Friday, January 9, 2009

How to: dress shopping

As a new member of the Engaged Women's Club, my friends still (mostly) enjoy talking about my wedding planning. They still answer my phone calls, and haven't yet asked if we could please talk about them for a change. So, I'm getting lots of good advice about dress shopping. Here's a quick rundown:

  • Avoid weekends when possible. This makes sense. Of course the salons are busier on weekends, and the attendants just don't have as much time to devote attention to you.
  • Go in with some ideas, but be open. Now, I am in no way certain about the style I want. I love lace, but I'm pretty sure that I look better in something much more structured. And I think I like a long train, but all of my inspiration pictures are train-less or have only a short train. So, I'm taking in all the pictures I've collected - and collecting them helped me see that they do have a lot in common, and to place really see what those commonalities were. It'll give the attendant a chance to see what's in my head (because I'm not so good with the describing), and hopefully, it'll get me to the pretties more quickly! However, many of these people (I dare not say all) know something about what looks good on people. They have seen the dresses on women with all shapes, not just the magazine models that I've been looking at, and they may have some very valid suggestions. What does it hurt to try on a few extra big, expensive dresses with an open mind?
  • Pay attention to your undies. Wear a white or nude strapless (and backless, if you have one) bra, and make sure that you're wearing panties that provide some coverage but don't scream "this is my last pair before I really have to do laundry". The bra, so that you can better visualize what the dress will actually look like, and the panties because at least one salesperson that you've never met is going to see you in your skivvies. On a crowded weekend or sample sale, it's possible that you won't even get your own dressing room, and other customers will see you. Never mind the embarrassment of having your mom with you, helping with a zipper, while you sport those panties with "Dive in" across the butt.
  • Assume that you will run late. Seriously, these are back-to-back appointments. Don't plan on getting out at the exact time that your hour ends. Think about it, this is an industry that runs on bridezillas. Do you want to be the one who has to take off the dress that you think might be the one right now because there is another bride in 5 minutes?
  • Shop around. There was a recent post on WeddingBee that really drove this one home for me. I know that I'm bigger than all the samples. I learned that much when I went shopping with my much thinner, much taller friend, and everything fit her perfectly. That will not be me. I accept that. But I am resolved to not let the horror of squeezing into little dresses and not zipping them up distract from the fact that this is probably the most I will ever spend on an outfit, and I think I should feel pretty. I don't want to pick something that I'll regret. Especially since most bridal dresses are 100% not-returnable! That doesn't leave a lot of room for buyer's remorse.

Any other tips from those of you that have been through this before (as a bride or with a bride)?


  1. You don't need undies. They come off quickly anyways.

  2. Good tips! I'm putting off dress shopping at the moment, mostly because we have such a long engagement. Good luck with yours!

  3. nothing here.
    married by the justice of the peace.
    semi spur of the moment.