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What To Do With a Ball Gown (or Bridesmaid Dress) You’ll Only Wear Once

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Badgley Mischka Glitz Gown

I’m so excited for Megan that she gets to attend one of President Obama’s inauguration balls this evening! This isn’t a political post – I genuinely think it would be magical to attend an inauguration ball, regardless of the president being fêted. Megan has posted a bit on Twitter and Facebook about her search for the perfect dress, and I, of course, loved the Badgley Mischka Glitz Glam Dress above! Megan picked up two different dresses from Rent the Runway to try out for the occasion, and I’m so excited to see her final choice.

While the other dress – the Badgley Mischka Red Carpet Beauty Gown – was stunning as well, my reasoning for choosing the all-sparkles gown was pointing out that there are only so many opportunities you get to wear a ball gown of that caliber in a lifetime. If ever.

I woke up in the middle of the night last night thinking about ball gowns. I’ve never had the opportunity to buy (or rent) one, though I have had a couple of one-time-wear only bridesmaids dresses, and I think they fall into similar territory, as in they’re both overly fancy gowns that you normally can’t wear too many places. I laid awake last night and came up with a list of what to do with a ball gown you’ll only wear once.

Here’s what I came up with:

1. If Megan had purchased the gown above, I would suggest that she take it to a tailor and have it shortened. While there are really only so many times you can wear a floor-length glitter gown, a cocktail length dress can be worn to nights on the town, girls nights, and holiday parties for years to come. I shortened one of my old bridesmaids dresses and wore it a couple of years later when I had to chaperone a prom.


Friends Wedding Dress Episode

2. The Friends Wedding Dress Episode will forever be one of my favorite episodes of TV. You could have a girls night where everyone has to wear a ball gown, old bridesmaid dress, or even their wedding dress and try to recreate this fab episode.

Oscars Statues

3. Host a super fancy Oscars viewing party. I know it’s similar to #2, but whereas I was thinking that #2 would be all-girls, your Oscars viewing party could be a black tie occasion for everyone! You could hand out awards to your guests based on who gets the most dressed up (or looks the most ridiculous).

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4. You could always try selling your gown. I had a bridesmaids dress that I thought was particularly awful, but I was able to recoup everything I’d paid for it on Ebay! My recommendation, if you’re dealing with a bridesmaid dress, is not to delay. Dresses go in and out of style, and while I didn’t really like that particular dress it turns out it was a very popular style that year, which is why I was able to sell it for full-price.

Depending on how fancy your dress is, you might do better taking it in to a local consignment store. logo

5. There are tons of organizations looking for gently worn formal dresses that can be repurposed into prom gowns for teen girls who can’t afford this expense. is one such national organization, but a quick google search showed tons of local organizations all across the country that provide similar services.

Do Tell: What other suggestions do you have for what to do with a ball gown you’ll only wear once?

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