always a bridesmaid...

When I try to envision a dress, shoes, hair, and jewelry for bridesmaids, I'm at my pickiest. My brain can never put all the elements together into one outfit. I've never been a fan of the solid, simple, satin dresses that girls of all shapes and sizes are forced into for weddings. I like my creative freedom, and I still want to exercise it in a situation where uniform tends to prevail. Like bridal ensembles.

My lovely sister Caitlin gets to be the lucky bride this May (!!!), and she asked me to be the maid of honor. I'm sooo beyond excited, and, well, honored. Now that I'm shopping for a bridesmaid look for myself, it seems...easier. Maybe I'm self-centered, but shopping for myself is just more fun. I'm sure someone else agrees with me.

Caitlin and I talk about potential dresses and shoes nonstop. In my search for budget-friendly options for the bridal party, I've been looking for inspiration from designer pieces--dresses I could only dream of outfitting my own bridesmaids in someday. Unfortunately, I'll only get my wish if I end up marrying Donald Trump or Bill Gates, neither of which I'm considering. Now or ever.

Emilio Pucci dress, Elizabeth and James pumps, Ippolita jewelry

I love this sheath dress; the little ruffle at the hip is effortlessly chic, and the color is a much-appreciated jump from regular wedding colors. When people ask about your wedding colors, they expect you to say something they could find in a Crayola 12-pack. Not seafoam-green-teal-need-this-on-my-body-right-now-gorgeousness.

Let me publicly announce that I'm completely devoted to Elizabeth and James, Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen’s other clothing line (its sister is The Row). The neutral blush color on these pumps perfectly complements the bright dress without competing with it, and the snakeskin print adds sooo much understated texture and interest.

My ideal pair of earrings for this look would be big, statement, lapis chandelier earrings, but big surprise, the focus should be on the bride and not her sister's ears. Simple drop earrings have become my favorite for bridesmaids. They're just enough. These rose gold + smoky topaz ones by Ippolita are flawless.

I would probably put my preference of not-perfectly-matching bridesmaids aside just to be surrounded by this outfit a dozen times over. However, since it ends up at over $2,000 (not even including the bangles, siiiiiigh) I don’t think I’ll be sashaying down the runway aisle in Pucci anytime soon.

Back to the search! And I promise, Caitlin, I won’t choose platform nosebleed heels for your wedding. Three inches, tops.

P.S. I'll keep you updated on what I do end up finding for my maid-of-honor dress!