Tuesday, July 10, 2007

The search begins...

Shopping for a wedding dress appears to be one of the first things that women do once engaged.

Or, well, most women, as I waited 3.5 months before trying on my first dress.

When I first started looking at dresses, I knew exactly what I didn't want.

Dress by Maggie Sotterro

No poof. No train.

No beading. No embroidery.

No sparkles. No sequins.

No polyester of any variety. And not strapless.

While I think that those characteristics of a dress are lovely on many women, none of those really suit my personal style, which is a lot more tailored, vintage and not really "girly" at all.

So where did I first go to try on dresses? Filene's Basement "Running of the Brides." (Now, according to their website, the racks are stripped clean of all dresses within 60 seconds. Not sure if it is true in other locations, but in Cleveland, that wasn't the case. Regional differences, perhaps? Although I do think that with the promotion on the website, people who have never been before - which is most people- are told that they have to grab as many dresses as possible because if they don't, the racks will be totally cleared and they won't get any dresses to try on. So people grab as many dresses as possible. And then the racks are cleared in a self-fulfilling prophecy. In game theory, it's a basic collective action problem.) Anyways, I brought my mom along for the fun of it, and it really was a blast.

The line behind us, taken shortly before 8am. We got there around 6:30am. It was freezing cold outside. News crews were around, and I did end up getting interviewed for the news, although the interviewer seemed disappointed that I (in my complete and total geekiness) wanted to talk about ways to overcome the aforementioned collective action problem instead of screaming and yelling about what sort of dress I wanted. And I am totally serious about that- in my 15 seconds of local news glory, I really did talk about solving for the equilibrium of the game.

My mom and I teamed up with the bride in front of us who had several friends with her. Conveniently, we were (roughly) the same size, but had different ideas of what we wanted. So it worked out.

And my mom did find one dress that I did really like, that began to change my mind about my dislikes. It had a train!

Dress by Romona Keveza

Ultimately, though, the dress was too small to even be altered in a good way. Turns out my wedding dress size is quite a bit larger than my normal dress size. Bummer. But that dress did show me that there are very lovely dresses out there that are not princess-y at all, with high quality fabric.

After spending 3 hours at Filene's Basement, my mom and I figured out that I wouldn't be getting my dress there. But we were both still up for trying on additional dresses! So we went to two other places that day- Catan's and Julianne's. We went to Julianne's first, as it was more of a consignment/alterations shop than a mainstream bridal salon. It was a very cute place, but not a whole lot was in my size that looked good (actually, nothing). We then went to Catan's, which is like the wedding industrial complex on crack. Seriously. They advertise that they are the largest bridal boutique in the country.

At Catan's, the brisk saleswoman asked what type of gown I was hoping to wear. I mentioned Romona Keveza and other similar designers (hey! I'd just come from Filene's where I tried on those dresses in their $799 or less goodness!) , and were brought to their "couture" room. Tried on some dresses, and the saleswoman remained more or less abandoned us.

The saleswoman returned, and perhaps in trying her best (failed) attempt to be polite, asked me very insincerely where I was from, and where the wedding and reception were going to be held. My mother and I told her, and her entire demeanor did a complete 180. She became super sugary sweet, bringing in the seamstress when I was asking about alterations, asking for my information (which I did not give to them), the works.

I would never give business to people who treat you like crap until they think that you have deep pockets.

Anyways, that is the beginning of the search for my dress, back in April. I didn't again go shopping for a dress until July...


Bride of Rochester said...

boy oh boy, I had a good laugh reading this. shopping for a dress is a good time, isn't it?

mnc said...

I was thinking of visiting Catan's.
Do they have a large selection in your opinion?