well fitting dress will accentuate your natural curves, and look classy, too. You bridesmaid dress should provide enough coverage for you to feel comfortable wearing it in any venue, whether religious or non denominational.

Hips

Contrary to popular belief, hip measurement has nothing to do with your pant size. Hip measurements are different for women’s and bridal wear. Your should measure the fullest part of your rear and hips, with your feet together. Wrap the tape measure around your hips, pulling taught but not tight. This is where you will need to measure to make sure you’re getting the right fight for the skirt of your bridesmaid dress. You’ll want to measure the widest part of your hips.  The fit around your hips should be snug but comfortable enough for you to move, dependant on the style of the skirt. This is especially important if you’re wearing a body conscious style or mermaid skirt. The tighter the style through the waist and thighs, the more important this measurement is.

Sleeves

Winter weddings sometimes call for long-sleeved bridesmaid dresses. If you’re wearing a long-sleeved style, be prepared to measure the length of your arms. You don’t want sleeves that are too short or too long on you. Place your measuring tape at the base of the back of your neck, and run it along your shoulder down to your wrist bone. Always err on the longer side with sleeves and hems. A tailor can easily shorten them, but adding length is challenging.

Hollow-to-Hem

What shoes are you wearing? If you already know, wear them at the fitting. If you have a general height in mind, wear similar heels. This will help with getting the hem right for long dresses in particular, which can be tricky. And your heel height isn’t the only thing affecting your hem. Your body posture changes in different types of shoes, which affects how you fit in your dress. You don’t want any surprises on the big day. To find your hollow-to-hem measurement, wearing the heel height you intend on wearing, measure from the nook below your adam’s apple to the floor.  If you’re 5’7 or taller, you may need to choose a long version of the bridesmaid dress your bride has selected. Most designers offer long styles, which will allow you a few extra inches of fabric. The same tailoring  guidelines apply to hems as they do to sleeves. They’re easier to shorten than to lengthen – so when in doubt, go longer.

The Perfect Fit?

There are many different body types and shapes. It can be tricky to know what will work best for your frame before getting started—but accurate measurements  will help save time and money on alterations, and ensure that all of the bridesmaids’ dresses look flawless for your friend’s big day. You can visit a showroom to have your measurements taken by a stylist, measure yourself at home with a soft measuring tape, or even order a try-at-home box to try on different lengths, sizes, and styles of your bride’s favorite bridesmaid dresses.

Do you need help selecting, styling, or customizing your dress? Let Brideside help you get a stunning look for your friend’s big day, and bring your bride’s vision to life. Brideside is a concierge bridesmaid dress service founded by women, for women. Our stylists help with every aspect of dress fitting, and can help you select dresses from some of the hottest names in wedding fashion, including Brideside, Jenny Yoo, Sorella Vita, and many more. Shop online and test our home try-on program, which helps you find a bridesmaid dress that balances elegance with comfort, and class with fun personality.

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