Bridesmaid Dresses for the Big Girls

Say "I do" this wedding season to chic bridesmaid dresses! Plus-size fashionista Nicolette Mason picks her faves.

Say "I do" this wedding season to chic bridesmaid dresses! Plus-size fashionista Nicolette Mason picks her faves.
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"Courtesy of Nicolette Mason"
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About a year ago, my best friend called to tell me she was engaged. My initial reaction was, of course, sheer excitement. But after a few moments, a second feeling kicked in: utter panic. How on earth would I fit into the dainty bridesmaid dress she was sure to pick out?
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"Stylecaster.com"
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Fact is, the bridal market can be a nightmare for full-figured fashionistas—the selection is frustratingly limited and the quality equally uninspiring. Lucky for me, the bride let us choose our own dresses—the latest bridal trend has moved away from matchy-matchy wedding parties, thankfully. So I opted for a stunning charcoal Grecian gown by Tadashi Shoji that made me look like a flame-haired goddess.
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"Richard Majchrzak/Studio D"
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I've learned that the key to holding your own as a big-girl bridesmaid (this applies to any formal event, really) is to make sure that the anxiety of finding the right dress doesn't overshadow the joy of the occasion. So to make the process a bit easier for you, I've rounded up a selection of bridesmaid dresses that will wow even the pickiest brides and flatter everyone in the bridal party. If you're fortunate enough to select your own dress, look no further. If you've got to make a case to your soon-to-be-wedded friend, tear out this page!

Dress (up to size 3X), $134.99, Ruche; shopruche.com.

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"Richard Majchrzak/Studio D"
Formally Wed

Want more "Big Girl in a Skinny World"? Check out the new Web series at youtube.com/hellostylechannel. E-mail me at biggirl@marieclaire.com and tell me what you think.

Earrings $680, Anna Sheffield Jewelry; annasheffield.com.

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"Richard Majchrzak/Studio D"
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Dress (up to size 24), $99, David's Bridal; davidsbridal.com.
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Celebrity inspiration: Kristie Alley

"Ruching or draping at the bust is a clever design trick—it enlarges those who need it while minimizing those who don't."

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"Richard Majchrzak/Studio D"
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"An A-line silhouette camouflages a bigger bottom. If you're top-heavy, a sweetheart neckline is always flattering."

Dress (up to size 24), $632, Rani Zakhem at Jones & Jones; (956) 687-1171.

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"Courtesy of the Designer"
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Ring $920, Tacori; tacori.com.
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"Richard Majchrzak/Studio D"
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Dress (up to size 24), $168, White by Vera Wang; davidsbridal.com.
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Clutch $595, Anya Hindmarch; anyahindmarch.com.
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Celebrity inspiration: Octavia Spencer at the 2012 Golden Globe Awards in Tadashi Shoji.
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"Richard Majchrzak/Studio D"
Formally Wed
Dress (up to size 18), $265, Ann Taylor; anntaylor.com.
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"Ensure your dress gets tons more mileage this summer by opting for a pastel or floral, two of the season's hottest trends."

Clutch $32.72, ASOS; asos.com.

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"Courtesy of the Designer"
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Shoes $625, Jimmy Choo; jimmychoo.com.
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