mutton dressed as spam

I know it wasn’t my special day or anything, but I was one of the bridesmaids and so I thought, well I better make an effort. I normally feel like a little girl dressed up at weddings, never quite able to get it right, as if I’m wearing someone else’s grown-up dress.

I would describe my style as sporty-tramp. I imagine when people meet me they are never sure if I am going to try and sell them a Big Issue or invite them to a game of badminton. This suits me fine most of the time but I wanted to feel more comfortable at this wedding especially as the bride had said – wear what you want.

So I bought a dress I knew for sure I looked good in and as this was an autumn wedding in one of the wettest and coldest years since we have started fretting about climate change, a dress I knew I would be warm in. It is a close fitting black jumper dress with a little belt to tie around the waist. I ummed and ahhhed over the shoes – either boots or little black heels. I settled on boots for warmth reasons. I thought I looked smart, warm and cute.

Unfortunately on the day of the wedding I realised I’d made yet another fashion mistake and would be uncomfortable but for completely different reasons. All the other bridesmaid put on silky flowing dresses in blue and green and pink. Lovely dresses that swung and skimmed below the knee. I had a vision of myself in my dress. My short black dress with what were essentially fuck-me boots.

Imagine an old rich fella who falls in love with a much younger woman, much to the dismay of his family. They marry and after a few months of blissful happiness, he dies. What I was planning to wear was what that woman would wear to the funeral. In Ape Pro Pre At.

I left putting my dress on till the last minute saying to myself – it doesn’t really matter what you wear no one is going to look at you. But when i immerge clad in black from top to toe, look at me they did.

‘Its a bit dark isn’t it?’ I said lamely. Yes, but you look very sophisticated, said one kind friend. You look great, said another, but I have another dress with me, said another less kind friend. It is a bit short said the-nail-in-the-coffin friend. Ah well, I thought, just got to go with it now. And luckily we all did look completely different and, I think, wonderful in different ways.

As we were waiting outside the hall with the bride, the mother of one of my friends said, oh why are you not wearing a silky dress like everyone else? I hid behind my flowers. Unfortunately I’m about three inches taller than the other bridesmaids.

Luckily the wine was flowing and I spotted another girl in a black sophisticated dress and other guess in a belly dancing outfit. The wedding was a fairly eccentric – one of the songs was Food Glorious Food. So I relaxed and enjoyed my champers.

The bride hugged me later on the dance floor saying how happy she was. She thought it was the happiest day of her life. I don’t think she would have noticed if I had been wearing a bin liner.

And that after all is what matters.


  1. Jen – you could not look like a tramp even if you tried. For what my tuppeny’s worth – I saw the pics on Facebook and (promise) my first thought was ‘Wow – Jen looks really elegant’..[You know me and shoes though..any chance to get the heels out.] But, think on this, as the champagne flowed, you were probably more comfortable than anyone squeezed into tippy tappy shoes. And that’s what shines through in the pics – you looking very beautiful and very much yourself – not many people can do that. xxx

  2. Awww. You looked lovely.And to think… I was stressing ’cause I’d be wearing a sweater instead of a shirt and tie.

  3. You do look lovely in those pics. With me, it was always the hair. I was a bridesmaid at a wedding once. The bride was Hungarian – we were all buxom blondes, all had low-cut fuschia pink dresses. I couldn’t bear it. I felt like a fairy cake. I went and had my hair cut. (Not quite a Britney, but) Then I found out that the bride had planned for us to have French pleats. Whoops. In all the photos, there I am, bad spiky barbie, the misfit bridesmaid in the middle.We’re still friends – and she never passes up an opportunity to tease me about it.

  4. Sometimes it pays to be a bloke!

  5. I like that story!

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