If your friends are in The Wedding Phase, you’ve probably already been a bridesmaid in at least one wedding party. If you had a dollar for every time you were told “the best part” about a bridesmaid dress is that “you can wear it again!,” how rich would you be?

Even with a giant mountain of money, you’d still be mad at the upwards-of-$300-dollars you had to spend on the dress. You know, the one that was perfectly fine if not lovely and matched the barn theme and made for a nice ombre effect with your fellow maids and was more flattering than you anticipated — the same one you are convinced you will absolutely never wear again, because who really repurposes a bridesmaid dress?

I did some investigative styling to see if maybe the answer could be all of us. Since I sold my small collection of bridesmaid dresses, I borrowed three from a friend who, through live renditions of “Shout” and every Bruno Mars song ever, kept them miraculously intact. She and the model are different sizes, but that’s nothing a little pinning couldn’t fix.

1. Go Full Quirky Goat Lady on Her Way to the Opera (Goats Are the New Cats on Instagram)

All you need is a patterned overcoat that clashes with the dress. You want to make sure the fabrics are just as different as the patterns. Shove your feet into piles of not-yet-fall leaves. Carry an equally-clash-y handbag because where else are you going to store all those pellets? And most importantly, add a pair of the largest sunglasses you can find with tinted frames. (These Derek Lam shades are my wildest hopes and dreams reincarnated.)

2. Think Preppy Moonwoman, But Don’t Overcommit 

Ah, navy, the most “universally flattering” bridesmaid color that isn’t black but confuses guests nonetheless who have trouble spotting the differences. Put a navy polo underneath and add a pair of cropped metallic pants. Find some big old mirrored circles for your eyes (these are Vera Wang, isn’t that apropos) and add classic flats, also metallic, to compliment the Bu(g)zz Lightyear thing you have going on top. Why the pink and striped suede bag? Why not! Plus, it breaks up the theme and offers a nice place to store your freeze-dried snacks.

3. Get Your Dorothy Ballerina at the Disco On, But Don’t Ask Me What That Even Means 

Don’t be afraid to remove or cut-out the slip of your sheer overlay dress. (My friend lost her slip, but just as I asked you not to ask questions above, I didn’t ask her any, either. Instead, I added a swimsuit under our model so she wouldn’t be naked and called it a great day.) This way, you can layer any similar-length skirt underneath, plus a bra, crop or bandeau top. It’s an outfit that knows a party when it sees one. Add yellow sunglasses because I think we’re going to get sick of them soon but before we do, we might as well ride the train.

And with that, kindly latch your shoulders onto my back. I feel a group cha-cha-chain coming on any minute.

Modeled by Meisha Brooks of Major Model Management, follow her on Instagram at @meishabrooks. Photos by Edith Young.

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