Recycling Bridesmaid & Prom Dresses

While planning wardrobe for an upcoming shoot, I’ve decided to take a look at yet another bridesmaid dress I have.  It’s one I’ll most certainly never wear again, so I might as well shoot in it, right?  Inspired by a designer from the VOP Fashion and Rock Show, Dawn at Brilliant Stranger, I’ve decided to not just accessorize the dress differently, but to revamp it with the help of scissors, my sewing machine, and perhaps some other fabric and lace remnants I have laying around.  This moment of “oooh, so that’s what I can do with it!” is the inspiration for today’s entry.

There comes a point in every woman’s life where her closet has a few dresses that just… don’t work anymore.  Often, it’s bridesmaid dresses, but for some lucky women, it’s prom dresses too (or even formal dresses from college).  Very rarely can they be worn again, and a lot of times it’s hard to part with something you spent hundreds of dollars on and wore once… and besides, then what would you do with those dyed-to-match pumps? 😉

But instead of letting them sit in your closet (or worse, the bottom of your hamper) unused, why not do something with them?  If you’re a model, it’s simple to say “shoot in it!”… but not as easy to do so.  After all, most bridesmaid dresses look like bridesmaid dresses (don’t deny it, you know what I mean!).  The easiest option (and a rapily-increasing-in-popularity one) is to simply do a Trash the Dress shoot.

Having done a few Trash the Dress sessions, I find them quite a lot of fun.  Especially when the dress is one I have no emotional attachment to 😉 I’ve worn dresses where they’re not supposed to be worn (a decrepit bridge, in the lake, around heavy land-movers), and I even cut one up for a shoot, as a play on “well you can always shorten it and wear it again!”.  I’ve included a few shots of my trash the dress sessions below, because they’re quite fun!

Past simply getting in a lake, rolling in the mud, or climbing a tree in your gown, leaving it dirty, but likely cleanable and then ready to wear again donate, you can opt to literally trash it.  Rip it, cut it, burn it (though it is not recommended to do this while actually wearing it)–go crazy!  You can also make it into something different, either by refashioning it into another wardrobe piece (a new skirt or wrap, for example), or using it for part of a costume.  The options are endless!

Here are some fun ideas for bridesmaid or prom dresses.  Some involve simply reaccesorizing, whereas other ideas involve fully reinventing the dress!

Some of my Trash the Dress shoots:

robd_ttd  RACH_TTD_0026  4802e628438f7  4a84869a60c4b

From left to right:
Rob Domaschuk, “You Can Always Cut it Short and Wear it Again” Version 3
Walter of Studio B Photography, Trash the Prom Dress
Greg Kolack, “Fearless Rachel” Out on an Unused Portion of RR Bridge
Walter of Studio B Photography, Drown the Gown