PHOTO: JEN GLANTZ
The first time I heard it, I believed it. By the time the seventh bridesmaid dress joined the six others crushed into the back of my closet, I knew the truth: There would never be a time or a place to re-wear these dresses again.
The worst part is, the lie continues. I’ve been a bridesmaid so many times that I’ve accumulated more dresses than Katherine Heigl in 27 Dresses.
I put a price tag on each dress and calculated how much I've spent on all of this polyester and sequins, and the grand total is more than $2,000. That’s a lot of money, especially for somebody whose most expensive top in her closet is $15 from the clearance rack at TJ Maxx.
As I’m getting ready to do my spring cleaning this year, tossing out everything that doesn’t fit me, excite me or belong to me (like the stuff ex-boyfriends left behind), I can’t seem to find it in me to give all my dresses away—especially when I own more bridesmaid dresses than any other type of clothing.
Social media rules our lives. We live to post and we post so that people have this impression of how we live. But it's so heavily filtered and time consuming. I spent years building my Instagram only to wake up one morning and have it all erased. Stolen. Deleted. By a person who managed to hack my account, change my username and email, and delete all my photos. Taking my loyal followers as their own. Life is never fair. But I am a strong believer that the world shakes you at a very specific time for a very specific reason and perhaps right now that is so I can be honest with you about who I really am and what my life is really like. So - stay tuned. I am starting over. From scratch. Thank you for re-following my adventure ❤ #hustle#fighton #nevergiveup #workharder#forareason
Since I don’t get invited to galas, balls or red carpet events, where I would blend in with any bridesmaid dress, wearing them to my neighborhood bodega, gym and other local spots would feel odd.
Nevertheless, I decided to spend one whole day re-wearing my bridesmaid dresses around New York City, doing everyday things I normally do like go to the gym and grocery shopping.
My goal for doing this was simple: I wanted to see if getting around in these dresses would be easy—if it would be annoying to go about my day-to-day life wearing a long polyester gown or if I wouldn’t notice at all.
I also wanted to see if people in NYC would care that I was walking around in a bridesmaid dress—or if anyone would stop me, high-five me and tell me that they wish they had places to wear their old bridesmaid dresses to as well.
Using the elliptical
Once I got past the eye bulges from the lady at my gym’s front desk, it became a serious safety hazard to work out in a bridesmaid dress.
As I moved back and forth on the elliptical, my knees kept banging against the cheap polyester fabric. It made working out more complicated than ever.
With every stride on the elliptical, I made a tiny rip in the dress because my shoes would get stuck on the ends of the dress and the dress would get stuck in the elliptical.
If I had to wear a bridesmaid dress every time I worked out, I probably would work out less than I already do—which I didn’t think was possible.
There was also a guy lifting weights behind me, probably wondering if wearing a bridesmaid dress to the gym was a new fitness craze or if I was just crazy. His reaction made me want to workout even more in the dress, as an attempt to show him that a badass bridesmaid can do anything she wants. It didn’t work.
Riding a Citi Bike
It was hard enough riding with snow on the ground, but getting my bridesmaid dress stuck in the Citi Bike I grabbed outside my apartment made me realize that I can’t ride far. My health insurance isn’t good enough to cover the hospital bill for a broken bone.
I rode for a good five minutes before realizing I was better off finishing this experiment on foot. Shockingly, no one said anything to me about how odd I looked riding in a bridesmaid dress. Cars honked at me a lot—not in a fun way, but in a “you are holding up traffic trying to pedal in a dress” kind of way.
It was pretty enjoyable wearing a bridesmaid dress while lifting two-pound weights. That’s probably because in this moment, as I looked at myself lifting weights in a dress I walked down the aisle in while working a wedding in Michigan, I realized how funny I looked. I guess it doesn’t matter actually what you wear when you are lifting two-pound weights.
The librarian wouldn’t stop staring at me as if I was the oddest person to walk into the library at 2 p.m. on a Monday.
There were so many people in the library sleeping, building toilet paper forts and pacing back and forth, yet I was the weirdest person because of my grey polyester attire.
I felt like I wanted to go home and change.
Hailing a cab
No cab would pick me up. Maybe they thought I was doing some kind of drunken walk of shame at noon on a Tuesday? All I have to say is, thank God for Uber.
Though after I changed bridesmaid dresses in the backseat (my current one was making me too sweaty, so it was time for a new one), my passenger rating went from 4.7 stars to 3.9. It was probably because my strapless bra flung off and hit the back of the driver’s head while I was changing.
The driver chose not to acknowledge this. I gave him an extra dollar for a tip at the end of the ride.
Shockingly, nobody cared that I was wearing a dress while food shopping. I blended in well. I think it was because nobody cares about anything in Trader Joes except how amazing Trader Joes is. It’s like Kanye shopping his own closet.
I was so happy to be eating pizza, I forgot I was wearing a bridesmaid dress. Also, I forgot to care what people thought about me wearing a bridesmaid dress in a pizza place.
Yes, a guy was staring at me, but that’s nothing new. I have a tendency to eat my pizza fast and sloppy.
Riding the subway
Subways in NYC are disgusting.
They usually smell like dry pee and expired trash and have puddles of dirty water after a rain or snow storm and lots of potentially gross things you can step on that should be in the trash, like diapers or someone’s leftover dish of chicken parmesan.
And still, people looked at me like I was the oddest thing underground that afternoon.
There were rats running by and a person on stilts, yet I was stared at for wearing a bridesmaid dress. I don’t know why.
Grand Central Station
One guy hit on me.
Ah, Grand Central, the place of romance.
Wearing my bridesmaid dress in Times Square and having Elmo stare at me was the highlight of my day.
I hope those people start catching onto the trend and choose to wear old bridesmaid dresses over their Elmo costumes.
All in all, I learned these dresses are best left in the back of my closet or sent for donation. While wearing them around town, I felt like it was even harder to move around in a city where if you aren’t walking fast enough, you are elbowed off the curb.
Nobody high-fived me in praise that I was re-wearing my bridesmaid dresses and I honestly felt like I was damaging the most expensive items I own by wearing them around a dirty New York City.
Next time a bride promises you’ll wear your bridesmaid dress again, roll your eyes, drop the dress and back away slowly toward the exit sign—and do yourself a big favor and fight for your right to party in a dress you pick out, feel comfortable in and feel so excited about wearing again.
This article was originally published on Elite Daily and has been republished with the author's permission. You can read the original piece here.
Jen Glantz is the brains behind the business, Bridesmaid for Hire; the heart behind the blog, The Things I Learned From; and the main character inside of the Amazon-best-selling book, All My Friends are Engaged. Her new book, Always a Bridesmaid for Hire, published by Simon and Schuster, is available now.