I fucking hate bridesmaids dresses. Total waste of my hard-earned money, even if—or especially if—they’re purchased from usually reliable purveyors of good taste like Vera Wang or Neiman Marcus. Bridesmaids dresses have inspired bad movies and good websites, because frankly, their only upside is that they offer comic relief.
Now, being Southern, I’ve seen some bridesmaids’ dresses of truly spectacular multicolored fuckitude. Weddings below the Mason-Dixon are a festival of the tacky and tricked-out. Lime! Fuschia! Ruffles! Picture hats! Butt bows! We could spend hours unpacking the psychological baggage of a woman who makes her allegedly dearest friends wear such hideousness. Then New York weddings introduced me to the previously unimagined: black bridesmaid dresses. The only time you’d wear black to a Southern wedding is if you’d fucked the groom and needed a passive-aggressive way to show your sorrow that he’s off the market (so be forewarned—if any of you show up to my wedding in black, I will make assumptions). I realize that little black dresses are practically a religious obligation for New Yorkers, and black bridesmaids dresses can probably be recycled more easily, but come on, ladies! I don’t care how chic/flattering/slimming black is, it’s not a joyful color, and weddings are joyful occasions. Save the black for my funeral, or at least for my divorce party.
A good bridesmaid dress is practically an oxymoron, but I’ve had them. And needless to say, I’ve had bad ones too. For your reading pleasure, I’ve culled the tops in each category for this rant. Feel my pain, won’t you?
Bridesmaid’s Dresses: Ur Doin It Rong:
June 2006: The bride, my best friend from grad school, had a very traditional, tasteful Upper East Side wedding, which meant that all five attendants were dispatched to Vera Wang Bridesmaids on Madison Ave., where our dresses—chosen by the bride in advance—awaited us. It was a nice color—a dusty rose—but the plain, strapless, tea-length design oddly resembled the dress I wore to a freshman homecoming dance circa 1989. It wasn’t hideous, but it wasn’t flattering either, and none of us would have chosen of our own volition. Procuring said uninspired dress was a huge hassle—I had to make an appointment, drag my ass uptown to be measured at the snooty Vera boutique, then drag it up there again to be fitted. Fortunately I didn’t have to have the dress altered more than once—some of the other bridesmaids went through a couple rounds of alterations—but the design was so unforgiving that when it fit correctly across my back, the cups in the front still gaped a little. So off I went to Victoria’s Secret for chicken cutlets—the adhesive silicone gel breast-shaped thingies you suction onto your chest—which filled out the top quite admirably but added an extra $75 to the $300 I’d paid for the dress. Did I mention I would never, ever wear this dress, or the cutlets, again? Fortunately all the bridesmaids were the same age and body shape, so we all looked uniformly blah in our expensive Vera dresses. On the upside, the shoes that went with it were good: strappy Vera Wang gold sandals with not-too-high heels. I’ve gotten plenty of wear out of those. The dress, however, was given to a neighbor’s kid to play dress-up in and was last seen trailing down the hallway of my building, sweeping up dust bunnies.
Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Ur Doin It Rite:
June 2005: The bride, my college roommate, sent an e-mail to her various bridesmaids announcing that she didn’t particularly care what we wore, provided the dresses in some way matched her wedding colors: chocolate and pink. I confess, my first thought was “Brown? Your wedding color is brown?” but actually, I look good in brown, and a quick search at my favorite on-line store turned up the ideal match, a chocolate chiffon Shelly Segal cocktail dress with an appliqué of pink chiffon flowers. Perfection! Sure, the wedding party wound up wearing a lot of different variations on the chocolate and pink theme, but given that we were of wildly diverse ages, races and body types, some variety was infinitely preferable to trying to stuff us all into the same color and design. Plus, we were happy. In fact, I was so happy with my lovely dress that I forgave the bride for making me accessorize it with a parasol (to be fair, it was not a frilly parasol from the Scarlett O’Hara collection but a pretty Chinese paper one, and it definitely came in handy during a sunny outdoor wedding). I wore that dress to a later wedding, where I met my older lover, and have trotted it out on several occasions since.
Got a bridesmaid dress horror story? Or a happy one? I know you do. Plz to share in the comments…