We've all been told that infamous line from "27 Dresses": "You can shorten it and wear it again." It might take more than a mere hemming, but there is some truth to that adage. Whether you were merely doing your duty as a bridesmaid or perhaps you have an actual wedding dress asking to be hacked up (think "Bridesmaids"), here are a few ideas to drastically re-do those wedding day duds:
That crazy hue was so not you. Thanks to liquid or powder dye you can transform any unflattering shade into a color you can wear and pair your favorite shoes with. Bright, bold colors are big right now, so don't be afraid to dye a white gown or light-colored dress generously. Adding effects like ombré or color blocking will make your clothes more current, unlike your typical tie-dye project from the '90s. Don't let the fabric fool you. Even silk can dye beautifully when using a Procion or acid dye.
Separates Are a Girl's Best Friend
Think outside of the dress. If the silhouette or cut of the frock did not flatter your body, alter it into separates. Maxi skirts are popular right now, so if a dress was a bit long, add a waist. If the dress had a great flounce, a circle skirt or A-line is a classic for dressier occasions. Tackle the challenge of using your dress fabric to make a pencil skirt, as those will never go out of style.
Parts of a Whole
Sometimes it's all in the details. While your dress may have been blah overall, it may also possess beautiful appliqué, beadwork or another element you actually wouldn't mind wearing again. So do just that. Cut out the fabric around the details you like and add them onto another outfit or an accessory. I've seen gorgeous headbands made from bridesmaid dress beadwork, handbags and even shoes that have dazzled from detail-oriented alterations. Since jewelry is all the rage right now, you can even buy basic jewelry-making materials to turn the desired dress component into a necklace or fabric cuff. Turning a trimming into a piece of jewelry is a great keepsake or meaningful gift as well.
Make the Cut
For a highly stylized new look, chop off more than one section. For tiers, play with chiffon or other lightweight fabrics to create layers that really move. If you're adding a slit, you can go daring (like Angelina Jolie at the Oscars) or add an underlay of another favorite fabric to really pop and peek out. Turning long sleeves into cap sleeves with a nice flutter is a great way to balance an outfit's proportion. Altering the neckline by making a sweetheart shape or adding a camisole beneath a strapless frock will make you feel more comfortable. Remember to cut your dress in a way that will show off your best assets.
A Little Something Extra
Manipulating material to make a piece that goes the extra mile can make a dress worth its cost. Consider changing out the buttons for rhinestone ones or adding rosette trim to make a dress more Spring-appropriate. Add a petticoat of tulle underneath for volume or a vintage slip for a romantic look. If your wedding wear is a solid one-piece, then there is no excuse to not infuse some fun to make it more wearable.
With Pinterest, online patterns, and downloads, there is no shortage of inspiration and tools to help make your vision a reality. Don't be afraid to get crafty and DIY a dress to suit your tastes and needs. In this economy, clothing can be a major investment, so you might as well get your money's worth.