I knew pretty early on that I wanted the bridesladies to be in knee-length silk chiffon dresses from J. Crew.
Now, that might sound dangerously close to ‘zilla territory, but hear me out: I’d noticed that J. Crew happened to make their bridesmaids’ dresses in graphite every single season (and yes, I emailed them and checked—it’s the exact same color every time). So, I reasoned, there’s bound to be about a zillion graphite dresses bouncing around in post-wedding bridesmaid purgatory out there, up for grabs on eBay; not to mention the people who go to the factory stores out in Virginia and sell their dresses on eBay, and the many many sales J. Crew was likely to have over the course of the engagement.
Thus, what looks like a pretty expensive dress source (their dresses retail for $250 a pop) should work out to be pretty affordable, right? Not to mention their dresses are nice quality (I believe they’re made out of silk, not polyester), they’re standard dress sizes (so, don’t have to go to a bridal salon to get everyone measured), and they’re a normal retailer (so you don’t have to order months in advance for a “custom” bridesmaids’ dress that doesn’t actually fit, and you don’t have to order them all at the same time so the dye lot is the same [who, me? bitter?]).
And you know what? It worked out! I went to a J. Crew bridal shop with four of my five bridesmaids so they could try on styles and sizes. (Not all J. Crew locations carry their bridesmaids selection, and you do have to make an appointment, but there’s one in NYC and one in Boston, which worked for my girls and me!) And here’s what they came up with: