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I Wore My Old Bridesmaid Dresses IRL Because Brides Said I'd Be Able To

Almost every time I've been a bridesmaid, I was told that I could always wear my expensive bridesmaid dress again in the future.

The first time I heard that sentence, I believed it. I thought, maybe I would find another opportunity to wear it.

But then, I heard it three, four and seven more times, and soon enough, all my other bridesmaid dresses were crumpled up in the back of my closest.

It was then I realized, there would never be a time or a place to re-wear these dresses again.

How To Re-Wear Your Bridesmaid Dress

The worst part is, I've been a bridesmaid so many times for friends and work, that I've accumulated more bridesmaid dresses than Katherine Heigl in “27 Dresses.”

I put a price tag on each dress and calculated how much I spent on all of this polyester and sequins, and the grand total was 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.

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.

So, 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 working 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.

jen glantz on the elliptical in a bridesmaid dress

Jen Glantz

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 grab 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.

girl wearing blush bridesmaid dress riding bicycle

Jen Glantz


Lifting weights

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.

girl wearing a blue bridesmaid dress lifting weights at gym

Jen Glantz


The library

The librarian wouldn't stop staring at me, as if I was the oddest person to walk into the library at 2 pm 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.

girl in grey dress reading book in library

Jen Glantz


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.

girl hailing a cab in a purple dress in new york city

Jen Glantz


Food shopping

Shockingly, nobody cared I was wearing a dress while food shopping.

I blended in well, and I'm thinking that was because nobody cares about anything in Trader Joes except how amazing Trader Joes is. It's like Kanye shopping in his own closet.

girl shopping for groceries in a grey dress

Jen Glantz


Eating pizza

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.

girl eating pizza while wearing a purple dress

Jen Glantz


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 people looked at me like I was the oddest thing underground that afternoon.

Really? 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.

girl trying to get into the subway while wearing a dark purple dress

Jen Glantz

girl sitting on the subway in new york city in a purple dress

Jen Glantz

girl standing in subway in purple dress

Jen Glantz


Grand Central Station

One guy hit on me.

Ah, Grand Central, the place of romance.

girl standing in grand central station in a purple dress

Jen Glantz

girl standing in grand central station in a purple dress

Jen Glantz


Times Square

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.

girl standing in time square while wearing purple dress

Jen Glantz

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. 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.

For more funny bridesmaid stories, check out Jen Glantz's new book, Always a Bridesmaid (For Hire).

How To Re-Wear Your Bridesmaid Dress

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Jen Glantz

Staff Writer

Jen Glantz is the founder of Bridesmaid for Hire and the author of the new book, "Always a Bridesmaid (For Hire): Stories on Growing Up, Finding Love, and Walking Down the Aisle for Complete Strangers."
Jen Glantz is the founder of Bridesmaid for Hire and the author of the new book, "Always a Bridesmaid (For Hire): Stories on Growing Up, Finding Love, and Walking Down the Aisle for Complete Strangers."

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