Sure, the bestie and her boo-to-be have it tough with all the planning and preparation that goes into pulling off a flawless wedding, but on the style front, it’s you, as a bridesmaid, that has the biggest challenge of them all lying ahead. You guessed it: What the heck to do with your beloved (or not so much) bridesmaid dress after the last drop of Champagne has been poured and the crowds have all gone home. Closet crisis doesn’t even begin to cover it. Because let’s be real, getting the most out of a formal party dress isn’t exactly straightforward. But there’s good news: It is possible, and we’re going to take you step by step through the process. We headed to Instagram to scope out cutting-edge ensembles that can easily transform your frock into street-style gold. The best part? You can do it with the fall basics and trend-right essentials you have lying around in your closet. Scroll on, then head to your closet stat.
1. Jarlo Bow Back Midi Dress ($148): While this sultry halter-neck dress is undeniably DDG (this isn’t your average bridesmaid dress, ladies), it lacks the versatility of a classic LBD. On the big day, play it cool with elegant ankle-strap heels, sleek drop earrings and a bold red pout, then dial it down with low-key off-duty essentials.
The monochromatic trend isn’t just reserved for shades of white, black and beige. Take cues from Soraya Bakhtiar and go bold, doubling up on high-octane hues to add instant street-style appeal to an otherwise formal ensemble. To take a bridesmaid dress down to everyday levels, layer it under an oversized sweatshirt, then proceed to pair with combat boots and don’t-care hair. Want to make it feel on-the-job ready? Opt for a boxy turtleneck sweater instead and swap out Doc Martens for suede block heels.
2. Donna Morgan Sequined Alana Dress ($290): Hello, gorgeous! This sequin-studded dress is the exception to the ugly bridesmaid dress rule with its chic sheath silhouette, high neckline and rose gold shimmer. It’s the holy grail as far as wedding day duds are concerned. And not to worry — those sequins have serious daytime potential.
Thanks to the runway and fashionable femmes like Natalie Lim Suarez, daytime metallics and before-dark shimmer are officially a thing. First things first: Take your dress to the tailor and have it hemmed to a midi length for added #OOTD potential. Proceed to layer it under a mock-neck tee and menswear-inspired blazer for a working girl-approved getup. Tack on block-heel Chelsea boots and French girl-esque add-ons (think: vintage bag, streamlined sunnies and a perfectly tied scarf) FTW.
3. Ranna Gill Bordona Dress ($178): It doesn’t get much more classic than a chiffon midi dress. And if you’re lucky enough to score one in a wear-with-everything hue (and even if you’re not), the post-festivity styling options are endless. *fist pump*
Repeat after us: The dress-over-pants trend is your friend. Dial down the stuffy factory on a bridesmaid dress by playing the layering game like a pro. Team a sleeveless style with a turtleneck tissue tee, cropped high-waist denim and statement ankle boots for a not-your-average-date-night ensemble. Bonus points for a leather jacket and sleek modern hoops.
4. C/meo Collective Hold On Dress ($175): Bold color throwing you for a loop? As long as you have a v-shaped neckline and a sleeveless silhouette on your side, there’s nothing to fear. Can you say prime layering piece?
Don’t let the WTF of your bridesmaid dress send you running for the hills. Flex a little sartorial muscle by doing the unexpected and rockin’ it with a band tee, oversized denim jacket and heels for an edgy look with Instababe appeal that’ll send tongues wagging.
5. Keepsake Begin Again Dress ($260): Fun and flirty A-line dresses and the like pack way more re-wear potential than their longline counterparts. But making them feel daytime ready can still be a struggle. The solution? Styling them alongside sophisticated feminine accessories and separates.
Do like Paola Alberdi and make a twirl-worthy dress feel on-the-job ready with a buttoned-up button-down, elegant drop earrings and a smart pair of mules. Round it out with a sleek half-up ‘do, fresh-faced makeup and a structured top handle bag to take the office by storm.
6. ASOS Deep Plunge Maxi Dress ($58): Sure, short dresses are easier to remix, but don’t discount an ethereal maxi style just yet. This gorgeous berry hue is too good to keep holed up in the closet! Rock that long hemline for a swanky networking event or meeting your S.O.’s ‘rents.
Tamu McPherson had the right idea with this color block combo. While the force behind All the Pretty Birds is doing the separates thing, you can totally snag a similar look by layering a cropped turtleneck or fuzzy sweater over a sweeping maxi dress. The only thing missing? A minimalist collar necklace, a streamlined clutch and a pair of pointed-toe booties. #nailed it
7. Rachel Antonoff Red Rose Dress ($298): Swoon. Vibrant prints are a welcome addition to the bridesmaid scene, and this red rose stunner is no exception. While it strays toward the preppy side of the spectrum, a bit of careful styling can take it straight into grunge-era glory.
Didn’t see this coming, now didja? Tap into your inner ’90s goddess to usher a sticky-sweet frock into cool-girl territory. What you’ll need: an oversized flannel shirt, lace-up ankle boots and a shearling jacket. And while you’re at it, toss in a leather backpack and bold lipstick for good measure.
8. Topshop Triangle Neck Geo Lace Midi Dress ($130): We can’t sing the midi dress’s praises enough. The Goldilocks length makes it perfect for rockin’ at the office or keepin’ it classy after hours. You just can’t knock it — especially when black lace is involved.
Blazers and bluchers to the rescue! Your bridesmaid dress is about to become your newest secret weapon in terms of desk-to-dinner dressing. The dress itself (along with a pair of statement earrings) holds it down in party-ready territory, while a longline blazer and boy-meets-girl kicks bring plenty of boss lady potential to the table. Add a metallic smokey eye to the mix after you clock out and get ready to impress your crew with your unparalleled style ingenuity.
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