By Alyce Collins
THESE DIVORCED best friends refused to sell their glamorous wedding dresses after finding out their husbands were CHEATING on them and have found joy in wearing their expensive gowns again on girly nights in and even on trips to the local PLAY AREA to end the stigma that divorce signals failure.
Self-employed Julie Frugé (46) and hairstylist Sarah Kralowski (33) from Illinois and Michigan, USA, respectively, were both married when they met in 2012 after a cancellation led Julie to get her hair cut by Sarah.
The pair hit it off instantly and shared a lot in common. Julie had just discovered her husband’s affair and Sarah offered the support and positivity she needed. However, by 2015, discovering that her husband was cheating on her again led Julie to confide in Sarah once more, before Sarah discovered that her own husband was having an affair months later.
In July 2015, Julie decided she wanted a divorce, but Sarah wanted to give her husband a chance to work on their relationship, but in February 2017 it became clear that things weren’t improving, and she decided she’d be better off with a divorce. Julie’s divorce was finalised in January 2017 while Sarah was officially divorced in October 2017.
Julie was trying to find a way to donate her 1998 wedding dress but because it was a 20-year-old dress, the only option was a company which repurposed the material to bury stillborn babies in. Julie wasn’t content with that being her dress’ lasting memory, so she told Sarah that if she wished to sell her Vera Wang gown, she’d better do so fast. Sarah couldn’t bear to part with her stunning wedding dress as it was too important to her.
One evening, over a bottle of wine, Julie and Sarah were discussing what to do with their wedding dresses and were reminded of the episode of Friends, during which Monica and Rachel sit at home in wedding dresses. This inspired the duo to create their Instagram page, @itsonlyadress where they post photos of themselves wearing their beloved wedding dresses while sitting at home, in the garden or larking about in public.
“I married my husband in April 1998, while Sarah married hers in May 2012,” said Julie.
“I was looking for a new hair stylist and the universe put me in Sarah’s chair as she’d had a cancellation that day and we connected very quickly.
“We hit it off immediately during that appointment and found out we had lots in common. What we didn’t know was that we’d have more in common three years later as I uncovered another of my husband’s affairs, and not even a year after that, Sarah uncovered her husband’s affair.
“We got through the trauma of that together as well as the impending divorces. By July 2015, I’d had enough. Sarah wanted to see if she could salvage her marriage, so she gave her husband another chance. He didn’t do anything their marriage therapist suggested and she’d been thinking about divorce a lot in that time. In February 2017 it was clear that nothing would change and she filed for divorce.
“My wedding dress was a sample dress which cost about £650, and Sara’s dress was a Vera Wang dream dress.
“I was trying to find a way to donate my wedding dress and the only option was an organisation that repurposes them to bury stillborn children as it was 20 years old by that point.
“Over a glass of wine, I told Sarah that if she wanted to sell hers, she better do it quickly before it goes out of style, but Sarah loved her dress so much she didn’t think she could part with it.
“One more glass of wine later and our love of Friends, which was our favourite show, and our idea was hatched when we were reminded of the episode where the girls sit around in wedding dresses.”
Julie and Sarah have created positive memories by wearing their wedding dresses around the house in each other’s company. They even ventured out the house to a local park recently where they took pictures of themselves laughing on the slide.
Wearing their wedding dresses is light-hearted fun, but the pair also hope to convey the message that men and women shouldn’t feel ashamed of being divorced, nor should they feel any shame for their marriage not working out.
“Too many people let the fear of being divorced impact their lives, so there’s a veil of shame or a feeling of failure that comes with divorce,” said Sarah.
“Divorce was the best thing to happen to both of us, although it was hard to see in the beginning.
“Creating new memories with the dresses has helped us both mentally as we can’t put them on without giggling. We rarely think about the first time we wore those dresses because now we laugh at the silly things we’ve done in them.
“We’ve gone out in public wearing the dresses to a local park, and people stared at us and some even left the vicinity.
“We want men and women to know that they are not alone in the struggle to get through divorce. Don’t look at it as a failure, instead look at it as a brand new beginning with fun chapters to write in post-divorce lives.
“It’s an opportunity to create new memories with things that have bad ones tied to them. The newfound freedom is invigorating. We want to show people that they don’t need to look at things or places connected to their marriage with deep hatred and hurt. You can just change the memory and make it positive or funny.
“We have found a lot of happiness after going through hell by finding humour doing funny things in our old wedding dresses, and hope we inspire others with our posts.”
To see more, visit https://www.instagram.com/itsonlyadress/