Wedding Dress Shopping...

Last weekend, for some strange reason, I got the urge to go wedding dress shopping. By myself. Um. It's been decided that I am to go wedding dress shopping with my mom and sister when I go home for the Thanksgiving holiday, so I suppose I should have waited...oh well.

I woke up early on Saturday morning (L had classes that day, and had already left), mapquested two bridal places in Memphis, stopped for some coffee, and then began my journey. I honestly wasn't expecting to find anything, and was really just expecting disappointment. I approached the day as an adventure.

First place: blah. The store had three full walls of dresses that were labeled "formal". Formal = big full skirts and LOTS of tulle. In other words, intimidating. I found the "informal" rack, which only took up one wall. I found one that I thought was decently pretty, tried it on, realized that it wasn't pretty on, and promptly left. I was never offered help, and that sort of turned me off. The store was full of girls and their moms/girlfriends/attendants, trying on dresses and squealing for help, so I slipped out the door and promptly patted myself on the back for accurately predicting the day: a disappointent so far.

Next place: you all have been there, I'm sure. David's Bridal. I went, expecting even more disappointment + chaos, but surprisingly my experience was quite the opposite. Even though I didn't have an appointment, the lady at the front was quick to find me a dress assistant, and I was ushered to a mirrored dressing room while she retrieved the dresses that I had circled in the catalog. And I'll be honest, a lot of the dresses I tried on were very pretty. One of them even looked stunning. I was blown away by the image I was seeing in the mirror. Wow, I thought, I look like a pretty bride. The ladies who worked there all agreed, this one was it. It had a halter-type top, with a v-neck, and really pretty pleating along the waist that continued around the back.

But what turned me off was exactly what impressed me. I looked like a bride. But I really didn't look like me. The dress had a fussy, long train, and even though the alterations woman told me that it could be tied up into a bustle, I just wasn't that excited about having a lot of fabric trailing after me on my big day. I had them mark down the two dresses that were the best, and told them I'd think about it.

By this point, I was tired. Emotionally drained, I think. I suspect that while I had begun the day as a sort of crusader - "I'm going to try on wedding dresses-by myself! Haha!" - the realization that I was alone really started to hit me. I felt silly coming out of the dressing room and having no one to see it (save the bridal employee). Other girls in the store were surrounded by girlfriends and other female family members, oohing and aahing and fussing over them as they tried on dress after dress. And as much as I didn't want that to bother me, it did. I wanted someone to fuss over me. And I realize that that will happen over the Thanksgiving holiday, when I'll have family with me, but still - it hurt just a little. My strong will had eventually slipped away, and now I was just feeling sorry for myself.

I began my drive home, and on a whim I stopped at a vintage clothing store in Midtown that a coworker had told me about. Even as I drove up and parked in front, I had a feeling that this would be better. The store is actually an old victorian home, and except for the sign out front you probably wouldn't realize that it was a clothing store. I rang the bell, and slowly opened the big wooden door. And my jaw dropped to the floor.

After being at the two rather commercial bridal stores previously, this was a godsend. Every inch of this house was filled with vintage clothing. Light was filtering in through the large windows that flanked the stair on the left, and to the right was a room that had jewelry cases filled with vintage brooches, hats, gloves. In the front window there was a huge vintage Oscar de la Renta dress, sending sparkles everywhere as the light hit it. Further back, there were rows upon rows upon ROWS of vintage dresses.

And the best part? It's owned by one quirky, wonderful, helpful, and lovely lady. I was the only customer in the store, and I told her that I was looking for a wedding dress. She gasped in delight, put down her coffee, and off we went. She pulled me from rack to rack, grabbing this dress and this dress, explaning to me what year they were from (1910! 1925! 1960!) as she shoved them into my hands. Within minutes I had 15 dresses to try on. She showed me a large bathoom near the back of the house, apologized for not having a proper dressing room, and left me to try them all on.

And, ladies and gentlemen, we've found a winner! After trying on several of them (and wow, was I ever born in the wrong decade - 1950's clothing fits me like a dream!), I finally found one that, as soon as I zipped up the side and glanced in the mirror, I just knew. I just KNEW. So, sorry for the long post, but here it is, in all of its lovliness. It's a 1960's ivory gown, and it's perfect. It needs a good cleaning, and the straps need to be repaired, but they are easy fixes. Ta da! The last picture is the lovely vintage lace trim that I bought from
this seller, and I plan on having it sewn into the hem.

{back of the dress}

{detail of the back}

{front of the dress)

wedding dress_lace
{vintage lace}


T.Allen-Mercado said…
It's absolutely beautiful. I was also married in vintage; a simple elegant A-line dress, and it was lovely. Congratulations, I hope your mom and sister aren't too bummed. Have a happy Thanksgiving.
Zarebski said…
Nice dress…. also wish you a Happy Thanksgiving.
Thank you SO much for your kind interest in my Etsy shop!! Missy
Color Me Green said…
what a unique awesome dress!

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