Misfortune = Potential: My Bridesmaid's Dress
According to my recent experience/research it’s become evident that our generation is no longer entranced by the traditional 'June wedding' dream. No, gone are the days of Summer being jam-packed with weddings to attend; it’s all moving to the fall. Fall is the new bridal season. I nearly have a wedding every single weekend this October and I’m not mad about it. Weddings are fun, they’re events where you either get to know the couple better or enjoy and celebrate the future life and union you get to be a part of with them. Weddings are the best!
One of these October weddings is for our very own Chloe Jew. Even if you don’t know her, you know her because well, she made NEO the brand it is today. She made the logo, brand colors, our cool girls graphic and of course, our incredible, amazing shop mural you’ve sneaked peeks of on our Instagram!
I have the honor of standing up with her alongside a group of tried and true lady friends on her very special day. I knew from the very beginning that I wanted to upcycle my bridesmaid dress and the very instant I received the Pinterest board with the dress inspo, colors and silhouettes, I was off to the races. At the time a group of us were in Durango and was elated when everyone was super down to go thrifting with me. I was on the hunt for a dress that would match Chloe’s color scheme dream and….
I didn’t find it. There was no long, flowy dress in the beautiful rust and earthy tones she imagined. But that didn’t stop me. I found a dress. Not a terrible one but not a terribly great one, at least not for long...
This was it. A white, broomstick-rung skirted dress complete with a mesh vest and shoulder pads. I showed it to my thrifting crew and they were confused but also knew that where they saw misfortune I saw potential.
What I saw was this: a skirt with a boho vibe, a vest that could easily be removed and used later, and a basic bodice that could easily be one of 13 different necklines with a few pins and stitches. And of course, the dress was white! If by now, the phrase Tabula Rasa isn’t screaming through your brain, it should be. This was a major blank slate.
The first step, was dying it. I mixed a very special and specific color formula to make a dark rusty red pepper colored dye and let the fabric soak it all up.
Here’s what it looked like afterwards. As you can see, the dye bath did shrink it considerably because it is a synthetic material blend which required that I keep the water very hot.
Next, I cut the chaff. In other words, goodbye vest and shoulder pads, I’m sure we’ll see you soon!
It took a lot of trying on and imagination to get to this final product. In the end, I decided to open up the neckline and the sides of the dress, I shortened the sleeves but added a fluttered sleeve cap as well as a side slit in the skirt for optimal flowy-ness. I must say, I’m pretty happy with the turnout but what really matters is that the bride was as well!