You've overheard the conversations - and participated in them, no doubt - about bridesmaids dresses. Over the decades, dresses have gone from horrible to truly chic, but they are still "of a kind." When will you wear it again? What other events are appropriate? How do I recoup my money? Well, this is not an exhaustive list, but you are not stuck, we promise.
Consign or Sell It
It's that simple. Auction sites like eBay are perfect, but online is certainly the place to start. Sell it to someone who needs a prom gown, event or galla gown or collects them. Consignment shops will also take it off your hands and send you a percentage of the profits when it sells. Might as well get back a little for giving it up.
Cut it in Half
We are not nuts. Depending on the dress, a tailor can create two separate pieces for you to wear and mix into your wardrobe. Does the dress have a handkerchief hemline? Make a new skirt from the waist down. Before deciding that the gown is a goner, see what can be done to create either a top, a bottom or both.
More often than not, longer bridesmaids' gowns are hemmed to create a more casual version of the original design, and it makes sense. Rarely will you need a dress that goes all the way to the floor, but cut to a shorter, cocktail length can make it perfectly new.
Accessorize or Dye It
Once you've modified your gown (and even before) think of adding an embellishment to the neck, waist, or hemline or dress it up or down with non-wedding-esque jewelry and you'll look amazing. If it's a light color that can be dyed, go for it. Swap blush for black. When people ask you where you got it, you can just turn on your heel, shrug and wink.
There are girls in your community who need gowns. Whether it's for a dinner, another wedding, a prom, consider giving it to a non-profit or charitable organization. They can use it or sell it to add to their coffers.
Finally, you can always have it professionally cleaned and wrapped for storage. Some gowns are timeless and other trends come back into fashion later. Hanging onto a gown for these reasons can be a very smart move and return on your investment.
Whatever you do, don't assume that your bridesmaid's dress has only one life. That's not always the case. Be creative!