Dear Etiquetteer: How can black dresses for bridesmaids be outlawed?
One of the drawbacks of living in a nation of Freedoms is that people have Freedom of Taste. While they have the Freedom to express Good Taste, they also have the Freedom to express Bad Taste, or at least the Freedom to Ignore Good Examples. So alas, black dresses for bridesmaids will be with us while the Bridal Industry declares them fashionable.
Etiquetteer considers that this trend began because brides wanted their bridal parties to look sophisticated rather than, well, bridal. Reverting to black is a rather unimaginative way to to do, as it's more than possible to present a sophisticated appearance in other colors than black. Even navy blue is magnificently sophisticated without being black! Surely there is a Happy Balance somewhere between Girlish Pink Tulle and Mourning Black Satin, yes?
What Etiquetteer would like to see changed most is the slavish devotion to strapless gowns for brides and their attendants. As the late Edith Head, one of the great costume designers of 20th century Hollywood, famously said, "Fit the dress to the girl, not the girl to the dress!" Not every figure is flattered by a strapless gown. But Fashion is a fickle goddess, and brides may only "repent at leisure" having indulged in the excesses of their times. Remember all those headbands with gigantic poufs of veiling behind them in the 1980s?
Which leads Etiquetteer to conclude with the timeless advice "You can never go wrong with a classic."