What can I do with my bridesmaid dress?
January 29, 2007 6:53 PM   Subscribe

I'm done being the bridesmaid - now what can I do with the dress?

Last March I stood up in a friend's wedding and we had bridesmaids' dresses that were a very pretty blue color. After the wedding I hung it in the back of my closet and I haven't had an occasion to wear it since.

It occurred to me today that I'd like to alter the dress so it's a little more wearable. After all, I paid a lot of money for it and I'd like to wear it more than once. The dress can be seen here...I think that if I had the skirt part taken up and modified the bodice somehow it could become a more casual-looking dress that I could wear as a guest to weddings or dinners.

So, I have two questions. First, ladies, would you take offense if your former bridesmaids altered their dresses after the wedding? I think that it would be pretty cool if the friends who stood up in my wedding were able to wear their dresses more than once, but I could see some people getting offended that the bridesmaids didn't keep the dress forever and ever for sentimental value. I know that this is a question to be hashed out between me and the bride, but I don't even want to approach her if this is some kind of huge faux pas.

Secondly, does this dress look like it will always scream, "Bridesmaid!" or do you think it's salvagable? Do you have any suggestions?

Thanks!
posted by christinetheslp to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (21 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
 
Heh. Well, there's the Diedre Flint song called, "Bridesmaid Dress", where the bride suggests it be turned into a cocktail dress...
posted by SpecialK at 6:58 PM on January 29, 2007


Not exactly the answer you may be looking for, but I've been to a couple of 'Bridesmaid Dress' parties. Everyone gets to trot out one of their collection of dresses. Makes for a colorful and lighthearted evening.
posted by michswiss at 7:06 PM on January 29, 2007


It's not a faux pas. Could you (aside from shortening) mabe have that crepe-y stuff around the neck removed and just make it strapless? I'm thinking like this length.

I've never done it, though, because most bridesmaid dresses I've worn have that weird, heavy bridesmaid material. If you want to wear it agin, you could have a Formal Forties party (everyone wears old prom/bridesmaid dresses and drinks some forties).
posted by Airhen at 7:09 PM on January 29, 2007


If you paid for the dress then you should be allowed to do whatever you want to it after the wedding, regardless of what the bride thinks.

And I don't think it screams bridesmaid at all. It's actually really cute just the way it is.
posted by Brittanie at 7:09 PM on January 29, 2007


I would never be offended by a bridesmaid finding a new use for her dress. Not that mine could, because I put them into tea length, bright purple, satin atrocities. Hindsight is 20/20.

I don't think it really "screams" bridesmaid, just speaks it a little loudly. Dresses that are all one color are usually a tip-off for that. If you took the halter off and paired it with a different colored or textured shawl or jacket it would change the look quiet a lot. I like the length the way it is, but that's only if you go to a black tie events where floor length is appropriate.
posted by saffry at 7:10 PM on January 29, 2007


I can't really imagine what bride would be upset if her bridesmaids altered the dress. If most women kept every $300 bridesmaid dress they ever wore in its original condition for sentimental value, we'd all need *very* large closets.

Alter it! If anything, she'd probably be glad you liked the dress so much you wanted to wear it more than once. Or...you could always keep it for your future daughters who I'm sure would get a kick out of wearing it to some theme party in the very distant, hypothetical future.
posted by awegz at 7:13 PM on January 29, 2007


Of course you should change it to whatever you like -- it's your dress. I am unclear why changing it to a less bridesmaidy form would cause anybody any offense at all. Was it your friend's stated intention that you should cherish the dress forever as a keepsake of her wedding? Of course not -- I mean, I hope not.

It's a beautiful color and a shame to get only one wearing out of it. Make it into something you can use a few more times and have fun with it. Personally I would do away with the whole entire bodice and have a professional dressmaker make a new (non-matching-color) top for it. It's hard to tell in that particular picture however.
posted by brain cloud at 7:13 PM on January 29, 2007


Cut it into patches and make a baby quilt for the bride. Give it to her at her baby shower (should she spawn). That way the dress travels full circle and becomes something their child can treasure someday.
posted by hermitosis at 7:23 PM on January 29, 2007


If you shorten it, you can take some of the chiffon overlay and turn it into flutter-style sleeves. It would be really cute, actually. I think it's the length that's doing it in. Feel free to email me if you want more details on how to do that!
posted by bitter-girl.com at 7:31 PM on January 29, 2007


I think the dress is really pretty and that of course you should alter it if you want -- I can't imagine a bride getting mad about one of her friends altering the dress worn at her wedding so she could wear it more.

i actually really like the bodice like that and think you could get away with just shortening the skirt some, but if you want to do more, you should do more! Have at it! It's a really pretty color!
posted by onlyconnect at 7:34 PM on January 29, 2007


i think it would be cool to change it, as long as when you tell her you're changing it you spin it as- "i love the dress, the cut, the colour, the fabric- i wanna alter it for less-formal occasions so i can wear it more often because i like it so much!". that's a compliment to her taste-- as opposed to an explanation that might be translated as "what a tacky waste of money, i'd have to alter it to wear it again because it screams "someone else's wedding", ugh!" so compliment the dress a lot and stress the the changes are because you love it and can't wait to wear it more often.

i think the bodice is great- i've never seen a dress like that before. i love the chiffonny halter. i do think it's too long- i'd hem it for sure. maybe an asymmetrical hem, around knee length on one side, and 6-8 inches longer to hit mid-calf on the other? if the fabric is a bit stretchy, maybe the tailor can sew over the edge of the fabric so you get a slightly curly hem, like this dress? if you did that, i don't think it would look bridesmaidy at all.
posted by twistofrhyme at 7:55 PM on January 29, 2007


I -- no offence -- don't know that there'd be a way to alter "bridesmaid" out of that dress that'd be worth it.

Remove overlay, shorten, find co-ordinating jacket, maybe a scarf... If it's the polyester crepe of most bridal horrors, don't bother.

I can't conceive of a bride being bothered by alterations, though.
posted by kmennie at 8:04 PM on January 29, 2007


I'd find some great coordinating fabric, royal blue velvet maybe, and make a simple short shirt/jacket/top that you could remove when you wanted to dazzle your hot date. (Seriously, dress looks great on you.)

The bride is allowed to choose your dress, but is not allowed to object if you re-purpose it later.
posted by theora55 at 8:18 PM on January 29, 2007


I agree with kmennie. Unless you have really eclectic taste, I can't see doing anything to that dress that would make it wearable in the real world. Almost all bridesmaids dresses are like this, and I don't know a single bride who actually expects her bridesmaids to keep their dress forever and ever OR wear it again. I let my bridesmaids pick out whatever dress they wanted in chocolate brown, and I *still* don't expect them to hang on to them unless they really want to.

If you want to repurpose it into a baby quilt or something, go for it.

What I would do, though, is donate it to one of the many "Fairy Godmother" charities out there (here is the link to the MA one, but there are lots of similar orgs all over) who collect gently worn formal gowns to donate to underpriviledged girls to wear to their high school proms.
posted by tastybrains at 9:03 PM on January 29, 2007 [1 favorite]


Can you donate it? It seems like there are some places online that take donations of fancy dresses to supply prom type dresses to girls in need. I don't have a link, but I bet you could find the link on knot.com or something similar.
posted by santojulieta at 9:05 PM on January 29, 2007


I don't think it "screams" bridesmaid, at least not in the photo, but I think "bridesmaid" would occur to me if I saw you in it at another event. I think it's possible you could just wear it as is. I wouldn't alter it - I don't see anything that you could do to it that would make it better & less-bridesmaid-y. I don't think shortening it is a good idea - the length looks right for the dress to me. And bridesmaid dresses can be short, so making it shorter won't make it less bridesmaid-y. Love the bodice, so I wouldn't change that.

Don't make it into a baby quilt - baby's quilts should be cotton, not whatever this material is.

I'd go with sell or donate, and be happy that you got to wear a very pretty bridesmaid gown once, and you have some great photos to show for it.
posted by Amizu at 5:55 AM on January 30, 2007


By the way, I find it extremely common to go to weddings and see other women (or wear myself) dresses that may or may not have been bridesmaids dresses at other weddings. I don't think this is a big deal.
posted by onlyconnect at 8:30 AM on January 30, 2007


I used a bridesmaid's dress from a wedding in 2000 as a Halloween costume for many years. (I can't get to flickr from here, but from what people are saying, it sounds like yours is much like the one I had.)

No, I didn't dress as a bridesmaid, but I was the Rotten Tooth Fairy one year (cut the hem off ragged, dirtied it up, cut holes in it, used the chiffon drapey thing in the back as "wings") and a Dead Ballerina the next (cut more off of it, added black tulle underneath). And so on, and so forth.
posted by pyjammy at 9:43 AM on January 30, 2007


I bet a lot of bridesmaid's dresses out there made of that satiny material could be made into really cool throw pillowcases -- you know, I'm picturing the brown and blue combo that's out there and popular.

I loved the bridesmaid's dresses I had for my wedding -- they were brown silk short dresses. I've been tempted to borrow the one my sister wore to wear to parties and whatnot, but thought that would be strange if people recognized it and were like, "wasn't that the bridesmaid dress in YOUR wedding?"

A friend and I had the idea to host a "wear your bridal gown" party, but she's already had her dress all hermetically sealed up in one of those preservation boxes. Oh, well.
posted by printchick at 10:35 AM on January 30, 2007


I think that dress would be awesome if you cut it short (like above your knees short - I'm thinking something similar to the dress Marilyn Monroe was wearing in that picture).

And I think the bride would probably be happy that you were getting some use out of the dress rather than sticking it in the back of the closet iwth all the other ones :)
posted by echo0720 at 10:47 AM on January 30, 2007


Okay, now I've seen the picture. Thank goodness for you, yours looks nothing like mine. I think if you had it shortened, it definitely wouldn't look like a bridesmaid's dress. It's chiffon-ish, right?
posted by pyjammy at 6:21 PM on January 30, 2007


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