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firstview.com
Bombshell bridesmaid: From Vera Wang.
By "Today" Style Editor
TODAY
updated 10/8/2004 9:54:00 AM ET 2004-10-08T13:54:00

OK, so you’re not the star of the show, but when you’re honored with the role of bridesmaid, you’re definitely a belle of the ball.

While all eyes are on the bride — as they should be — it’s also your time to shine.

After all, bridesmaids are the first ones to walk down the aisle!

Want to find out how to look your best on the big day?

We’ve rounded up the latest finishing touches, from jewelry to handbags to hair and glowing skin.

firstview.com
Grand strands: From Ralph Lauren.

Girls and pearls
There’s no doubt about it — pearls are a deserved wedding classic. But while traditional creamy white pearl strands and studs are always appropriate, there are many other choices worth considering. For the most romantic look, the current trend of cascading necklaces and delicate dangling earrings — often mixed with glass or gemstones — is a sure bet. Another glamorous choice, and one exceptionally flattering to many skin tones, is the selection of colored pearls in shades such as amber, champagne or pale pink. Check out Carolee for well-priced faux-pearl options in both classic and trendy variations, and Lee Angel for an assortment of semi-precious gemstone jewelry.

Trend Tip:
It’s customary for the bride to give her bridesmaids a gift, of course, and pearls are a wonderful choice. They serve double-duty — the bridesmaids can wear them during the wedding, and then happily ever after.

firstview.com
Shod to perfection: From Badgley Mischka.

Mixed message
Bridal party alert — the days of “matchy matchy” shoes are going, going, gone. The good news is that your shoes should be chosen to complement your gown or ensemble, but you won’t be stuck with yet another pair of dyed-to-match satin sandals in chartreuse. Instead, consider the mixed message of a wear-with-everything shoe in a similar tone or pick a fail-safe metallic. And there’s no need to stick to gold or silver. Metallic shades like bronze, copper or pewter offer even more options that work with just about every color under the sun. You’ll find a wonderful selection of dressy metallic styles by Stuart Weitzman or Nina.

Trend Tip:
Heading for a warm-weather wedding at a resort or beach destination? Look to a glamorous resource like Miss Trish of Capri for both flat and low-heeled sandals. They’ll be right at home at the toniest resort.

Vivre.com
Wraps are where it's at: From Vivre.

Wrap it up
One of the wonderful things about being a bridesmaid is that you sometimes get to splurge on a special-occasion accessory that you might not otherwise buy — and then you find that it becomes your new wear-with-everything essential. Case in point: this season’s wonderfully opulent shawls, wraps and stoles. A toss of one of these show-stopping pieces will effortlessly transform even the plainest of bridesmaid dresses into a fashion statement. For a fall or winter wedding, consider a floral or paisley print or a rich velvet trimmed with fur or jewels.

Trend Tip:
Steer clear of fringed wraps and shawls, even though they are trendy right now. First of all, fringes are notoriously ill-behaved, so they will most likely work themselves into unflattering configurations during every photo op. Secondly, you don’t want to look at pictures a year from now and wonder why everyone looked as if they dressed for a “Sonny & Cher” re-run!

firstview.com
Terrific tresses: From Carolina Herrera.

Up, up and away
What a wonderful opportunity to get swept away with one of the season’s deliciously pretty up-do’s! For a formal wedding, upswept hair is a no-brainer, but even the most casual of occasions can take advantage of the sweetly romantic style of partially pulled-back hair. One of the quickest ways to brighten your look is to add strategic highlights around the face (go for a natural touch — chunky highlights are out). In terms of accessories, this is a wonderful time to find some of the season’s ornately jeweled combs, barrettes and clips. They’re super trendy and are carried in almost every store and at every price point.

Trend Tip:
If you’re wearing an up-do, don't forget to add highlights underneath your hair, so when you walk down the aisle your hair looks just as lovely coming as going. If you don’t want to go to a salon, it’s easy — and less expensive — to do it yourself with a home product such as Herbal Essences Highlights. This comb-in application evenly spaces and places highlights. Don't try any new and daring hair colors or styles, and experiment well before the event so you feel absolutely comfortable (and gorgeous!) on the big day.

firstview.com
You glow, girl: From Calvin Klein.

Glow and go
What on earth do you do when a revealing bridesmaid dress — or a color NOT of your choice — leaves you looking pale or ashy in the middle of winter? Get up and glow, girl! There are a plethora of products to smooth, polish, even out or even change your skin tone from head to toe. The most obvious are self-tanners — we like Christian Dior’s Bronze Golden Self-Tanner Instant Glow for the Body and for the Face — but for short-term results, you might also consider Star Bronzer from Lancome (the compact comes with two shades to blend the perfect glow) or Stila’s Bronze Gel. For a delicate glow without the tanning effect, we love Way to Glow from Joey New York, and to improve the skin tone and coloration of your legs, you can’t beat Sally Hansen’s Airbrush Legs.

Trend Tip:
Don’t leave your choice of glow until the last minute! To avoid unsightly mishaps — or the rare chance that you might have an allergic reaction — test your self-tanner, bronzer or new cosmetic a few weeks before the wedding.

Judy Gordon is a New York-based style consultant and the “Today” show’s style editor. She has been covering the fashion and beauty beat for the past decade. To learn more, you can visit her Web site, TheTrendReport.com, which highlights style trends in America.

firstVIEW is the primary supplier of photos to Fashion Friday. Go to www.firstVIEW.comfor the latest pictures from top fashion shows around the world, including New York, Los Angeles, London, Paris, Milan, Brazil, New Zealand, South Korea and more.

© 2013 MSNBC Interactive.  Reprints

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