The (ugly) bridesmaid dress

I have a good friend getting married in August, and she asked me to be a bridesmaid.  Ok…  I guess.  Well, why not?  I guess it would be cool to help a friend out.  But wait.  I forgot about the issue of bridesmaid dresses.

There are two enduring wedding clichés: All brides are beautiful, and all bridesmaid dresses are ugly, unless it’s Pippa’s…

~ Quote from

May 2006 Bridesmaid

May 2006 Bridesmaid

Well, I’ve been a bridesmaid once before, back in May 2006.  At the time, we were in Southern California, so we just drove over to the LA garment district to buy our bridesmaid dresses.  They have tons of stuff at great prices, and we were able to get a nice lavender floor-length dresses with matching shawls that looked flattering on all four girls.  I can’t remember what the price was anymore, but I’m pretty sure they were under $100 each.

February 2011 Vienna Ball

February 2011 Vienna Ball

This dress even did double-duty five years later in February 2011, when I wore the dress as an evening gown for my first (and only thus far) IAEA ball in Vienna.  Even though some of the rhinestones had fallen off one of the straps, I don’t think anyone noticed, and I was able to save a ton of money by not buying a new dress.  Woo-hoo!

I think my old frock was quite passable as a long evening dress, and I was even able to attempt a few rounds of Viennese waltz and do a mean salsa in it with some random stranger at the Hofburg Palace.

Dancing salsa at the ball!

Dancing salsa at the ball!

But now it’s 2013.  And I have to sort out the bridesmaid dress issue with three girls in the UK that I’ve never met.

The bride sent us an introductory group email with some links for dress suggestions and then left it up to us to buy our own dresses.  You would think this would be great, no?  No bridezilla with ugly dress restrictions.  We were free to choose our own dresses and select what we deemed most suitable for ourselves.

But then our own self-imposed restrictions came.  “…nothing too short please!”  “…preferably not too tight…”  “…something light, maybe strapless…”  “I am thinking of getting a little cropped cardigan…”  You can imagine the emails flying back and forth from four girls with different budgetary constraints, body types, style and color preferences.  Ack.

The first comments from the bride was to have light, strapless, short dresses that would be good for the hot summer weather.  Any color as long as it was pastel.  And something like the styles she initially sent, which were this, this, and this.

I don’t like shopping for clothes online because I can’t try them on for fit.  And sometimes the photos don’t really look like reality.  But I browsed some shops in Sihlcity last Saturday, and there didn’t seem to be a lot of choice that fit the bill.

In the meantime, the other girls were browsing sites online.  Of course, I was also looking, but for the reasons mentioned above, it was only for idea generation and not for purchasing.  

Somewhere along the line, there was an inquiry for custom-made dresses, but then we nixed the idea.  And then more online suggestions came along.  The first BHS dress ended up not having the proper sizes.  An alternative BHS dress came up, but then it turned out they don’t even ship to Switzerland.  Then the bride herself jumped in with two new suggestions, because the material of the BHS dresses looked too thick for comfort for the hot August weather.  At this point, I guess green came up as the preferred color, so she sent us this sexy sheath dress and some retro-looking thing labeled as prom dress online.

Personally, I thought this last dress looked hideous.  To me, it was a horrible vision of I Love Lucy gone wrong.   But wouldn’t you know it…  one of the other girls LOVED that dress.  Uh-oh.

In a last attempt to sway the girls back to the original summery dress idea, I sent them this link.  No go.  😦

The final choice

It was time to vote on a single dress, as the bride now decided we should all wear something similar to make the photos look better.  And ALL of the other girls voted on the icky retro dress.  Say what??  :O  I really don’t get UK fashion.  Maybe they’re really into the vintage look…

As the odd one out, I ended up throwing in the towel.  I guess uniformity is better than being the lone wolf.  After all, it’s not MY wedding.  It’s probably better just to stick with what everyone else likes and to keep the bride happy.  I was kind of hoping to get something I could re-purpose again (kind of like my last bridesmaid dress), but perhaps that was too good to hope for.  How many women out there actually re-wear their bridesmaid dresses on other occasions?  I don’t think I would ever wear this dress again.

So now that we’ve finally agreed on a dress, I’m facing a new dilemma trying to order it online.  What size am I?  According to the measurements listed on their website, I’m kind of between two sizes.  If I go up, then it’ll be a bit too big and potato sack-like.  If I go down, then I face the possibility of not being able to squeeze into the tinier version if I don’t keep my weight down.

Which should I choose?  Either way, it won’t look great on me in my current condition.  I guess I should either try to plump up a bit to fill out the larger size, or try to trim down to fit into the smaller one.  Given that I haven’t changed any of my dietary habits and my gym visits are now nil, it might be kind of difficult to do the latter.  But should I set a goal for myself to start exercising regularly?  It would probably be better for my overall health, too.

Let me think about this the next over couple of days and see if I can realistically start exercising every week.  At least the squat challenge will end next Wednesday, so that’ll free up some time to do some other fitness.  🙂

8 thoughts on “The (ugly) bridesmaid dress

  1. I guess guys are lucky in terms of wedding apparel. For groomsmen, it seems like it’s generally always a rented tux that can usually be re-ordered in a different size a few days before the wedding in case of weight gain/loss. I was the best man at my buddy’s wedding about a year and a half ago and the only apparel related issue I had to deal with was the bright pink tie to differentiate myself from the other groomsmen. Without fail, anyone that sees the tie in my closet always asks about it… Somehow, I don’t think I’ll ever be wearing it again either. 🙂

      • I uploaded a photo of the tie to my facebook page. Take a look and let me know what you think. It seems to be a mixture of bright pink, “salmon” and white stripes. Maybe I’m just boring and/or insecure, but I really don’t wear a lot of pink/salmon… 😛

        That looks like a nice, elegant gown to me. I’m sure you would look great in it. I fully admit that I know nothing about bridesmaid dresses, but it seems like the one you chose would be a lot more flattering than the “retro” one… I could understand if the bride had chosen the dress style, but otherwise I think you should wear what you want to and are comfortable in.

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