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Gowns That Keep on Giving

Think everyone has seen that little black cocktail dress of yours--worn, depending on the venue, either with high-octane irony or 11th-hour desperation? And this New Year’s Eve you want to make a really big splash?

How about peering into the closet, waaaaaay in the back, and retrieving the spearmint-green, satin-and-organdy gown you wore to your college roommate’s wedding back in ’84. Heck, retro is in! Even the ‘80s are fair game now.

That’s one of Cindy Walker’s tips (No. 84 to be exact) in her new book “101 Uses for a Bridesmaid Dress” (Morrow). The slim volume begins with a nod to the one-upmanship stories we’ve all told: the $300 silk sheath in hot pink, the burnt-orange number tastefully interred in a backyard plot.

From the highly impractical (“create gorgeous curtains”) to the inventive (“fill it with sand and make a punching bag”), Walker’s tips may not offer real solutions, but they provide catharsis for “professional bridesmaids” who need an outlet to laugh off all that good money invested on an impossibly hideous, one-note dress. . . . Well, OK, it’s a start anyway.

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