Everyone who has ever been a bridesmaid has heard it, and everyone who has been a bride has said it: “You can totally wear this again!” But if we’re all being honest with ourselves, how often does that ever actually happen? Not very. Yet as the mismatched bridesmaid trend becomes more and more standard, it seems like women will have more leeway in picking their ensembles, making it easier to find another use for these frocks. We think this is great, as you usually wouldn’t spend so much money on an article of clothing that you will only wear once. Even if you plan to sell or donate the gown, getting another wear out of it is always satisfying. However, even the most chic of bridesmaid dresses are often not quite ready-to-wear, which is why we’ve come up with tips on how to get another use out of the gown, and where it’s safe to wear it without being side-eyed by the people around you.
Photo by Grant Daniels Photography; Planning & Design by DFW Events
- Accessories are key. Adding a belt, a casual jacket, a structured blazer, statement jewelry, or even a scarf are all great ways to transform a dress. You can even use multiple items to really help differentiate the look.
- Layer up. Think outside the box with your layers. Instead of a jacket, blazer, or cardigan, try a pullover sweater or a button-up blouse knotted at the waist. Suddenly your gown is a great skirt.
- Take it to a tailor. There are many things that can be done: alter the dress shorter, change the straps, dye it a different color, add an ombré effect, or create a skirt or top, or both!
- Wear it to another wedding. A nontraditional bridesmaid dress (i.e. not floor-length chiffon, sequins, or satin) is obviously the easiest to get away with at another wedding, but many gowns will work at formal nuptials – as long as you don’t match the color palette.
- Attend formal events. Depending on your lifestyle, you may have a fancy holiday party, charity banquet, or gala to go to, and now you won’t have to worry about finding something to wear! Even if you ever go on a cruise, they will often have a formal night where everyone dresses up, making for a perfect opportunity to get another use out of your bridesmaid dress.
- Make it a costume. Next Halloween, look for ideas that would work with an elegant dress, such as a modern take on a Disney princess or a contestant in a beauty pageant.