What should a best woman wear? Fashion for groomsgirls & best women

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Can you spot Chris' non-man best man (and her bitchin' heels)?
Photo by Fable Photography

I'm in a wedding in November. I'm a 32-year-old woman but am standing with the groomsmen. All the men are wearing tuxedos. The bridal party is wearing long, strapless black dresses with an off-white sash. I need help figuring out what to wear!-Karissa

You might think the only way to make a gender-blind wedding party work is to match the switcheroo with the other side of the party. But hold on — because that's just one of a few options. Can I just say I LOVE seeing women in fantastic, tailored suits and menswear-inspired outfits? Or hell, throw out the whole matchy-matchy concept entirely and dress with the crew in any kind of fabulousness you like. This is especially awesome if the party has some gender-queer elements happening.

Let's take a look at what we've seen among our own Best Women and Groomsgirls. Bring on the ladies crossing the gender divide!

1. Dress with the dudes

groomsgirl 081511 alternative wedding ideas from Offbeat Wed (formerly Offbeat Bride)
Photo by Calla Evans

Kim and Alex's party featured similar styling by having Alex's groomsgirl wear the Halloween-inspired tie and swanky cane of the boys' outfit. Also note how the whole party has the same boot/shoelace combo. Love it.

Bridal party
Jewelzy Bug's party went the whole nine yards by having the Best Woman wear a sleek black suit and boutonnière, just like one of the guys. And she looks pretty damn good. And while you're looking, check out the faerie wings and dog bouquet. Delish!

Match the ladies


Wedding Party
Photo by Photography by Greg

Celeste and Jason snuck a lady onto the groom's side by merely having her wear black instead of navy. She fits right in.

zebra crossing
Same dress, different color again! Our groomsgirl here is wearing the same dress in black to match the ladies and the men. And who doesn't love this zebra stripe shot in general?

the guys This wedding allowed the groomsgirl to get in on the Wai Ching fun since the bride AND all her bridesmaids were wearing Wai Ching dresses! Frankly, if I was in this wedding party, I'd probably insist on not missing out on that. But hers had black accents to match the groom's side. Check out more about the fashion here.

Whole wedding party.
Photo by the bride's mother

Bret's groomsgirl wore the same gorgeous green as the other ladies in this literary wedding. And the guys' ties match, too!

Scrap the whole matching concept!


the gang
With the bride wearing blue, there's no reason to keep the same traditions with the wedding party. Here is Jane and her mixed-gender party looking awesome in their variety. Jane has a Best Man, her husband has a Best Woman, and there was a Bridesman. And why not, I say?

Wedding Party
Photo by Renee DeKona

Liz and Sarah had all ladies in their party of Maids of Honor, officiant, ushers, and readers, so they wore whatever matched the day. The two Maids of Honor wore matching blue dresses though. Adorable.

wedding party-47.jpg
Photo by Whitney Lee

Dresses on one side, slick pants on the other at Bethany and Deanna's nuptials. Just enough matching to make it awesome.

Wedding - Ceremony
Photo by Katie Donaghue

Anne and her groom have a huge group of ecelectic friends and family which equals a huge group of anything-goes cocktail wear. It totally matches the outdoor casual theme.

What are some of your favorite ways you've seen gender-blind wedding parties dressed?

dresses: Wai Ching

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Comments on What should a best woman wear? Fashion for groomsgirls & best women

  1. I had a dress designed & made (cost the same or less than the bridesmaids’ dresses, I’m told — about $250) to match the groomsmen. The groomsmen were wearing light grey suits with black ties and shoes, so my dress was grey on the bottom (with a gathered, bag waist) and black on the top and black heels. I also wore a boutionniere. It was awesome!

  2. At my lesbian wedding in a few days, no matter which “side” the attendants are one, the “pants wearers” are wearing whatever black pants and white button down shirt they pick out with matching red ties that we are gifting to them, and all the “dress wearers” are wearing whatever black or white dress whith red black or white trim they have picked out.

  3. Our groomswomen are wearing the same color dresses as the bridesmaids. I made the bridesmaids red and champagne flower hairpieces to match my veil and the groomsmen will have matching boutonnieres to match the girls dresses and the groomswomen will have headbands to match the boutonniers. Our groomswomen are girly girls, so I wouldn’t want to make them wear pants when my girls get to wear cute dresses.

  4. When I was a grooms woman I wore the same dress as the brides maids but in black. I had a wrist corsage instead of a bouquet. I think it looked really snazzy.

  5. We had mixed genders on both sides, and decided to skip the side divisions & matchy-matchy and go for a jewel tone + silk theme; our attendants got to pick their choice of colors and styles. Oddly, this resulted in pairs; so the groom’s side had forest green + deep red, and the bride’s side had silver + imperial purple. It worked really well, though, and meant that everybody was comfortable; the tomboy groom’s attendant wore a delightful vest and pant combination, while her partner had an almost elven layered dress. Custom orders for the win!

  6. In my wedding next June, my FHs sister is going to be a groomsgirl. I had her pick out any black, knee length dress she wanted. My girls are wearing the same blue as my train in any knee length style they pick so I didnt need to pick out a dress for his sister.

  7. In our wedding we have Allie on Derrik’s side. She’s going to be in a black dress with a sash in the color of his tux vests. 😀

  8. I love this post! I am having a brides-man at my wedding and I’m definitely going to send this his way! He thinks I’m the only girl to ever do this… lol

    • oh definitely you are NOT the only girl to do that, Allie. I had only male attendants on either side of my first wedding (years ago) My brother and my best friend (who happened to be gay) were NOT standing on the other side, when they were there for ME! And I was NOT picking random girls just to be attendants to “balance” the numbers. I had two guys, Husband had two guys…everyone but me in silver tails, with alternating cumberbund and tie colors. It was lovely!

      Rock on with your best mates as attendants and let the gender be damned!

  9. I love the different looks! We’re going to have our 2 groomswomen wear black to match the men since it’s the easiest, but they’re going to be dresses because one of them was like “HELL NO I am not wearing pants!” (She’s got great legs, why should she?) I might ask them to wear, or buy them, some kind of colorful accessory to match the bridesmaids but we’ll get to that later.

  10. My husband used his sister as a “groomsmaid” in our recent wedding. Our wedding colors were black and purple, so I had my girls in purple dresses, and since the guys were in black suits with purple accents, we put his sister in a black dress with purple accents.

  11. At my first wedding, my brother served as my Man of Honor. He wore a black pinstripe suit, a bright purple vest, black tie, and a black-on-black trilby. The groomsmen wore black suits and purple ties with no hat at all, so he wasn’t all matchy.

  12. My man of honor is just going with a bright blue shirt to be in the same neighborhood as the bright blue dresses. I’d love to have him in drag, but he’s a different flavor of gay and probably wouldn’t enjoy that.

  13. I was best girl at my brother’s wedding! I wore a lipservice dress that had a pinstriped skirt with a fitted shirt & tie. I also had pink hair & lace up boots with a fedora that all the boys were wearing. We looked pretty gangsta… I wish I could post a picture! We were outside having a moment & my brother was adjusting my tie. People passing by said “Well they are obviously a couple!”

    • Yes PLEASE! We both have a maid of honor and a best man. Only his maid of honor and best man are both men and I have one of each…conundrum.

  14. This is great! My brother is my Man of honor, and my FH is having his sister and another female friend in his party. So many great options!

  15. I was the only groomsmaid in a rather large groom’s party for a very dear friend of mine a few months ago. I went the way of the suit, with a twist: all the groomsmen were wearing black suits (the groom wore grey), white shirts and pale blue ties, so I pulled out a tailored cropped jacket and matching long fishtail skirt in black pinstripe, and bridged the space between my skirt and jacket, which would otherwise have been exposed shirt breaking up the outfit, with a satin underbust corset with over-the-shoulder straps and a full back, to be reminiscent of a waistcoat. It worked brilliantly; I blended in well with the rest of the party for the ceremony and photos, but in something that also allowed me to express my style, and I was getting compliments from random guests all throughout the reception on how well it worked. Photo of the groom’s party and my outfit, for those curious, is available on request.

  16. We each had two women and one man on both sides of the aisle, so basically, everyone had their own color and they all co-ordinated.

    Here are my three people:
    bride’s side

    And my husband’s three: groom’s folk

    They looked really lovely. My husband had a vest in the same pattern as the two guys, but in green (which matched my second dress). You can tell the two sides apart, but the styles were clearly matched – everyone got to be unique but still looked like part of a whole.

  17. In our wedding, our groomsgil wore a short black dress (my bridesmaids wore long purple dresses)with a a purple sash. She fit in great with the boys who were wearing black suits with lavender shirts and purple ties.

  18. my husband & i had our best friends as support. both wonderful ladies. so i asked them both to wear a black dress of their choosing.

    they both wore knee length black strapless dresses.

    the best lady wore a mini top hat (fascinator -style!) and bolero with red shoes! she looked fantastic.

    my maid of honour wore a red gerber daisy in her hair and black/cream shoes.

    they complimented each other well – and they didn’t even meet until our wedding weekend!

  19. My bridesmaids are wearing saris in fall colors, our groomsbroads are wearing black saris. Originally we talked about black pencil skirts and blazers but the suggestion of saris came up for the bridesmaids and the groomsladies jumped right on the bandwagon too. They look fabulous.

  20. I was a best (wo)man (as it said in the wedding program) at my best friends wedding a couple years ago (and no I didn’t go all Julia Roberts). His wife asked me to wear a the same style bridesmaids dress only in black instead of the burgundy. I loved it! I walked down the aisle with the maid of honor. I did the bachelor party too. It was awesome. I also did my own hair and hung out with the guys instead of the bridesmaids.
    This was quite the traditional catholic wedding. The Priest was really confused by having me as the best woman. The bride’s family who didn’t know me at all looked at me odd, but its what my best friend wanted and they accepted it once they figured out I wasn’t there to steal him (I think bringing my husband, then boyfriend, helped.)

  21. I was a groomsman in a friend’s pretty-traditional wedding. The guys wore tuxes with silver vests and the women wore royal blue. I got a black women’s dress suit with a sort of sash (so it mimicked a cummerbund), a black camisole with light silver detailing to wear under, and black heels, and pulled my hair back. This was all pretty much my call as I wasn’t given much/any guidance by the bride and groom, who trusted me not to wreck the joint with classlessness. I later found out that the families had been a little apprehensive about me but people’s worries were assuaged as soon as they saw my outfit.

  22. I was a groomsmaid in a traditional catholic ceremony as well. All of the bridesmaids wore black dresses and the groomsmen wore black tuxes. I found an awesome black dress at Ross for $10 that had a line of vertical ruffles on the bodice so it ended up looking like an old school ruffley tuxedo. It worked perfectly!

  23. I think this is a lot of fun. Partly because I was the best man at my brothers wedding. It was great to be able to help him through such an important day in his life. It was most appropriate too, since we were the closest of all our siblings. This is a photo by their photographer. I’m the chick in the dress on the right. The guys wore black suites with white suspenders and a white tie. It looked so gangster, that I had to spice up my outfit with a white and black fedora. For the flowers, I wore a boutonniere in the hat’s brim. It was awesome.


  24. My sister, a friend and I are all going to be groomsladies in my brother’s wedding this weekend, in addition to the groomsmen. The bride is also having bridesdudes and bridesmaids. There will be 12 of us, and the bride said just to wear whatever we wanted in the range of blues and greens she’s picked. The men needed more direction, so they’re wearing long-sleeved white shirts, dark pants and my bro is gifting them ties. One of the bridesmaids prefers to dress gender neutrally, so she’s wearing dress slacks and shirt similar to the guys with the same cufflinks.

  25. My “MaidMan Of Honor” is wearing a dress for me XD. To be fair tho my wedding is Dr.Who themed so each of my BM’s and the GM’s will be dressed as Doctors and their matching companions <3 LOVE the same color brides choice dresses tho!

  26. My SO insists on having “groom’s dudes.” This crew will include at least one woman, and we plan to work out with her whether she’d be more comfortable in a dress or in a suit and then just let her find one that looks nice with whatever everyone else wears. My brother will probably be amongst the groom’s dudes as well, and he might show up in a skirt. You just never know, with us. 😛

  27. I recently saw a wedding where there was a groomsgirl. She wore a dress that was the same style as the bridesmaids but in a color that matched the groomsmen’s ties instead of the different color for the bridesmaids.

  28. As soon as my fiance told me he wanted his best man to be a woman I was straight on Offbeat Bride for tips and suggestions on how to rock it, and once again you guys had the answers and more. Just wanted to say a big thanks!! Having attendants from the non-typical gender is not very common where we are from, and will be a bit of a stretch for my fiance’s more traditional Polynesian family. I just wanted to say a huge thanks to this community existing and making something that just feels really right and authentic for us seem totally normal. I now have heaps of inspiration for our awesome Best Woman 🙂

  29. We had two bridesmaids and one bridesman, two groomsmen and a groomsmaid. We went the “scrap the whole matching thing” route, and just gave our attendants the general aesthetic of the wedding (woodland / Celtic / medievalesque) and that masculine folks were encouraged but not required to wear kilts. The bridespeople coordinated among themselves so that they were all wearing something brown: one bridesmaid in a brown dress, one bridesmaid in a blue dress with brown sash, and my bridesman in a brown vest and blue and green kilt. On the groom’s side we had one guy in a grey kilt and dark grey pinstriped vest, one guy in a dark grey pinstriped suit, and the girl in a green dress with a leafy burnout pattern and a black waist cincher. (I wore a green and gold dress and my husband was in a blue, green, and red kilt and fly plaid with a dark grey pinstriped vest.) Everyone looked awesome, and I think it all ended up going together pretty well, though we were a long way from matchy.

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