After the bride has carefully chosen the style, the fabric, or even just the color of the bridesmaid dress that she'd like you to sport on her big day, it will be your task to head to the store and try it on. So before you step foot in that polyester or chiffon gown, find out what to wear to a bridesmaid dress fitting to get the most out of this important pre-wedding experience. Nothing's guaranteed to bring out the inner Bridezilla in your soon-to-be wed friend better than one of her bridesmaids showing up in the wrong underwear, or forgetting to bring one of her wedding day accessories to pair with the dress.
You'll most likely need multiple bridesmaid dress fittings, but act like a pro at your first one by coming prepared with these seven essentials.
1. Appropriate Undergarments
If you're at a loss about what to wear to a bridesmaid dress fitting, start with the basics—underwear. "A bridesmaid should wear the exact undergarments that she plans on wearing the day of the wedding to her dress fitting," says Gabriella Risatti of Gabriella New York Bridal Salon. But since you're not sure how the dress will fit, bring along a couple of different bra options, especially a strapless version, to see which one is most comfortable and works best with the dress. Keep it plain and simple by sticking to seamless styles and nude hues, since no one wants to see your cheetah-print bra sticking out.
If the dress has a low or open back, it might even have cups sewn in, but having bra variations will still be helpful, just in case.
2. Shoe Options
The bride may ask you to pick up a special pair of shoes that are a certain style or color, but for now, bring a few different shoe options to try the dress on with. That way, you can give her a heads up on what shoes you think work the best while you're trying on bridesmaid dresses. Dresses are usually designed for a 5'10" bridesmaid, so bring shoes with a similar heel height to the ones you might wear on the big day. This will determine how much hemming needs to be done or, if you're a bit taller, whether you'll need extra length added to the dress.
"If the bridal party does not have shoes for the dress fitting and the dress is a long dress, the bridesmaid should definitely wait until she has the actual shoes before doing the hem," says Risatti. "The seamstress can alter the gown almost entirely and just leave the hem for another fitting. It's just too risky to attempt to do the hem without the actual shoe."
Since on the day of the wedding, you'll be all dolled up with a face of makeup and your hair pinned back, you can jump forward into how the dress will actually look on by splashing on some lipstick and blush when you go to try the dress on. "I recommend taking the time to make your hair and make up look nice before the fitting so you can get a great idea of how you will look on the actual day," says Risatti. "You're certainly less likely to LOVE the dress if you just roll out of bed and show up at the fitting."
4. Body Shapers
Shapewear can work wonders on your figure and help you feel more confident, so don't forget to pack a set of Spanx for trying on dresses, especially if you plan to wear it during the actual wedding. Some forms of body shaping sets also attach to your bra, so it's even better to have a few different pairs handy.
If the bride gifted the bridal party with new earrings or necklaces that she wants her squad to sport on the big day, or if she has a specific jewelry vision already in mind, bring those accessories with you to help visualize the full ensemble while you're trying on the dress. Plus, the bride-to-be will be thrilled knowing that you're on board with her accessory choices. Send selfies of the full look, jewelry and all, to get her stamp of approval and earn bridesmaid brownie points. "Even if the bride hasn't selected jewelry yet, it's often a good idea to at least wear some fancy earrings to the dress fitting, just to get the look," says Risatti.
6. Hair Tie/Clip
Wearing your hair up at the wedding? Bring a hair tie or clip to get a better idea of what the dress will look like paired with an updo. This will also give you more visuals of the neckline and the back of the gown.
7. A Good Attitude
"Most importantly, if the bride is present at the fitting, don't forget to keep things positive," says Risatti. Even if you're not madly in love with the dress the bride has picked out, keep your thoughts to yourself. Go in there knowing you can add your own splash of personality to the dress with makeup, accessories, and even an evening bag.
Jen Glantz is a "professional bridesmaid" and the founder of Bridesmaid for Hire. She's the author of All My Friends Are Engaged and frequently wears old bridesmaid dresses to the grocery store and on first dates.