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Chiffon or Crepe? Your Guide to Bridesmaid Dress Fabric

If you’ve ever walked into a bridal shop full of dresses, you know that there are a lot of options to choose from! Truth is, not all bridesmaid dresses are made the same, and there are more than a few fabrics they can come in. If you’re feeling a little in the dark about which fabrics to choose from, we can help. Here’s a trusty guide to bridesmaid dress fabric to help your whole wedding vision come to life.

Bridesmaid Dress Fabric by Type

We carry a few different bridesmaid dress designers like Amsale, Dessy, Jenny Yoo, Sorella Vita, Adrianna Papell and our own exclusive lines: Brideside and Aura. It’s important to note that every designer has their own fabrics and colors to choose from. Plus, color richness and vibrancy can vary depending on the fabric type.

If a designer carries two fabrics in the same color, the color might appear differently in their chiffon, crepe, tulle or satin styles. Generally, satins hold the most color and appear the most saturated. Color richness in the other types will really come down to their composition and what they are lined with. Fear not: the subtle variations in color actually make for easy and elegant mix and match styles.

Fabrics, even of the same type, might vary a little bit from designer to designer as well. For instance, a chiffon from one designer could be lighter and more transparent than that of another. Still, when looking at fabric types as a whole, many of them do share similar characteristics, which is why they are often grouped together. Let’s explore!

chiffon bridesmaid dresses online
Find dresses that make you happy! Talk to a stylist now.

Chiffon Bridesmaid Dresses

Chiffon is by far the most universal bridesmaid dress fabric there is. This fabric is our #1 best seller and for good reason! Almost every designer carries chiffon because it’s lightweight and has lots of movement. Because there are so many styles to choose from, chiffon is a great option to include in a mix and match party. 

Chiffon doesn’t typically have any stretch to it, meaning that if you pull at the fabric with your fingers, there isn’t any give. You’ll see it a lot with looser and more free-flowing styles like a-lines, circle skirts, wrap dresses and asymmetrical hemlines, but it can be constructed for a sheath or fit-and-flare as well. You’ll see that the weight and transparency of chiffons will vary from designer to designer… You can tell by touching a fabric swatch or holding it up to the light.

Chiffon is great for designs with ruffles and pleating because it’s thin enough to fold, tie, drape and layer, and also strong enough to hold its structure. Chiffon is a reliable go-to for a wedding year-round, but it’s especially nice for summer weddings because it tends to be a pretty breathable fabric. 

Our favorite chiffons:

navy bridesmaid dresses from Brideside
These classic, flattering styles are Brideside Rachel, Brideside Veronica and Brideside Tina. Photo Credit: Blissmore Photography

Crepe Bridesmaid Dresses

Crepe is both a delicious breakfast item and a versatile dress fabric! Crepe fabrics have a bit more stretch than chiffon, which is why you’ll often see fitted or flat skirt bridesmaid dresses in crepe. The thickness of the fabric varies, as does its weight, which can range from light to medium or heavy. Because there are more heavy-weight styles in crepe, it is a popular choice for weddings for cold weather or indoor weddings. Also, a classic crepe is typically more opaque. You’ll also notice that crepe has a textured feel to it — if you look really close you can see it! (Each designer’s crepe texture is a little bit different as well). 

Crepes are a stellar option for black-tie weddings because the designs for crepe bridesmaid dresses tend to be more formal and sophisticated. These sleeker styles are ideal for a minimalist bride who likes clean lines and elegant details. Crepe bridesmaid dresses usually don’t have much pleating or ruching, giving way to the more obvious seam lives that give it shape (and flatter your figure!). If you like sheath, trumpet or fit-and-flare silhouettes, you might want to look for designers that carry crepes!

Crepe bridesmaid dresses we love:

slate bridesmaid dresses at Brideside
Gang’s all here! We love these best-selling Amsale crepe styles in ‘Slate.’ Shop them all here. Photo Credit: Jen Boris

A traditional crepe is matte, meaning it is not reflective or shiny. In the past few years, we’ve seen an increase in non-traditional crepes like luxe crepe and satin back crepe that have a beautiful sheen to them, which brings us to…

Satin Bridesmaid Dresses

This is one of our favorite trends for weddings in 2020 and beyond. If you’re looking for satin bridesmaid dresses, check out collections with luxe and satin crepes, as well as fluid satins! They are more affordable than silk, but give the same effect. Some crepes, like Aura by Brideside’s luxe crepe, have just a hint of shine (great for a mix and match bridal party where you want just a little variety), whereas others like Jenny Yoo’s satin back crepe have more glow.

In addition to satin crepes, there are also true satin fabrics. The difference between the two is that satin crepes have a crepe lining with a satin finish and true satins like Amsale’s fluid satin do not, so they have slightly less structure. Fluid satins tend to have more a buttery, silky hand feel than a satin crepe, but both are soft and comfortable to wear.

Satin bridesmaid dresses can work for weddings any time of year, depending primarily on the style. These fabrics work for both fitted and flowy designs. They drape beautifully, which is why you’ve probably seen some cowl neck styles growing in popularity. It can also be pleated and folded to create ruffles or wrapped around boning to add structure. Be it a flowy wrap dress, fit-and-flare or strappy sheath, satin can do it all!

Trendy satin dresses to check out:

lux crepe gray bridesmaid dresses
Aura by Brideside’s lux crepe photographs so well! See more styles here. Photo Credit:
Nicole Jansma

If you love a structured style with some shine, be sure to check also check out out sateen twill bridesmaid dresses. It’s woven differently than a satin; being similar in weight and texture to grosgrain ribbon. It’s a look that can go preppy, formal or vintage depending on styling! 

Tulle Bridesmaid Dresses

Soft, light-weight and full of volume, tulle bridesmaid dresses are ideal for the romantic bride! It’s a pretty classic choice for bridesmaids, and we love the dimension and texture that tulle brings to the table. Tulle bridesmaid dresses often have lots of pleating and details — the fabric is great for creating interesting and flattering shapes through wrapping and folding. Style-wise, tulle dresses are oftentimes flowy, a-line or circle skirts because the layers add volume. 

Tulle mesh is pretty strong, which is why it can be tied and manipulated while still looking light and airy. (If you check out the Jenny Yoo Annabelle Convertible Bridesmaid Dress, you can see it in action!)

We’ve been seeing tulle bridesmaid dresses show up a lot recently as part of mix and match party. It’s a nice way to bring a little texture and variety without going overboard. 

Tulle to Watch:

jenny yoo tulle bridesmaid dresses at Brideside
Jenny Yoo Annabelle can be tied so many different ways! It’s seen here in ‘Lilac’, ‘Raisin’ and ‘Sweet Pea.’ Find it here! Photo Credit: Samantha Laffoon Photography.

Velvet Bridesmaid Dresses

Velvet is making a comeback! These sleek styles have the softest texture. Because velvets are a little heavier, they work great for a winter wedding. Still, if you love the look, don’t let it deter you! Just choose bridesmaid dresses that are breathable on top with loose or minimal sleeves. (Jenny Yoo Andi and Logan are good options). Velvets can be constructed flowy or fitted, thanks to the stretchy fabric.

Velvet is a luxurious addition to any bridal party, but you can also style it to look a little more boho or vintage inspired. Mix with satins and other fabrics for a great textured look.

Check out these velvets:

Embellished and Sequin Bridesmaid Dresses

Don’t forget about novelty fabrics! Bridesmaid dresses with special details are memorable and unique additions to any bridal party. Put your maid of honor in a sequined style, or if you’re feeling ultra glam, give everyone some sparkle!

Sequin bridesmaid dresses can be constructed with beading that creates a pattern (à la Adrianna Papell) or all-over for some serious shine. Beading will make a dress a little bit heavier, but the overall effect will be stunning.

If you love texture, also browse embroidered bridesmaid dresses. The floral appliquè creates a beautiful dimensional effect that can easily lean whimsical or boho. We like how it can pull together all of your other bridesmaid dress colors, too.

Our top textured styles:

satin and velvet bridesmaid dresses from Brideside
Satin, velvet and crepe bridesmaid dresses mix beautiful when they are all in a similar color range. Sign up to work with a stylist who can help you re-create this look your way! Photo credit: Hyde Photos

See for Yourself with Free Bridesmaid Fabric Swatches

Want to meet these fabrics in person? That’s what our swatch store is for! We’ll give you three swatches for free when you sign up for Brideside.

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