It’s safe to say in 2022 that white bridesmaid dresses are no longer taboo.
The pandemic and its subsequent disruption to dress codes and guest lists has had brides-to-be rethinking traditional weddings. Whether that be swapping a meringue gown for a trouser suit or slip dress, or thinking of ways to wear bridal looks again after the ceremony.
The old-fashioned notion that certain shades signify purity have long been discounted, so why shouldn’t the idea that other colours will upstage? There’s room for more than one woman in a room – even if it is your ‘big day’ – and there’s even a sense of solidarity in matching with the other most important people in your life.
If you need a little convincing, look to all the stylish women who’ve opted for white bridesmaid dresses in the past decade. Kate Moss put her flower girls in this shade while opting for off-white herself in 2011, and the Duchess of Cambridge looked beautiful alongside sister Pippa Middleton – also dressed in white – during her royal wedding to Prince William in the same year.
Kim Kardashian matched with her sisters, friends and mother Kris Jenner for her weddings to both Kris Humphries and Kanye West. Trailblazer Solange Knowles, however, took this one step further on her big day; encouraging her entire wedding party, including her sister Beyonce and brother-in-law Jay Z, to wear white for maximum impact.
The question is, which white bridesmaid dress is best? It totally depends on the formality of the wedding. If it's luxury you want, anything cut from lace, silk, satin, tulle, organza and chiffon will suffice. However, to keep things feeling contemporary, steer clear of layered skirts, hooping and boning for your bridesmaids.
The most sustainable choice for your bridal party is something they'll wear again. Kate Moss' choice of broderie anglaise and beaded chiffon, along with simple silhouettes (think dropped waist maxis and empire-line midis) and flower crowns exemplified her effortless indie vibe during that time. Now, 2022's version of this is low-key Scandi cool – think voluminous cotton midis with puffed sleeves that will double as sundresses post-wedding, or anything by Cecilie Bahnsen.
Keep scrolling to see Bazaar's edited pick of the best white bridesmaids to shop in 2022.
Best white silk bridesmaid dress
White silk bridesmaid dresses are first on our list for a reason: they strike the perfect balance between luxurious and low-key. When stylist Alex Carl got married in her parental home in Copenhagen 2018, she dressed her one bridesmaid and sister in a strappy Halston slip that complemented her own custom Self-Portrait gown beautifully.
Simple, understated silhouettes are a match made in heaven with lustrous, ivory or white silk – brands like Rixo, Michael Le Sordo, The Row and Retrofête are nailing this at the moment. However, our favourite for 2022 has to be Galvan's asymmetric halterneck gown:
Best white lace bridesmaid dress
While lace wedding dresses are a go-to for any bride, this fabric is a little trickier when it comes to bridesmaid options. The easiest way to avoid fussiness, and ensure your pictures are timeless, is to go for a more bohemian feel. Ossie Clarke's Sixties take on bridalwear – geometric lace, funnel necks, empire waistlines – will be forever chic.
Sourcing matching vintage gowns for your bridesmaids is a near-impossible task, so we'd recommending anything by Rixo or Reiss' affordable option below. With its scalloped cotton-lace, fluted skirt, bell sleeves and backless cut-out, this one can double as resortwear or even festival looks (if you're not too precious). Your bridesmaids and the planet will thank you for buying something that can be worn long after the wedding is over.
If you want something slightly more formal for your wedding, there are other classic but contemporary ways to incorporate lace into bridal looks. Take inspiration from Emma Roberts and her fellow bridesmaids, who wore duchesse-satin gowns trimmed with eyelash lace to their friend's wedding back in 2015.
Reformation's elevated slip would be perfect for either bridesmaids or a more modern bride (in fact, the brand has a dedicated department for 'elopement' wedding dresses). This floor-sweeping gown is cut on the bias from silk-charmeuse and trimmed with lace to showcase slivers of skin.
Best bridesmaid dresses for summer
White bridesmaid dresses were literally made for summer nuptials. And we're not just talking about destination or beach weddings: just google Caroline Brasch's ceremony on the canals of Copenhagen if you don't believe us.
Warmer climes call for crisp cotton, louche linen and romantic broderie anglaise – fabrics that aren't immediately associated with formalwear. The key here is to elevate simple fabrics with intricate details, just as we'd recommend pared-back cuts for luxurious silks and crepes.
Cotton can take on an ethereal, pre-Raphaelite quality when layered with embroidery or lace-trimmed; whereas linen, when pleated or draped à la Jacquemus, can feel all kinds of neo-classic cool. And broderie anglaise has a pure, Victoriana vibe when topped with a puffed shoulder or a statement collar – Simone Rocha is the master of making this look truly modern.
If you'd rather keep things clean and contemporary for your summer wedding, look no further than Cecilie Bahnsen. The Danish designer's matelassé and jacquard fabric dresses feel both formal and low-key thanks to the voluminous sleeves, tiered skirts and shorter hemlines. No wonder Caroline Brasch decided on the brand for both her bridesmaids' and her own dress on her big day.
Best bridesmaid dresses for winter
White bridesmaid dresses can look even more striking in winter, but it can be tricky to find something appropriate for chillier climes. Avoid lightweight fabrics like cotton and linen and stick to weighty chiffons, crepes or satins. Emilia Wickstead's design is actually made from wool-crepe, which creates the most beautiful drape and structure – not to mention, it'll keep your bridesmaids warm.
When it comes to winter wedding dress codes, there's no need to be restricted to long sleeves. Slip dresses, Bardot necklines or anything with spaghetti straps can be layered up during the day (add contrasting textures with faux fur stoles, or take inspiration from Kate Middleton's second bridal look with a cropped mohair cardigan) and worn solo for dancing during the evening.
Best affordable white bridesmaid dress
The best thing about opting for white bridesmaid dresses is that you've already solved the issue of originality before you've begun browsing. For wedding planning on a budget, this can be one of the trickiest obstacles to overcome – since, unless you plump for vintage gowns, there are only a select few high-street stores with quality bridalwear collections.
Although Amy Lynn, Ghost Fashion and Phase Eight and are always worth a browse, Whistles is top of our list when it comes to affordable bridal looks. The brand drops core bridesmaid styles every season, available in UK sizes 4-18 and tasteful colours such as mustard, pea-green and teal, alongside your standard pastels. This 'Nineties-inspired midaxi, featuring a side split and cut-out back, is also available in ivory – and rings in at less than £200.
With big bridal parties, though, even lower-ticket items can start to add up. If you want something more affordable for your bridesmaids that still feels elegant, or you're aiming for sustainability and 're-wearability' factor, go for a white slip dress.
H&M's is made from an ivory satin (derived from recycled fibres) that looks lustrous rather than 'shiny', which is always a risk with synthetic fabrics. The simple bias-cut shape and one-shoulder spaghetti strap makes this maxi look way more expensive than it actually is.
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