Weddings these days tend to have far nicer decor and bridesmaid’s dresses than back in the 70s, 80s, and 90s. You may even have been part of a wedding party back then, and you and the others were forced to wear ugly bridesmaid’s dresses. You may have seen pictures of your mom or other family members’ weddings and had a good laugh at the poofy sleeves and hideous colors and patterns. Either way, most of us remember the era of ugly bridesmaid’s dresses!
Fashion is not always timeless
Contrary to the firm belief of fashion being a cycle – in some instances, it really couldn’t be further from the truth. Please don’t let these ugly bridesmaids (if they ever were) come back in fashion. Some things are better left in the past. Granted, pulling out the old wedding albums does provide for a good laugh! So please, take a look at some of the finest bridesmaids’ dresses (sarcasm) the past has given us.
Shiny and pink, who doesn’t love a good plastic dress?
Apparently, brides chose ugly bridesmaid’s dresses to make sure they weren’t upstaged? Well, if that’s true, these dresses prove the point!
Always a bridesmaid and never a bride? Well, we hope you never had to wear a dress like this!
Fancy some fruit? This bride clearly had a thing for citrus
Gypsy weddings are out there, this we know. But this one clearly really hated her bridal party
Tangerine dreams – this one isn’t even from that long ago!
We are starting to believe that nobody actually likes their bridesmaids!
The History of ugly bridesmaid’s dresses
The bridesmaid dress has, in fact, a long and interesting history dating back to ancient Rome. Historically, Cele C. Otnes and Elizabeth H traditions meant that up until the 1880s, the bridesmaids actually wore dresses that were identical to the bride’s dress! There were many reasons for this, including confusing evil spirits and protecting the bride from potential kidnappers. In other words, bridesmaids were a sort of decoy.
Enter the late 19th century; it was decided that the bridesmaid should look entirely different from the bride. Often, in really ugly bridesmaid’s dresses. Not that they were always much better than the dress of the bride herself! According to the 1865 nuptial guidebook The Etiquette of Courtship and Matrimony, bridesmaid dresses should: “Be as the depth of coloring in the background of a sun-lit picture.” While Rose Cleveland in The Social Mirror of 1988 said: “The principal duty of the bridesmaid is to look pretty, and not outshine the bride.” In Vogue 1920, the magazine advised that a bridesmaid should look: “Charming, yet not too charming; distinctive, yet not too prominent.”
- “A Cultural History of Ugly Bridesmaids Dresses.” Racked. Rachel Sugar. June 8, 2016.