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30 Photos That Show How Much Bridesmaid Trends Have Changed Over the Years

Voluminous Sleeves

It’s true. Puffy sleeves are back in style—but they’ve been reinvented. Instead of the oversized, voluminous sleeves featured on all ‘80s bridesmaid dresses, sleeves are being exaggerated in a more stylish and subtle way.

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Oversized Bouquets

I won’t deny it, I love a good floral arrangement, but more is less when it comes to bouquets. Nothing looks gaudier than a bridesmaid holding an entire garden of peonies.

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Cap Sleeves

Bridesmaid dresses often have cap sleeves. It’s a trend that makes a comeback every few years because it’s flattering. The sleeves create an illusion of broader shoulders, making the waist look thinner. What’s not to love?

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White Satin Gloves

I’m still in utter disbelief. There truly were brides that forced their friends to wear white satin gloves with their bridesmaid dresses. They looked like they were attending a debutante ball rather than a wedding…

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Flower Crowns

Flower crowns first became an extremely popular wedding accessory in the ‘60s and again in the early 2010s. They were adorable at first, but now they’re just outdated. Whether you’re the bride or the bridesmaid, avoid donning an oversized floral hairpiece—opt for dainty and petite blooms in your updo instead!

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Short Hemlines

It’s 2020 and we’re all about shorter hemlines. But in the ‘70s and ‘80s, bridesmaid dresses were typically no shorter than tea length. So, when brides had their friends wear dresses that revealed more than their ankles, it came as a shock!

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Bold Patterns

The bride is supposed to stand out on her wedding day. All the attention should be on her and rightfully so! But when bridesmaids in the ‘60s and ‘70s were dressed in bold patterns and bright florals, it was hard to look away.

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Lace Dresses

Lace is a bridesmaid trend that’s still popular. Instead of purchasing dresses made of traditional materials like satin, charmeuse or chiffon, brides are choosing lace gowns. They’re a fun and playful way to change things up.

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Poofy Skirts

Unfortunately, there was a time when bridesmaid dresses resembled ball gowns. If you’re a bride who loves voluminous dresses, buy yourself a Cinderella-style gown—not your bridesmaids. No wedding party needs that much tulle.

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Vibrant Colors

For some reason, vibrantly colored bridesmaid dresses had a moment. Not only would bridesmaids wear all shades of the rainbow (including bright pinks, yellows, and oranges), but they’d wear all of these shades at once.

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Pastels

Most brides want to be unique and stand out on their wedding day, which is why they choose bridesmaid gowns that are subtle in color. Yes, bridesmaids dresses have become brighter and more daring in recent years, but the majority of bridesmaids continue to wear pretty pastels.

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Two-Piece Dresses

Thankfully, two-piece dresses were just a fad. In a moment of weakness, brides thought it best to put their friends in floor-length skirts and modest blouses. Instead of looking fashion-forward, bridesmaids looked dowdy.

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Conformity

Having your closest friends by your side on your wedding day is special. But it can also be overwhelming. Instead of dictating the exact hairstyle, lipstick color, and shoe choice for your bridesmaids, allow them some input. Conformity isn’t as crucial as it once was!

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Collared Dresses

For a brief period of time, dresses with collars were considered trendy. But looking back now—in 2020—I can’t help but see the resemblance to James Dean’s upturned collar in Rebel Without a Cause.

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Single Color Palettes

Single color palettes for bridesmaid dresses are an ongoing trend. Only the boldest of brides experiment with multi-colored bridesmaid gowns. If you prefer conformity, a single color palette is the way to go. Let your bouquets and floral arrangements add color to your wedding.

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White Dresses

You probably have been told two fashion rules regarding white clothing: don’t wear it after Labor Day and don’t wear it to a wedding (unless it’s your own). So I’m still not sure why brides purposely dress their bridesmaids in white. To each their own, I suppose…

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Bonnets

There was a time when brides thought their bridesmaids should accessorize with headpieces. As much as I love their creativity, bonnets and hats should’ve never been bridal accessories.

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Capelets

This was definitely one of the chicer bridesmaid trends. Capelets were a modest addition to a bridesmaid dress. The sheer overlay covered the shoulders, back, and chest. Honestly, I wouldn’t mind if this trend resurfaced (but without the ‘70s pattern).

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Strapless Dresses

Strapless dresses are either loved or loathed. Brides who love strapless silhouettes are quick to agree to a strapless gowns for their bridesmaids. What they don’t realize though is how much the dress will be tugged at, especially while on the dance floor.

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Sleek Updos

Hair trends frequently come and go, and sleek updos are just one of many popular bridal party hairstyles. In the last several years though, many brides have allowed their bridesmaids more freedom regarding hair and makeup. This is why lots of bridesmaids have started wearing their hair down for weddings.

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Halter Tops

Halter tops used to be so trendy. Although they are still seen on bridesmaids today, they are definitely not as popular as they used to be. The triangle halter tops were by far the most popular in the early 2000s, and let’s be honest, they were not the most flattering on everyone.When we see them in weddings today, they are usually part of the mix and match style many brides want for their bridesmaids, where each girl gets to choose the dress she likes best in a certain color scheme. We’re just glad that we aren’t forced into these gowns anymore.
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Hats

Hipster hats have definitely been a trend recently, but let’s not forget the floppy hats of the ‘70s. Unlike the hats many bridesmaids wore in the early 1900s that were often very sophisticated, the hats from the ‘70s were usually very flashy and not worth it.Wedding photos like this one definitely show their age as you flip through the wedding album. Floppy hats had their moment, but that moment has passed. We will probably look back at the hipster hats of today and shake our heads at that style choice as well.
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Velvet

No matter how you wear it, velvet is definitely a trendy item. It comes and goes over the years, but that doesn’t mean that it is timeless. Although it is on-trend now, much like the hats, it will definitely be out of style in a few years, just like it was in the ‘60’s and ‘70s.If you really love velvet, it’s your day and you get to choose! Be as trendy as you want at your wedding if it’s what you want. While some parts might be cringey (what part of looking through old wedding photos isn’t cringey), it will just show how time has passed and be a fun time capsule of the year you were married.
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Ruffles

Ruffles are another trend that has come and gone through the years, but it’s definitely not one we are seeing much of nowadays. Ruffles were big from the ‘80s all the way into the early 2000s. While simple, understated dressed are favored now, billowing gowns used to be all the rage.

The ruffle trend came from the idea in the ‘80s and early ‘90s that bigger was better. Bigger hair, bigger dresses, bigger flowers all meant a better wedding. And while those weddings probably were a ton of fun, there’s no denying the dying trend. It even snuck its way into the 2011 film Bridesmaids.

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Empire Waists

After the dust had settled from the giant ‘80s weddings, and the simple silhouette started to rise in popularity, so did the waistlines. Empire waists, when the dress is accented just below the bust to create a high waisted look, rose to popularity in the early 2010s.They are beginning to fade out of style now, and you can tell just by looking at this picture. It isn’t exactly what everyone is wearing nowadays. This silhouette can be very flattering on a wide variety of body types, but even still it might not be the best choice in terms of trends.
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Big, Teased Hair

Who can forget the big, teased hair from the ‘80s and early ‘90s?! This is definitely not something you see nowadays, but man were they fun at the time! The final product at least, not necessarily all of the perms and hairspray.While this look didn’t age well, it’s nice to look back and laugh at how things have so drastically changed over the years. Just think about how within only 20 years the trends went from big poodle hair to flat Barbie hair in what seems like overnight!
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Sweetheart Necklines

Sweetheart necklines were so popular in the years surrounding 2010. Along with the empire waists, this design trend is a tell-tale sign of the 2010s. There’s no denying, though, that sweetheart necklines are a classic.For a while there in the 2010s, you couldn’t find anything except sweetheart necklines. Now people are opting for a wider variety of dresses, silhouettes, and necklines, so the sweetheart neckline monopoly on bridesmaid gowns is going to be a thing of the past.
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Tulle

Tulle has seen a comeback in recent years, for example, the ladies in this picture seen above are very on-trend by today’s standards, but this toned-down tulle is nothing compared to the layers upon layers that used to be seen in ‘80s and ‘90s bridesmaid dresses.

Just remember Rachel Green’s giant pink bridesmaid dress from Friends!. Big. Pink. Poofy. This is not exactly what we are seeing walking down the aisle these days. Brides of today are wanting their bridesmaids to actually be able to sit down in their dresses.

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High Neck Collars

High necklines and collars are very elegant on dresses, especially bridesmaid dresses, but we are not seeing them pop up as much in today’s weddings. They were very popular in the ‘50s along with shorter hemlines. We really only see high necklines on bridesmaids when the bridesmaids get to pick their own mix and match dresses. However, the trend over the past several years has opted for more chest exposure than coverage, like with the sweetheart neckline.
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Dark Colors

If you scroll through Instagram or Pinterest at wedding pictures today, you will most likely see either lots of pastels and neutrals or jewel tones, but do you remember the dark colors that were popular in the ‘90s?Black bridesmaid dresses were very popular in the ‘90s, probably a countermovement to the bright colors of the ‘80s. They contrasted nicely with the bride’s white dress, and when done right, they could look very classy, even if the dark color was a bit of a trend.
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