Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Always a Bridesmaid...


Okay so I actually got married before most of my girlfriends, so the old adage doesn't really apply to me. But, I do find myself yet again a bridesmaid -- only this time it's for my younger sister and this time I'm the maid...okay fine, matron...of honor. The best part of being the matron of honor is that I will actually have some serious input on what dress I'll be required to wear down the aisle.

As a first time matron of honor, this will be a nice change of pace. For the women in my life, I have gladly donned everything from a $40 Hawaiian print sundress (in the bride's defense, the wedding was on the beach in Mexico) to a $400 floor length ball gown skirt in goldenrod with a white taffeta wrap shirt (this was back in 2002 when separates were all the rage). Needless to say, while no one has (thankfully) asked me to wear something completely objectionable, I'd be lying to say that I loved each and every dress I've worn in the name of standing by a dear friend or relative on her Big Day.

This time though, I'm getting to choose what I wear (with the bride's input, of course) and I'm absolutely loving Vera Wang's Bridesmaid Collection. Of course, I realize this isn't particularly newsworthy considering the fact that even those who have only a cursory knowledge of bridal couture know that Ms. Wang has ruled the aisle for years. In fact, I think it'd be a far statement to say that Vera -- and to a growing extent Monique Lhuillier -- is the final word in bridal fashion. That said, it's been a few years since I looked at bridesmaid dresses and I'm just now getting up to speed.

What I love about these dresses though is that they don't scream bridesmaid. They're not the satin A-line strapless dress worn by countless maids across the country. Of course, I'll be the first to admit that my bridesmaids all wore satin A-line strapless dresses in -- can you guess? Navy! The end result was lovely, if not a little boring.

The dress above (called Erin) is my favorite -- I absolutely love the combination of the amethyst and plum. Depending on the dress Jane goes with, I may be able to talk my way into this one.

All of the styles come in at least several different color choices (and many come in nearly a dozen). All the dresses shown here are in various shades of blue and purple because that's what my sister is looking at in terms of colors.

Prices are also not unreasonable, especially considering what I've been asked to spend on far less appealing dresses. In fact, most of the dresses are under $250, with many of the shorter styles $200 or less. Even better, I honestly -- and I swear I'm not just saying this -- think that a lot of these shorter styles would easily work as cocktail dresses. None of this "if you cut it short you could TOTALLY wear this silk taffeta pink dress again" b.s., these dresses are nearly indistinguishable from the after 5 dresses you'd find at any good department store.

So tell me, what was the worst bridesmaid dress you've ever had to wear? Do you keep your dresses after the Big Day or toss them? ...And have you ever actually worn one again?

17 comments:

Alicia said...

Peach drop waist, off the shoulder ruffles. I called it my Southern nightmare. The bridesmais actually all brought extra clothes to the recpetion & when the bride was correctly inebriated we changed.
It went to Goodwill the day after the wedding.
I loved my Vera Wang bridesmaid dress but I donated it to the Glass Slipper Project in Chicago. They take the dresses & give them to low income girls for prom.

Things That Inspire said...

I have been in a few weddings, and no, I have never worn my bridesmaid dresses again! One of them I felt sure I would be able to use again; I was the matron of honor for my sister's wedding, and I was the only attendant, so I got to pick out anything I wanted - literally, I was given carte blanche on color and style. So, I picked a Nicole Miller gown in a beautiful shade of purple gray, A line although not strapless. Occasionally when I have a black tie occasion, I will look at the dress longingly, but ultimately decide that it looks too much like a bridesmaid dress to trot it out. Maybe I should get it shortened and see what I think of it.

I love these Vera Wang dresses!

pk said...

I agree, these dresses are beautiful! I must admit I've never worn a bridesmaid's dress again. I've waited awhile before getting rid of them, but never worn them.

Kellie Collis said...

Oh i do love a good bow!!! x

Liz @ It's Great To Be Home said...

The last cocktail dress with the pleating is my favorite!! Um, I totally inflicted satin A-line strapless dresses on my bridesmaids, and luckily all of them still talk to me. I must admit, I still think they looked fab. :) Can't wait to see what you and your sister wind up picking!!

Christy said...

I have actually worn one again! It was a purple number, that was long when I wore it in the wedding. And then get this, (this was in the early 90s so forgive me!), I had it cut short in the front, but kept it long in the back, and I wore it to a high school dance. HAHAHA! I did, seriously!

I love all those looks you posted above, and with your height, you'll look elegant in any of them - long or short! I can't wait to see what you end up wearing!

Style Redux 2 said...

I didn't have bridesmaids at my wedding and was never a bridesmaid. I like J.Crew wedding gowns and bridesmaids dresses. Very simple and elegant. But I had my dress custom made-I hate 99% of ready made gowns.

Maple said...

Skin tight, assymettrical one sleeved hot pink spandex and sparkle atrocity from 5-7-9. Seriously. And I was nowhere near a 9 at the time. Had to go on Atkins for months to be able to show my face in it.

We had looked at Vera Wang dresses at Louise Blum for my wedding, and I loved the patterns and colors, but the styles that season weren't very flattering on. You'll have to let me know if you have better luck. I ended up picking dresses from J Crew and were really happy with the styles, colors and prices.

MyLittleHappyPlace said...

The first dress is killer.

Dumbwit Tellher ♥ said...

All of your choices are lovely. The Erin dress has to be my favorite. I am also a fan of Reem Acra designs. I have only been a bridesmaid twice & how horrible is it I cannot remember what I wore? I just know I never wore either ever again! I think JCrew has done an excellent job with bridal attire; bringing great fashion/colors/cuts and prices. What ever you two girls pick will be lovely!

Laura@JourneyChic said...

Hmm...I think I'm a fan of dress #4. Never been a bridesmaid, but so wish I'd gone with J.Crew dresses for my girls. Yes, they were a bit more expensive than what we ended up with, but at least they'd be worn again. Gotta love hindsight!

Cristin said...

I love the Erin dress too. I've been in several weddings and can't recall ever wearing one of the dresses a second time. Oh well.

I'm with Laura - JCrew has some cute ones too.

xo,
cristin

Kara said...

I don't know that I had a bad dress. I haven't really had a need to wear them again although I still have the one from my sister's wedding. Classic black long dress - it's timeless.

As for dresses now - I totally agree that JCrew has the best!

Sarah Klassen said...

Averill, the "Erin" dress is my favorite for certain! I just think that the neckline is so elegant and lovely. The colors and textures are divine together, also, and I know you could wear this dress again. I'm also betting that you have some amazing accessories that could work perfectly with it...

I'm will you, it's this one all the way!

Christy said...

OK - Cousin chimming in on this...I love the plum colors but your sister is getting married in May and not November...not sure I like plum for the season, but I love,love,love the short dresses. Remember you can not ever buy a bridesmaids dress thinking you will wear it again...in fact I think you are not supposed to do anything but make the bride look better!!

Lauren said...

Thanks for the clarification that my wedding was on a beach, hence the hawaiian dress ;). While I admit that I have never worn a bridesmaid dress after the wedding. However, I think that is partially because all the weddings I have been in have been formal, requiring the black-tie dresses, and I really never have the opportunity to do black-tie.

I really like the "Erin" dress as well - it would look great on you!

Katie said...

Worst dress: iridescent apricot (it changed from orange to pink depending on the light) with white trim, two sizes too large.

Jumping on the band wagon, I also think the Erin dress would look terrific on you.

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