By Ashley Robinson
So, I had this dress. It was strapless, light blue and … floor-length. You probably have the same type of dress in your closet, you know, the kind you wore ONE day, took a thousand pictures in and now takes a ridiculous amount of space in your closet – despite the fact you know you will never wear it again in a million years.
If I attempted to be coy about saying whose wedding I wore this garb in, this would be a very boring blog post, so I’ll just be out with it: the dress was from my sister’s wedding. It wasn’t a bad dress, per say, it just wasn’t one I would have picked out for myself or would ever wear again. (See picture, see my face, second from the right)
But, it’s what she wanted; she wanted her bridesmaids to all have the same matching dresses, in line with the formality of the event, all in her favorite shade of blue: sky. She wanted ball gowns and she wanted sparkles. No harm done. As a bride, she has that right. We wore the dresses, looked like floating Greek muses, and smiled for the cameras. My mother even offered, “You really could wear it again.” “Where? Where could I wear this again?” “Uh, I don’t really know.”
And up until recently, the dress just sat there in my closet, taking up more space than it deserved.
Then, I discovered NewlyMaid. Basically, what it does is take that pesky dress off of your hands and gives you credit for a new little black dress they sell on their site. “NewlyMaid accepts dresses from most manufacturers in the bridal industry including bridesmaids, mother of the bride, social occasion and prom dresses. The dress must be in good quality condition with no pulls, tears, stains or other blemishes. All zippers and clasps must be in good working order.”
So, that means if you spilled wine on yourself or got frisky with your date after the wedding to the detriment of your dress, you are out of luck. However, if your dress was like mine, nearly flawless (read: mellow, dry wedding), then fantastic.
Next, you “Create an account on NewlyMaid.com and order a pre-paid mailer to send in your old dress …” Then they send you a bag, you fold up your gown, and say “Hasta la vista ball gown!” place the gown in the bag, slap on the mailing sticker and then throw it in a FedEx drop box. You pay nothing to ship the first dress – if you have others you want to send in, you pay for the shipping.
(And don’t worry; your old gown will be put to good use. They will either take the fabric and donate it to Clothes4Souls, which brings shoes and apparel to people in need around the world, or it will be broken down to make more yarn.)
Then, you wait a couple of weeks. I was pretty nervous about my dress. I didn’t know how much it would go for. Especially since I couldn’t find a label on it telling me it was made by a major manufacturer. In the meantime, I checked out some of the dresses shown on the site. All of them are black, and apparently change by the season. They are all categorized “LBDs” and hit just about the knee. And apparently, some of the dresses are made from recycled fabric from other turned in gowns.
When they sent me an email telling me it was approved, I was pleasantly surprised with the results. My little old ball gown was valued between $55 and $85. The dress’s value adjusts with each dress up for sale on the site. For example, the black sleeveless guipure lace dress with bateau neckline and low scoop back I chose sold for $200, but with my credit, the price dropped to $115. And then I took at little survey, and that got me 10% off … and then all of a sudden, my dress was priced at $83.
And then I waited a couple more weeks.
When I finally was able to try my new NewlyMaid dress on, I found … it was a little too long … and the waistline needed some altering … and damnit, it felt like just another stupid bridesmaid dress I would have to spend more time and money on to make it wearable!
This is no cute little black dress. It’s dowdy and dusty-looking. As my husband said, “You could wear it for Halloween with a witch hat!” And it is a costly reminder of how much money I had already spent on my sister’s bridesmaid dress. And without alterations, it is just taking up space in my closet. (Perhaps I just chose the wrong dress from the website? Maybe the others fit better? I dunno …)
Sigh, I guess there is no suitable replacement for a bridesmaid dress, and certainly no inexpensive substitutions.
So, you ask, Is NewlyMaid worth it? In concept: yes. In reality: not really.