- Rebecca Whitlinger has made a name for herself by rewearing a bridesmaid dress from 1988.
- Whitlinger told Insider she initially wasn’t a fan of the gold sequinned gown.
- She has since worn it to tourist attractions across the world.
Rebecca Whitlinger has become known for her sparkly gold bridesmaid dress — 35 years after she first wore it to a friend’s wedding.
Whitlinger told Insider she has spent more than three decades wearing the dress at tourist attractions across the world, including in her home city, Pittsburgh. Over the years, she has worn the dress while on vacation in locations such as Peru, Italy, and Iceland.
The experiences led her to publish the 1999 book, “Always a Bridesmaid: 89 Ways to Recycle That Bridesmaid Dress,” which she said is now out of print. Whitlinger, who is an associate director at the non-profit organization Cancer Bridges, regularly shares photos of the dress on her Instagram account and has also shared them with media outlets including People.
Rebecca Whitlinger wears the dress during a trip to Morocco in 2013.
But despite Whitlinger’s dedication to the garment, she said she initially “didn’t love” the dress when she wore it to a wedding in 1988.
“I don’t think anybody loved the dress really, but we were excited to be at the wedding, and that’s the more important part,” Whitlinger said, referencing the other bridesmaids who wore the same dress. The bride had all of the gowns custom-made with gold sequins and floor-length skirts, Whitlinger said.
Rebecca Whitlinger wore the dress to a Banksy exhibition in Pittsburgh earlier this year.
“So I wore it, and the bride, wanting to be very kind to her bridesmaids said, ‘Oh you can wear it again,'” she said.
Whitlinger said that the conversation sparked an idea — she would start packing the dress “everywhere” she went just in case there was a photo opportunity.
“And while you could say it’s a hobby, it only takes one minute to throw the dress on. I could do it now if you needed to see it,” Whitlinger said. “It doesn’t occupy a ton of time. I take the picture and move on, usually into a better outfit because I do care about what I wear.”
But despite her initial dislike, Whitlinger said she has now grown to love the gown.
Turning her focus to the bridesmaids of today, Whitlinger said it wouldn’t be difficult for any person who wants to follow in her footsteps and rewear their dress. You could even start with the supermarket.
“I’d rather wear a formal gown to go grocery shopping than a tracksuit,” she said. Whitlinger added that she wore the dress for multiple passport and driving license photos through the years.