Queen Victoria in the wedding gown that made white
the new standard color for brides.
Victoria, 50 years later, reusing parts of her wedding gown for her
PHOTOGRAPHER John Michaels
MODEL Caroline Casey
DRESS found decaying on a hanger in a Brooklyn brownstone after the former tenant died.
For millions of women around the world, their wedding day is one of the most significant of their lives. This makes the wedding dress potentially the most obsessed-over garment that a woman will ever wear. But why is it that we ladies spend so much time dreaming up a dress that we most likely will wear only once? Historically, women have often designed their wedding gowns to be worn again as their Sunday best, or as a party dress after the fact. Even Queen Victoria wore the lace over-skirt of her wedding gown to her Diamond Jubilee Celebrations 50 years after her wedding. Today's woman has simply lost the foresight to design wearability into her dress.
But, if you really love your wedding dress, why shouldn't you be able to enjoy wearing it again, instead of watching it decay in your closet? Let's start by getting past the concept that wearing a gown warrants an extremely formal event. If Ginger Rogers could wear floor length ball gowns nightly as if she slept in them (which she likely did), then we have every reason to go out in a gown on a date Friday night. Just clue your husband in so he can make the appropriate dinner arrangements for your attire.
The brides-to-be out there might want to think ahead and try to find a dress that is timeless. I suggest you ignore whatever dress you saw such-and-such wearing in the tabloids. If it's in the tabloids, that dress is yesterday's news! First and foremost, pick a dress that is flattering to your figure, in a color that complements your hair and skin, in a classic fabric that you love enough to want to wear it again.
Let's consider the potential of altering your dress. For instance, I personally would take the dress shown here and dye it a deep indigo blue. After that, it's no longer a wedding dress, but it's practically Dior! And as an indigo blue dress, you have less to fear when your train gets dirty after an evening of dusting the floors. Another option would be altering the dress. If you can take another dress and combine the two, a la Victoria, you can come up with something new, and no one will be the wiser.
The last part may be the hardest for a sentimentalist. Many brides can't bring themselves to make alterations to their dress after the wedding, but, ironically, these are the women who most likely wish to wear it again. While, I applaud the originality behind the recent idea of throwing a Wedding Dress Ball, let's face it ladies, there's something slightly twisted about wanting to recreate a single moment in our lives over and over again. Think of Mrs. Havisham. This is the reason it's socially frowned upon in the first place.
If we are fabulous enough to desire a regular appearance of Royalty, what's holding us back? I hope this gave you Brides out there some great ideas. Tune in for my next post, were we tackle the possibility of making your own dress, easily, with details that speak to you. Viewers, please share any stories you have about how you revamped your wedding dress to be worn again! We need all the inspiration you have to offer!