Bridal Style Tips, Collaboration, Featured

How to Up-cycle Your Wedding Dress After The Wedding

A wedding is one of the most important events in a person’s life. It is the day you have invested so much of your heart, time, and money to make it memorable. You carefully thought out each detail of your wedding from the venue to the food, down to your wedding dress. 

You want the memories of that day to last you a lifetime and your wedding dress embodies everything that was truly special about the day of your dreams.

So the question is, what do you do with your wedding dress after your wedding day is over? The back of the closet most certainly will not do. Clean or store it? Or upcycle it, to make the most out of your dress once more? Here’s what to do in each case.

Clean and store it

Traditionally, most brides will store their dresses after their wedding day. To keep your dress in pristine condition for the longest time, you have to make sure it is perfectly clean before storing it away. And you need to clean it as soon as you can, so the stains you inevitably earned whilst having a great time do not have time to set (the longer you wait, the harder it will be for them to come out).

Different clothes made of different types of fabrics need different types of cleaning and care. Seek the advice from a professional dry cleaner on what to do; it’s not the greatest idea to try and handle the cleaning of your wedding dress all by yourself, as you likely will do more harm than good, sometimes irreparable (oh – the heartbreak!).

If you need a recommendation for this service, our partner BLANC is undoubtedly the best: they lovingly treat each garment by hand based on their specialist knowledge, with no toxic solvents, and place it for you in a special storage box that you can keep forever once your dress has been restored. Only absolute TLC will do.

Upcycling: restyle or repurpose it

But the most exciting thing you can do with your special dress, we think, is to repurpose and upcycle it after your wedding is over. You can shorten it to make it a stunning evening dress, or even turn it into another item altogether, or several, that you can use over and over again. Using some of your dress’s more intricate details, or creating a whole new piece of clothing out of it is a great way for you to make the memories of that day last forever – and really make sense out of owning such a beautiful piece of fashion design. Why only wear it once?

You may not be crafty with a needle and thread, but with some creativity you can take your dress back to your designer or to your local tailor and make it into something really special. BLANC are our partner for all wedding dress alterations, with a team of exceptional tailors just around the corner from our studio. Feel free to ask them for advice: click here to make a free fitting appointment with one of their tailors.

So, how do you restyle your dress? Below are some ideas that we compiled to get you started!

1. Just… rewear it!

The Queen of rewearing is totally Keira Knightley. In fact, she wore her white tulle Chanel wedding dress a whopping three times!

She first wore it at the Finch & Partners’ Pre-BAFTA Party in 2008 and years later, she broke traditions by wearing it again for her actual wedding in 2013. Or was it a dress inspired by the first one? The reports are unclear on this, however she definitely wore her wedding dress again at the SeriousFun Children’s Network Gala. The beautiful Chanel was styled slightly differently for each occasion – with some sheer sleeves or without, with a Chanel jacket or bare armed –  so we love the inspiration there – and she looks absolutely amazing each time.

Who says you can only wear your wedding dress once, right?

2. Turn the lower part into a skirt 

Another simple but winning option is to turn the lower part of your dress into a fancy skirt you can wear for various events. Think ankle length, high heels and black cashmere jumper on top. Or a gorgeous golden/sequined top and a slightly higher front than back. Basically channel Troian Bellisario, who re-wore part of her wedding dress to the Golden Globes! She paired the beautiful long tulle skirt by Cortana with a delicate blush pink top – a change from her December 2016 nuptials, when the actress wore the white skirt with a coordinating ivory long sleeved top.

3. Turn the upper part into a top

A bit edgier and totally creative, but it’s been done: another option is to cut the upper part of your dress, and turn it into a fancy top, with shorter sleeves perhaps, or why not make it a completely asymmetric number?

Cue Emma Watson wearing a tailor-made top made from recycled wedding dresses while attending the Earthshot Prize Awards in London. Emma wore a custom, upcycled wedding dress created by designer Harris Reed, repurposed into a stunning, asymmetric tulle top – short on one side and floor length on the other. Way to make an entrance. 

If asymmetrical isn’t for you, you could simply cut the front of your dress’ top and, with a few delicate buttons added to the mix, make it into a beautiful lace cardigan – easy to wear over a simple top and jeans.

4. Alter the length of the skirt

If you hate the idea of deconstructing your whole dress, and you want to keep the general style of it, consider getting the length of the skirt altered. Turn your dress into a shorter dress that you can style for formal occasions, with a blazer on top for instance, or belted for party season! Or you could keep the length at the back, and make the front slightly shorter, which would look fab at a summer party event.

5. Use pieces of your dress to spice up your other clothes

You put so much thought into choosing every detail of your wedding dress, so why not keep some of those lovely details with you for years to come? To start, you’ve got tons of lace and fabric to work with. You can use the lace to adorn a plain shirt, for instance around the collar or sleeves like many Anne Fontaine shirts have. Or you can use it to create a unique design on one of your jackets. You can make the lace into a headpiece, or use some of the fabric to make a small handbag or purse that you could use for fancier events.

There is no limit in what you can do so be creative – and if you need a bit of help, working with a professional tailor or seamstress can make all the difference. We partner with BLANC Studio for wedding dress alterations and their expert tailors can make any of your dreams come true, whether before or after your special day. We have negotiated a special discount for you: whether you want to keep your dress and store it, or alter it into something special and new, you can use voucher code “TheMews20” and get a 20% discount up to the first £100 of cleaning or tailoring. This code is valid to show in any of the BLANC stores, or apply it at checkout in the BLANC app.

So do you plan to keep your dress or up-cycle it? Leave a comment below to let us know!