Sunday, March 21, 2010

Bridesmaid dresses: hit or miss

Sam Karwin in her pink bridesmaid dress walking down the aisle
Sam Karwin in her bridesmaid dress
By Jovana Rizzo

A bride may think her wedding day look has to be flawless, but bridesmaids don’t always get the same consideration. Bridesmaids have mixed luck when it comes to their dresses -- some end up in the back of closets never to be seen again, while others have been successfully incorporated into daily wardrobes.

Bridesmaid Samantha Karwin, 23, transformed her dark pink gown into a casual short frock by chopping almost three feet off the bottom of the dress.

“After the wedding, I didn't think I would ever have a use for the dress, as it was so ‘bridesmaidy,’” Karwin said.

Although she didn’t expect to wear it again, Karwin kept the dress for sentimental value. Months later, she was invited to a breast cancer fundraiser, where the theme was wearing pink, and her mother suggested shortening the dress to reuse it instead of buying a new one. It was a successful transformation, and only set her back $12 for the alteration (plus the initial $135 for the dress).

One bridesmaid did not have the same luck. The 22-year-old bridesmaid, who declined to be named because she didn’t want to offend the bride, thought the bride’s choice of a long, pale-pink Grecian dress was “absolutely hideous,” and had no plans for it to ever see the light of day again.

“As soon as I got into my apartment, I took the shopping bag with the [bridesmaid] dress and shoes and put them directly into my garbage without any hesitation,” she said.

Bridesmaid Jacey Powers, 23, has been in three weddings, with varying results on the dresses. Like a bridesmaid Goldilocks, Powers’ first dress was too formal, the second too unflattering, but the third was just right. Powers said the black strapless dress looked good on every bridesmaid, despite the different body types, and came with straps that could be attached. The bride even pointed out that the dress could easily be shortened. Powers hasn’t made the alteration yet, but hopes to turn it into a versatile little black dress.

“It looked great on all the girls, and if it were shorter, it could be used for everything from going to Carnegie Hall to going to a cocktail party,” Powers said.

Although the other two dresses are tucked away in a closet at her parents’ house, Powers said she was never angry about buying the dresses, although she knew she would never wear them again.

“I agreed to be a bridesmaid. I knew the costs, and I had a wonderful time standing up for each woman and I would do it again,” she said, “But when I think about the hundreds of dollars I spent on dresses, shoes, shower gifts, wedding gifts, plane tickets, bachelorette parties -- I suppose having dresses I would wear again would have been nice.”

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