Gemma tries it on: 'I need to get my pasty-white, chubby body into a bridesmaid's dress'


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The trouble with having friends is that sometimes you have to do things that you don't want to do. At the tender age of 27, I was due to be a bridesmaid for one of my best friends, but she put the wedding on hold. Totally fine by me, but I swore blind I didn't want to be an 'old' bridesmaid and 30 was my cut-off age. Wrinkles and poofy dresses don't gel in my opinion.

Now that milestone has been and gone I thought I was safe, but after a near-miss in the summer (another friend, thankfully, scaled down her girl gang before her wedding for fear of looking like a crazy bridezilla with her groupies so I had a lucky escape), I have been asked again.

Don't get me wrong, I have been a maid before and adored every minute: my eight-year-old self, plus sisters and cousins, all 14 of us dressed identically in pretty silk dresses with net-slips, floral headdresses and rag-curled hair. We looked pretty damn gorgeous. But I'm no longer pre-pubescent and I look terrible with curly hair.

My best friend and one-time housemate, who moved to the other side of the world a couple of years ago, is the one getting hitched. I couldn't turn down an opportunity to see her, or a trip to Australia.

We started talking dresses and sweetly she asked what colour and style I preferred – being so far away I couldn't do the shopping trips, so said I was easy, pick what she liked.

A couple of weeks later I got an excited call: she had bought the dress! I asked her what it was like and she answered "It's in a different colour, but Google Miranda Kerr at the Instyle awards." What?! If there is one thing I'm NOT, that's a Victoria's Secret model. With only little strips of fabric covering her boobs, and the gaping holes around the back – she looked more or less naked.

Great, not only do I need to get my pasty-white, post-Christmas, chubby body into a bridesmaid's dress, everyone is going to see my arse. "I've ordered you a size six."

For three weeks I have waited for the dress to arrive, trying to conjure up body-covering methods. Maybe I could get one of those ice-skater, skin-tone body suits? Or get the back sewn up? Wear a vest?

I can't tell you how relieved I was when it arrived – it was much tamer. Miranda had been wearing a pimped-up version: it seems she has no problem in showing people her bottom. With a little, ahem, altering, it's lovely.

The colour (a secret) is beautiful, and my relief was so great that I've completely forgotten about the lack of material over my breasts. I will worry about that next month.

Gemma Hayward is Fashion Editor of 'The Independent'