Swapping single style for wifely beauty by M.J. Prest
Everyone knows the bride who headed straight to the hair salon for a “post-wedding chop” after coming home from the honeymoon. Or the one who dropped serious bank at the mall for a wifely wardrobe makeover.
Now all of a sudden, I’m the new bride who craves a new look.
I used to tease my older, wiser friends for this après-marriage inclination to reinvent. Now that it’s my turn in the stylist’s chair, I’ve come to the realization that there’s nothing Stepford about wanting to refresh your appearance after you become a Mrs.
An informal survey of my friends who have gotten married in recent years revealed varying reasons for their eagerness to update their looks after their “I do’s.” One bride had grown her hair out long enough for an elegant updo, only to hate the involved maintenance that long hair entails. Another had removed a nose piercing shortly before the wedding because she didn’t want it showing in pictures; after the hole closed, she decided she had outgrown the look. And a third, having lost a substantial amount of weight for the wedding and determined to keep the weight off, got rid of all her too-big clothes.
For some, the makeover can be as low-key as switching from girly lipgloss to grown-up lipstick. But for those of us who are envisioning something a little more head-turning, why not organize a bridal swap meet in your area?
There are local bride boards on TheKnot.com and IndieBride.com in metropolitan areas all across the country — that might be a good place to start if you’re a champion mingler. Or if you have a circle of friends getting married around the same time, keep the wedding party going by hosting an event where everyone — new brides and bridesmaids alike — can trade their closet cast-offs.
Swap meets are easy and fun to put together. Invite at least 10 of your stylish friends to a party and ask them to bring at least one accessory, item of clothing, bottle of perfume, and an appetizer or bottle of wine to share. (Accessories and perfume are particularly great because size and fit aren’t an issue.)
Ideally, everything should be in great condition and in season. No fair trying to swap anything that could be described as “grungy.” Conversely, if your friends are more than Gap-and-J.Crew type, don’t raise the ante too high by trying to swap your Fendi baguette and coming away disappointed by the pickings. The goal is to rehome as much of your closet as you can.
Arrange the donated items on a well-lit coffee table or bench to simulate the shopping experience, and allow guests to peruse the items while enjoying their finger foods. Everyone should have the opportunity to take home as many items as they brought, and if there are any leftovers, see if the owner is willing to donate them to charity — they don’t want them anymore, so no one is the worse off.
New duds and an opportunity to play hostess? There’s nothing more a new bride could hope for.