Accessorize to Give New Life to Old Dresses
Wedding season is upon us, ladies. Your fridge door is crowded with save-the-date cards and fancy invitations to the dozens of spring and summer weddings of your friends and relatives.
Your first thought? “What will I wear?”
It’s actually a more serious question that it seems – with each new nuptial you attend, you have to plan out a dress, a purse, jewelry, and shoes that all look great together and make you feel gorgeous. And each of these ensembles comes with a pretty hefty price tag.
What stops you from befriending the local dry cleaner and wearing the same getup to every wedding are the overlapping guest lists and the corresponding fear that your repeat outfit will be the stuff of catty restroom chatter.
This wedding season, instead of dropping half of your paycheck on a new dress for every event, find fun ways to give a previously-worn frock new life.
We all have those beloved dresses that fit us like a glove – the problem is that we can’t get away with wearing them even one more time without people noticing. This is where your local tailor steps in and gives your old dress the Cinderella treatment.
A great tailor can transform your dress in a way that leaves all the things you love intact. Your options here are endless, but it really depends on the dress. Whatever you do, find a seamstress you can trust by checking out online reviews or seeking referrals from friends; you don’t want to put your favorite frock in the hands of just anyone.
Here are a few examples of transformative alterations:
• Have a long dress shortened
• Add cute cap sleeves to a sleeveless dress
• Add pretty straps to a strapless gown
• Remove sleeves/straps to create a strapless look
• Add a fun peplum
• Change out the bodice or skirt with new fabric
• For the brave, have a dress dyed a new color
Accessory to the Dress
Really, a dress is just the start of a special occasion look. Accessories can make two women wearing identical dresses look very different. They can change the overall effect of a dress to the extent that no one will notice that the dress you have on at Cousin Ellen’s wedding is the same one you wore to Uncle Tim’s wedding a month ago.
If you know from the start that you will be repurposing a dress several times, it’s best to go with a solid color as opposed to a print – this will make it much easier to play with bold accessories. The first step is to decide on a color scheme. Be brave; choose a less common color combo for a look that will definitely make people forget that they’ve seen that dress before. If you have, for example, a dove grey dress, try all sunny yellow accents for one wedding, and then white and lavender accessories for the next one. The focus will be on your fabulous earrings, shoes, belt and purse rather than your repeat dress.
Hair & Makeup
Playing with your own natural beauty is one of the best ways to change your style. A new hair and makeup look can lend the same dress very different feels. But don’t feel like you have to spend big bucks at the salon – thanks to the hundreds of helpful hair and makeup tutorials available online, you can get a pro look at home if you’re willing to put in a bit of time and effort.
When trying to alter the appearance of your outfit, choose completely opposite hair and makeup. The first time you wear the dress, leave your hair down in loose beach waves and go for a soft, angelic look on your face. When you repeat the dress, try an elegant updo with a smoky eye and a sexy red lip. These styles are so different that no one will remember that the dress is the same.
Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone when it comes to repurposing a great frock. Try adding new, spotlight-grabbing components that you haven’t worn before. For example, take a page out of the young royals’ fashion playbook and explore the world of formal hats and fascinators, which have made a huge return to women’s fashion in recent years.
There’s such a huge range of options available that even the most conservative fashionistas can find a suitably subtle headpiece. But, if you like making a statement with your look, opt for a larger design that adds volume and interest to your look. Just note that the larger the hat or fascinator, the more subtle your other accessories should be. The last thing you want is for your beautiful accent pieces to be competing with one another.
If Kate Middleton can rock the same dress to multiple very public events, you can surely get away with wearing the same thing to a couple of weddings this spring and summer. And, let’s be honest, finding the right accessories is the fun part anyway.
Just make sure that you’re comfortable and feel great in whatever variation of the look that you choose. If you feel beautiful and exude confidence, no one will ever question your fashion sense.
Author Bio: Nicole Betti is the owner of Gold Coast Couture, an online shop that specializes in high-end, formal accessories from a wide array of European designers. Nicole’s main passions are wedding hats & fascinators, which inspired her to carry exclusive collections that are rarely available in the U.S. For more information, visit http://www.goldcoastcouture.com/ or connect with Nicole on Google+!