Say “I Guess” to the Dress

In the colder months, my complexion resembles drywall, which is a neat coincidence considering I work in the drywall business. It is not so fortuitous to look like a sheet of wallboard when trying on wedding dresses, however. Only the Brontë sisters could accurately describe such a ghastly white apparition, so I will spare you any attempt.

As you can imagine, pastiness is made even pastier by the fluorescent lighting of David’s Bridal, a store I do not recommend to anyone who has ever contemplated suicide. Sure, most stores have pretty bad lighting, and that is one of the reasons why I never try anything on until after I bring it home and can try it on in complete darkness. But at most stores you go to, you are not there to test out 30 wearable coconut cakes for size. Shopping for wedding dresses is unlike any other shopping experience – any experience at all, for that matter. The only thing similar in life that I can think of is being a baby, because that is a time when people poke and prod you, tell you what to do, don’t understand what you’re so fussy about, and let out lots of loud gasps as if you have done something really adorable.

At bridal shops these days, there are two basic wedding gown styles to choose from: strapless & poufy and strapless & slightly-less-poufy. If you do not want to look like you are wearing a frayed roll of toilet paper on this special day, you may have a harder time finding something you like. I found the one dress in the entire David’s Bridal collection that has cap sleeves. (And don’t be fooled by the catalog – many of the so-called cap sleeves are, in fact, straps! Honestly, as if the entire marrying public couldn’t identify a sleeve!) I think it’s beautiful, even if it doesn’t magically shrink my rib cage and create a wench bosom the way the all the strapless dresses did. I figure, since Special Someone will be wearing a double-breasted 1940s suit jacket and high-waisted pants, figure flattery is perhaps not a huge concern of ours.

What’s that you say? “Just buy a white dress at Macy’s and skip the whole harrowing bridal shop experience?” Well, my pretty, I had that same thought myself. But unless you want to wear a nightgown on your wedding day, you would be hard up to find a long white dress in any non-bridal shop. Think about it! As soon as the word “wedding” enters the mind of the marketer, the mark-up is an additional 500 percent. This is why savvy stores like Nordstrom and Lord & Taylor have opened their own bridal departments, where they can justify selling a white jersey polyester dress for $700.

“Well, if it’s such a big problem for you, don’t wear a long white dress. Wear Umbros for all I care!” Like I said before, I have this annoying tendency to question every tradition, succumb to that tradition, and then continue to gripe about that tradition. Better get used to it.


2 Comments on “Say “I Guess” to the Dress”

  1. Kate says:

    Since wedding dresses are so insanely expensive anyway, this is a time when it might really make a lot of sense to find a dressmaker to create your very own dress. You can take a bunch of photos from your favorite magazine to a good seamstress and she will find a pattern and adapt it to your needs. You get to pick the fabric, trims, etc. Then you can be as perfect as the bride of JFK, Jr. ( only your dress will not cost FORTY THOUSAND DOLLARS….

  2. skepticbride says:

    Thanks, Kate, and good to hear from you! I wish I had thought of that. I ended up buying the dress at David’s Bridal and paid around $750. Not exactly a steal but definitely cheaper than a Kennedy dress!

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