Tuesday, October 6, 2009

The Stress Of The Dress, Part 2

In my last post I showed you what style of dress I was looking for, so now I'll share with you how I actually found "the one."

As I already mentioned, I had to schedule as many appointments into one day as possible because my little sis was in town. I used a combo of Yelp reviews and Google Maps to find salons in the area that had reasonable prices and allowed pictures to be taken. I realized early on in my bridal shop research that I'd have better luck in my price range looking in the South Bay, instead of in San Francisco. Here is where the day took us (copied from Google Maps):

First up was The Wedding Gown Superstore, a pretty sketchy sounding shop with mainly off the rack dresses. But I read a couple reviews of people finding good deals, so thought it was worth a shot. Our appointment was at 10am, and upon entering the store you see a gate with all the dresses behind it; apparently only you and one guest are allowed past the gate to see the dresses, so my poor mom was banished to the waiting room. They only had 2 racks of orderable dresses to choose from, and I only found two that were okay enough to try on.

The first one had ruching and some beading on the bodice, but it had a weird bubble bottom that I didn't like very much. However it was $775, so the price wasn't too bad. The second one had beading on the bodice too, but I didn't like the pattern of it once it was on. Oh, and the Yelp reviews of this place weren't exactly right, I'd picked the place in part because I read that pictures were allowed, which was true, except you had to PAY for the pictures (rolling eyes). I didn't like either dress enough to bother with that, so on our way we went.

Our second stop was Group USA, which is a mall store mainly focused on prom dresses, but with a small bridal section. I didn't have very high hopes because I didn't really like any of the dresses featured on their website, but it was at this store 3 years ago that I'd seen a near perfect dress, so thought it would be worth looking at. I found 4 dresses there that I was willing to try on, but all were duds (although the price was right at this store, I think the most expensive one I tried on was $699). Pictures were allowed here, but there were none worth taking. The only good that came out of this stop was that I confirmed that the drop waist style just doesn't work for my body type.

After lunch my next appointment was at Elegant Lace Bridal, and things started looking up here. This isn't a super snooty high-end salon, but they do allow you to look on the racks and tag which ones you want to try with little hanger rings, which I liked. I found about 8-10 contenders that looked interesting in the bags, and headed into the changing room with my consultant, Sonia. The first dress she put on me was Maggie Sorrento Lavina, which was $1075 and had the look of a drop waist, but was really a fitted A-line.

(Sly pics my sister took with her phone. Another misleading Yelp review said pictures were ok here, but there were signs everywhere to the contrary.)

I REALLY liked this dress. It was different than what I'd been looking at, because it had lots more ruching than beading and a faux sweetheart neckline, but it really made me look like I had a waist! I'd never really paid much attention to Maggie dresses before, since I assumed they were out of my price range, but this one was really great.

Next I tried on another Maggie in gold, which I really like the color of on my skin tone, compared to the Lavina dress in ivory, but I didn't care for the rest of the dress very much. Third I tried on yet another Maggie, which was very flattering (all of the Maggies really accentuated the hourglass shape), but I didn't like the asymmetrical beading style, and it was diamond white.

At this point I was starting to get confused. I knew I had liked the first dress, but was having trouble remembering it, so Sonia had me try it on again. I still really liked it, but had to call my sister over to ask for an honest opinion on if the asymmetrical ruching made "the girls" look uneven. She said 'no' and I assumed I was being crazy, but we could totally see it later when we reviewed the pictures:

(Sorry for the boob shot, but see, I'm NOT a crazy-nitpicker, one really does look bigger than the other!)

I still REALLY liked this dress though, but felt I couldn't buy it yet without going to the rest of my appointments for the day. I had to be sure, and I was only 97% on this one. So I thanked Sonia (who was great, very helpful, and boy, does she know how to lace a corset!), and we went on our way to the next shop.

Or, actually, we went on our way to the next, next shop. We'd spent way to long at Elegant Lace, and I missed my appointment at Trudy's Brides. That wasn't such a bad thing, except I knew they carried Sophia Tolli (my favorite inspiration picture), but I'd gathered that it was the most snooty of all the shops I'd scheduled. We were a bit early for the next appointment, so we grabbed diet cokes at Burger King across the parking lot and hung out for about 40 minutes.

Right on time at 4pm we walked into BB Bridal (no website, but great Yelp reviews), and this is where things got really confusing. I met with the owner, Soni, showed her my pictures and described what I was looking for. Now, maybe I should have paid more attention to the reviews, because they did say she had lots of Casablanca dresses (and I'd never really liked the over-beaded style of Casablanca), but she really had a hard time finding something that I liked. Additionally, she had hardly any sample dresses in sizes that would fit my bust. The first dress she put me in I hated, it had so. much. beading. It was everywhere except on the front bottom of the skirt, so it technically fit my description, but was WAY overkill.

Next, she put me in the Casablanca 1875, which was actually a halter top. She tucked the straps in though, and said she could custom alter it into a sweetheart for $100 (price was about $900 with this alteration). I have lots of pictures of me with chicken arms, trying to hold the straps in and the dress up, because of course it wasn't in my size, or even close to it. At least my sister could take some pics with a real camera though, since Soni allows pictures:

I liked that this dress had much more subtle beading than some others that I'd looked at, but I was really struggling with envisioning how it would look in the right size and as a strapless. Even when my mom pulled the dress in to better show the correct shape, I still just wasn't sure.

Confusion had set in, both this dress and the Maggie I liked from the last place were so different from each other, this one being more traditional and soft, the Maggie being more modern. Around that point Soni brought over an ivory Casa Blanca so I could see the difference between that and the diamond white I had on, and there was hardly any difference in the color, and the dress isn't available in a champagne or gold.

And then the pressure started, Soni kept saying how this dress would be one of a kind with the alteration, blah blah blah, but I still just wasn't ready to make a decision. And then after changing back into my own clothes, she kept on with the pressure, and even told me how great it would look if I lost some weight! Gee, thanks! I'm fully aware that I could stand to lose a few pounds, but if you're trying to convince me to buy a dress that I'm already not sure about, don't tell me I'm fat in the sales pitch! Anyway, that was enough of that shop, and I left, fully confused, stressed and torn between all I'd seen today.

Well, the day was coming to a close, with only one more appointment left, but this post is already so long that I think I'll leave the conclusion to this story until next time. You know it ends well, but you'll just have to wait to see how!

Did you get confused between conflicting styles when you were dress shopping?

1 comment:

  1. Wow, you had quite a day! I cannot believe that shop owner talked to you about losing weight, how rude! I can't wait to see what you ended up with!

    I had some confusion over strapless versus straps, but I went in knowing I wanted something slim cut and tight on my butt and that's what I ended up with.