14th March 2012 . Weddings Wow Wow Wee Wah!

Made for Maids: The Case for Individuality & Style

A few weeks ago this little post popped up on the fabulousness that is Rock My Wedding.  It  was about bridesmaids and the many controversies they can cause: who to choose, indifference from those who have been asked, and, the big one, what the hell to dress them in.

The latter subject is one that I feel particularly strongly about, and although I commented over on the RMW post at the time, I wanted to give my tuppence worth here on my home turf as well.

Now I’m not the first to write a post about how to dress a ‘maid, and I’m certainly not going to be the last.  It’s a subject that divides brides across the land and a question to which there is no right or wrong answer. But- and this is a big but (and I cannot lie)- it is a junction in the long and winding road to Weddingsville where people can turn one way in to Style Central, or the other way in to Naff City, Naffington.

Take a look at the two pictures below and answer me this: Which group of bridesmaids would you rather be in?

Matchy maids (Photographer unknown)

Individual maids (Jill Thomas Photography)

The second one, right?

Granted, I have chosen a particularly naff picture of the matching bridesmaids, but in the second picture I see style, individuality and a whole lot of love and friendship.  They are clearly bridesmaids as opposed to regular guests; the look is united and strong and there is a clear colour scheme. And yet I can see each individual girl for her own sense of style. In fact, I could even go ahead and make guesses as to what they do for a living and what their personalities are like, simply because they have been allowed to dress themselves. (I’m presuming here, but the dresses are SO different I can’t imagine the bride had chosen for them.)

Now, I’m not saying that matching bridesmaids are wrong- far from it.  Matching ‘maids can look FAB, as long as the dresses are stylish and look good on each girl. (Please now go back to image number one and pity the poor shortie in the middle whose dress is practically touching the floor.)

Here are some examples of some FAB matching maids…

Caught The Light Photography

For me, what makes these matching maids fab is the fact that in each group there are subtle differences. Whether it’s tights, tops, shoes, flowers or alternating pops of colour- these maids are being allowed to do something which differentiates them from the rest of their girls.

Now correct me if I’m wrong, but aren’t our bridesmaids supposed to be our closest and most-valued loved ones? Ok, so there may be a future sister-in law or annoying cousin in there as well, but generally, don’t we want to dress our bestest ladies in something that makes them feel comfortable, happy and, well, like them? This notion of not wanting the bridesmaids to look better than the bride is utterly ridiculous.  As if anyone will be radiating more joy, love and gorgeousness on the wedding day than the bride herself. (And I truly mean that; no-one goes to a wedding and looks forward to seeing what the bridesmaids are going to wear- it’s all about the bride, right?)

I do feel like over here in the big ol’ U of K, we’re slowly starting to come round to the American way of thinking- as we do with all wedding trends it seems! The resounding success of bridesmaid company Two Birds and the flexibility of big labels such as Dessy are giving British bridesmaids the opportunity to be ‘matching’ (as in the same colour or fabric) but individual (different styles/lengths) at the same time.

And a big ‘Hallelujah!’ to that, I say.

But there’s still a long way to go.  The general selection of ‘bridesmaids dresses’ out there is undeniably poor and incredibly bog-standard; at least in the affordable bracket.  Occasionally I see a beautiful and what I consider to be unique bridesmaid dress in a magazine only to clock the price tag and realise I couldn’t afford one of them, let alone three.  There is no doubt that there is a HUGE gap in the market for a bridesmaid label that offers stylish, fun, and unique dresses, with a couple (not too many) of colour options and a decent price tag to boot.  I’ve thought about it so much I have a shelf full of ‘fashion business’ literature and a sketch book of designs at home! (Well, 3 or 4 in truth, but the intention was there.) Then I realised that a) this business venture is going to need some serious funds and b) I have a degree in Drama and I can’t draw for toffee- no bank manager or investor is ever going to take me seriously.

And so I’ll be hitting the high street with my three ‘maids.  There will be a colour palette as I think there is a need for unity of some sort, but after that they can literally pick what they like as long as a budget is adhered to and they promise they will wear it again.

Here’s a couple of little numbers I’m loving at the moment, bearing in mind I’m a big fan of coral- don’t know if you can tell…

Embellished bodice soft prom, £85 from Warehouse

Lace Georgia dress, £48 from Topshop

Crissy dress by Motel, £58 from Topshop

Pop on a pair of heels and give them a matching bouquet á la the Jill Thomas image at the top of the post, and you have a bevy of chic and unique bestest ladies, I reckon. Now if only I could get my ‘maids to agree… they much prefer the matching look.

Anyone else with me?

Sama xxx

Sama x

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No Responses to “Made for Maids: The Case for Individuality & Style”

  1. Kate

    I had the same dilemma, I wanted mismatching bridesmaids, I’d just buy them whatever dress they wanted – job done! I thought I was making it easier and nicer for them but they wanted the matching look, we went to Maids to Measure in the end as the high street didn’t have anything suitable (shopping in the wrong season does not help!). They have ended up with almost matching dresses but with a couple of details changed to suit their figures and heights better. I’m drawing the line at matching shoes though and I’m really hoping they both style the dress up in their own way.

    I’d recommend Maids to Measure, it was a lovely day choosing the dresses but they are more expensive than the high street so difficult if you have multiple bridesmaids, but could always mix and match with the high street if one maid proves difficult to dress.

  2. Jo

    Definitely with you!!! My bridesmaid can wear what she wants as long as its a complimentary green to the sage of the cravats. It’s up to her as long as she feels pretty and comfortable I’ll be happy. And yes, definitely hitting the high street!

  3. sara godden

    Totally agree – I regretted my matching maids – so much more original to mix it up a bit!

  4. Tan

    I am for unique dresses all the way….my maids will be in totally different dresses,,,,,and all different colours….but it will be tied together with decorations and the rest of the over all ‘non-theme’…tust me!!! xxxx

  5. Sarah 'I do read your blog ACTUALLY' Taylor

    How funny… I tried on that top one from Warehouse for the Manchester wedding I have. Decided against as the sequins are itchy and would end up exfoliating my inner arms to within an inch of their life.


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