As I may have mentioned back in September, I’m going to be a bridesmaid in one of my best friend’s weddings this summer. This brings with it all the requisite fun you’d imagine—bachelorette parties, advice giving, text message venting, group mani-pedis—but also the two words that can make almost any girl’s blood run cold: bridesmaid dress.
Having only been in one other wedding before (a former babysitter-cum-close-friend’s nuptials when I was about 14) and remembering with a wince the monstrosity that I was “asked” to wear (high-necked purple lace bib-front—that’s all you need to know), I couldn’t entirely shake the dread that ran through me when I received the bridesmaid missive from my friend.
“I want each of you to choose your own dresses from J. Crew Bridesmaids because I want you all to feel great in what you are wearing!” the note magnanimously read. Oh, joy! Oh, rapture! I would get to pick my own dress!
It wasn’t until I was staring down the J. Crew website that I realized this was going to be much trickier than I’d thought. Because the Bridesmaids collection isn’t in store—and because I’m currently living in France, where J. Crew doesn’t exist—I would have to select my dress online. Cue panic attack and frantic tape-measuring, followed by hours poring over each detail, blowing up each photo to within a pixel of its life as though I could possibly discern from the drape and hang of a dress on the stick-thin model how it would look on me. (My husband even commented at one frustrated point in my research, “You know, the dresses are probably designed to make sure the bridesmaids don’t look as good as the bride, so . . . ” The thought was oddly soothing, though my grimace probably didn’t communicate that.)
I’m happy to report that after one trial-and-error return, I think I’ve found the one that will work, and the J. Crew customer service rep somewhere near Cincinnati was more than helpful. The experience made me realize two things, however: one, while there are times that I wish I’d had bridesmaids at my own wedding, I’m glad I never put them through the fraught search for a dress they would probably never wear again; and two, there’s a reason I’ve always been a fan of J. Crew from afar, but never in practice. . . . Two words: bust size.
Next up, I start the hunt for neutral bridesmaid shoes. Thank goodness there’s no shortage of shoes in Paris.