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In the past bridesmaid’s dresses were usually long and frilly affairs that served little purpose after they were worn once at the wedding. Nowadays brides are much more practical and the trend has moved towards simpler, more fashionable outfits that can be worn afterwards with style.

Top trends for 2011 are showing up in the new bridesmaid dress designs. Here are 10 fabulous on-trend dresses that any bridesmaid would be proud to strut her stuff in:

The trend: 60s glamor

The huge popularity of Mad Men has spilled over into fashion: 2011 will see the return of 60s glamor. This refers not to the mod era miniskirts and shift dresses, but the ladylike full skirts of the early 60s. Many big designers showed longer, fuller skirts for fall and winter 2010, and this year that look will translate into pretty flared dresses with cinched-in waists.
If the full-skirted look is not for you, the 60s style can also be channeled through a sleeker silhouette – think body-hugging yet ladylike, with a nipped-in waist and demure pencil skirt. This Alfred Sung dress in black peau de soie would be perfect with pearls and peep-toes, and could be worn afterwards to any formal occasion.

The trend: Lace and Chiffon

This season has been all about lace and other sheer fabrics, and this trend is perfect for weddings. Though lace and net have traditionally been used for the bride’s outfit, lacy bridesmaid dresses are also going to be big this year. It’s best to steer clear of white and cream for this look, as the end result is too reminiscent of a bridal gown. Instead, dark colored lace looks striking – olive, mahogany, charcoal or aubergine. Black also makes a chic choice, especially when layered with an ivory silk lining, as in this Dessy dress.
Chiffon is also a popular choice for bridesmaid dresses, as it produces a beautifully airy and flow-y silhouette. These two dresses show how a lightly ruched fitted bodice provides good contrast to a full, floaty skirt.

The trend: Colors of 2011

Color company Pantone has selected honeysuckle as the color for 2011. A bold shade of pink, this color has been described as courageous, confident and vital. The scent of honeysuckle is also reminiscent of the carefree days of summer – perfect for a June or July wedding.
The other color that is getting a lot of press in 2011 is champagne. A more flattering version of beige, champagne usually has some shine and shimmer, and so lends itself perfectly to a subtle and glamorous wedding palette. This silk organza dress by JCrew is elegant enough to be worn as a cocktail dress after the wedding.

The trend: Ruffles, Bows and Bubbles

Style is all in the details this season. Bows and ruffles are on everything, not cutesy and girly, but gorgeously grown-up and elegant, as in these Alvina Valenta satin dresses.
The bubble dress is another style that is making something of a comeback, perhaps also due to the 60s revival. Though this design is not for everyone – it only really flatters those with perfect figures – it looks rather unique, as with this Jim Hjelm tissue taffeta creation. The girlish charm of the shape coupled with the sophisticated color, make for a winning design.

FT Admin

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