9 Things to Do with a Bridesmaid’s Dress

September 25, 2013    |    By +
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old-bridesmaid-dressThese days, September is the most popular month for American weddings-and that means there’s a profusion of bridesmaid dresses by now that will never, despite what the sales clerk at the bridal shop said, be worn again in their present form. What to do? We turned to Rebecca Whitlinger, author of Always a Bridesmaid: 89 Ways to Recycle That Bridesmaid Dress, for some ideas, and added a few more of our own. Now we’re celebrating the ninth month with nine creative ways to reuse, repurpose or upcycle that taffeta monstrosity–er, confection–that’s taking up way too much space in your closet.

1. Donate it to someone who needs a prom dress, through the Princess Project or Donate My Dress.

2. Sell it. Poof! With no sewing whatsoever, you’ve transformed your dress into dinner and a movie.

3. Hand it down to a little girl who thinks you looked like a princess, and help her imagination soar.

4. Throw a tea party for ex-bridesmaids only: formal in attire, a tad zany in mood. Who says dress-up is limited to under-twelves?

5. Enter the ugly dress contest with it. Don’t worry, you don’t have to wear it in public—it’s online.

6. Why be a zombie bride when you can be a zombie bridesmaid, or, indeed, a zombie prom queen? Add a splash of fake blood and a small bouquet of deadly nightshade, and say Happy Halloween!

7. If you’re feeling crafty, think of it as free fabric with great associations. Monocolor silk dupioni may scream “bridal party” as clothing, but it’s perfect for throw pillows. And don’t stop there. “I upholstered my piano bench with the dress from my brother’s wedding,” says Whitlinger.

8. Re-gift creatively. Plenty of weddings lead to baby shower invitations. If the thought of sewing makes you smile, turn your bridesmaid’s dress into a luxurious backing for a baby blanket that will swaddle a little one in great memories.

9. Just wear it. Whitlinger, who is currently the executive director of the Pittsburgh-based Cancer Caring Center, has been finding new ways to repurpose a certain gold lame gown for 25 years. “I decided that if I couldn’t wear it anywhere, I’d wear it everywhere and take the pictures to prove it,” she says. She and her dress have been skiing, scuba diving, and hot air ballooning. Together, they have have climbed Macchu Picchu, and appeared on “Oprah.” And it still fits. Not too shabby.

Next marriage-related occasion already looming? For ideas for wedding etiquette, wedding gifts and anniversary presents, visit Gifts.com.



Lavonne Leong lives with her husband and daughters in Honolulu, where she writes about arts, education, science, families, and yes, shopping. She’s the editor-at-large for San Francisco-based Red Bridge Press, and her first children’s book, Up in the Hawaiian Sky, is due out in October 2013. She loves the thrill of the chase when stalking the perfect gift.


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Kathryn D.W.
Kathryn Drury Wagner is the senior manager of content at Gifts.com. She was formerly the executive editor at Honolulu Magazine, and is the author of The Ultimate Guide to Shopping on Oahu. Her career has included staff positions at Country Living Gardener and Power & Motoryacht. Her latest book is "Hawaii's Strangest, Ickiest, Wildest Book Ever!"

Gwen P.
Gwen is the Editorial Curator at Gifts.com. In addition to writing blogs, she creates gift guides, curates the site, and produces content for our social media channels. As a freelance writer, she created blogs on fashion, art, travel, health and lifestyle. A talented jewelry designer, she's also a yogi and a hospital volunteer with her therapy dog, Lilo, a Pomeranian.