It's wedding season, and we ALL know that bridesmaid dresses can be a struggle. All that money for a dress you'll never wear again?
So when I learned that Forever 21 has a bridesmaid section, I KNEW that Alle and I had to check it out. With gowns starting at $18, we were curious if this could be a bridal game-changer.
While I've only been in two weddings, Alle has been in eight. "Bridesmaid dresses are always unattractive and expensive, and they ALWAYS need a million dollars worth of alterations. If the F21 versions are cheap and cute, I'm down" Alle said. So we were both filled with hope (and hesitation) to see if these dresses were the answer to our prayers.
Alle thought this silver gown was wayyy too shiny.
Alle is wearing a small in the metallic maxi halter dress ($65, Forever 21).
Unfortunately, the material looked — and felt — really cheap. Thankfully, the lining provided a protective barrier.
"The lining was nice, though. It was really soft, which was important because the silver material itself was OMG SO ITCHY. It made my neck all red from where the ties chafed!," she said.
Meanwhile, I tried this slinky satin number. I was pleasantly surprised, because this dress fit like a *glove.
I'm wearing a medium in the satin wrapped bodice gown ($48, Forever 21).
*Note: I didn't wear it with the straps, but it still fit just fine!
Florals? For a spring wedding? GROUNDBREAKING. "I don't LOVE the color — pink is the worst on me — but the floral isn't bad. I'm not offended."
Alle is wearing a medium in the floral print slit maxi dress ($17.90, Forever 21).
She really liked the neckline, and would maybeee wear the dress in real life.
"I liked that this was pretty casual — I can definitely see it for an outdoor wedding," she said. "This dress isn't personally my style anymore (I had a pair of palazzo pants with this print on them in the '90s), but it's cute. Definite re-wear potential."
My free-spirited dress was a cute color and was comfy, but left much to be desired.
I'm wearing a medium in the flowy button-up maxi dress ($27.90, Forever 21).
This dress didn't look like a bridesmaid dress. At all.
It was just a little tooooo drab-looking, especially with the buttons. And it was super revealing since you can see through the top buttons. Once again, this was more of a Coachella dress than a bridesmaid gown.
I would've sized down, however I would be nervous if the armholes became too small.
A popular wedding trend is to put your bridesmaid in white or ivory. Blame Kate Middleton.
We're both wearing a medium in the soieblu pleated maxi dress ($65, Forever 21).
"I'm wearing a medium, which should have fit me per the size guide — and it was HUGE. As tight as we could pull the straps, it was still massive as hell," Alle said.
"This dress supposedly runs a little small, but can be adjusted... it couldn't be adjusted enough. My boobs didn't fill out the top of this gown."
This dress was see-through, the fabric was bad, and we couldn't get it to fit right.
"This dress was total Art Deco elegance online, and grandma house dress in life. The pleated fabric that looks so chic in pictures is actually rubbery to the touch and so shiny that it hurts to stare directly at it," Alle said.
If you're a bridesmaid that plans on not dancing or eating messy foods then this is the dress for you.
Alle LOVED this dress.
Alle is wearing a small in the Pretty by Rory surplice dress ($68, Forever 21).
I put my gown on and immediately had a "MY GOODNESS" moment. This dress was LOW-CUT. But it is available in plus-size!
I'm wearing a medium in the contemporary surplice dress ($24.90, Forever 21). I wasn't prepared for alllll of my business to be out there. Also, it's so low-cut I don't think I could actually walk around, much less dance at a wedding without fear of flashing someone.
Final thoughts: Although the quality isn't great, the Forever 21 bridesmaid dress section is a pretty good option if you have a small wedding budget.
"I think it's a great idea for F21 to carry bridesmaid dresses — sometimes your wedding party doesn't have a ton of money to spend on an event dress, and if you dig hard enough, you can find some tolerable stuff," Alle said.
Key word: DIG. We both found that the site was difficult to navigate, especially with sizing. A lot of the sizes and styles we wanted were sold-out, which would definitely make it difficult to buy multiple dresses for a whole bridal party.
Plus, the majority of the dresses stop at XL, so there's not many options for plus-size bridesmaid. Also, if the colors went beyond pastels and the silhouettes had more range outside of "festival fashion," Alle and I would've been bigger fans.
Though Alle *really* liked the black dress (what a surprise), we both wished the other dresses had the same quality. That one dress was proof that Forever 21 CAN make affordable, decent-quality braidesmaid dresses — now the question is, does the company really WANT to.
After all, everyone deserves affordable, well-made bridesmaid dresses — hopefully Forever 21 is headed in the right direction.