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Lindsay Albanese is on a mission to take the intimidation out of fashion, one person at a time. Known as "the stylist next door," the LA-based wardrobe guru has a wildly popular YouTube channel and is also a member of the E! Style Collective, making regular appearances on E! News and E! online to offer her relatable words of wisdom.
Given that Albanese has been in the game for more than a decade and has certainly seen her share of fashion blunders, we asked her to hook up some foolproof solutions to time-sensitive dress emergencies so you can feel fully prepped leading up to the big day.
Mishap: The dress is suddenly too tight.
Hack: Make sure you try the dress on after the final alterations a week before. If for some reason you've gained or lost some pounds, a week is still enough time for a tailor to try and do something. If not, strip away the undergarments you were going to wear underneath. You're going to need every millimeter of breathing and wiggle room, and you'd be surprised by what eliminating a thin layer can do over all.
Mishap: You accidentally spilled on it or just noticed a stain.
Hack: Do not use a stain remover! Some of them can end up leaving the stain more noticeable because the solution leaves a ring around the stain. If anything, dab a little soda water on it. For teeny, tiny stains, forget about it—don't sweat the small stuff. You're moments away from walking down the aisle and you need to focus on that because it goes by so fast.
Mishap: The bodice is suddenly too loose and you're afraid of flashing everyone.
Hack: If you're wearing a bra or undergarments, I suggest whipping a few stitches to attach the inside of the dress to the bra, bustier, or whatever you're wearing underneath to keep that bodice in place. If it's a strapless dress and you were going braless, adding a seamless strapless bra should help.
Mishap: You keep tripping over your gown during rehearsal.
Hack: This is a tough one because hems need to be perfect and there really isn't a quick fix unless you're lucky enough to have a family member or close friend who is a couturier or expert seamstress. That's why I stress that you do a final fitting with your wedding shoes on and walk around to see if you can move freely!
Mishap: It just doesn't fit right.
Hack: Expert tailoring should be able to tweak the dress slightly without altering the look of the dress. If not, keep reminding yourself that as long as the bride is happy, who cares! You can pick out your own dress the rest of the 364 other days in the year.
Mishap: You really dislike the dress and want to make some changes.
Hack: Rule #1 in being a bridesmaid is that it's not about you or making it your own unless the bride suggests doing so, which is rare! Keep it simple and alway ask for her thoughts and approvals before wearing anything. Don't worry, one day you will have your day and you will appreciate courteous and communicative bridesmaids.
Mishap: The color isn't what you thought it would be when ordering online.
Hack: If you're the bride, you should be able to return it easily. If you're the bridesmaid, just say "I received the dress!" without saying anything negative unless asked for an honest opinion because the bride is unsure herself. I never suggest buying all the bridesmaid dresses online before seeing at least one in person. Exposures with e-commerce photography can vary from what the real deal looks like, and even your own computer screen brightness setting can slightly change the color. You never know until you see it with your own eyes!
Mishap: The wedding is over and you don't know what to do with the dress.
Hack: Can people please stop saying "the dress is so pretty you can even wear it after the wedding"? To be honest, most bridesmaid dresses—pretty or not—end up in the depths of your closet, never to be worn again. Mostly because that dress had such a significant meaning for someone else's wedding, and most of the time you're just over it.
With that said, if you're the repurposing kinda girl I would take it straight to your local seamstress or dressmaker and ask for suggestions on how they can rework the dress to look different. The cheapest way to transform the dress? Shorten the hem. Depending on how intricate the dress is, it shouldn't cost you more than $50 max!