As luck would have it, my bridesmaid dress plans are almost in as much tatters as I suspect the swatches/samples of dresses would be now.
It’s an arduous story that starts with one of Alexa’s wild ideas. Madly out of my price-range, but what if my girls were dress in shades of blues and greens, a la peacock? I have never been one to baulk at something against the norm, and nor do I see much beauty in your typical block-colour of bridesmaid dresses, so it seemed like a good idea at the time. Of course, I started thinking pragmatically as to how I could incorporate these colours into affordable bridesmaid dresses.
Teal. I could look for a print dress in a fancy, shimmery fabric in a shade of teal, versatile blue and green for The Fiancé and I both. And, for me, things that were essential for my bridesmaid dresses were short length dresses and vintage styles, preferably 50s silhouette or suggestion.
Where-else to look, then, that at vintage brands at which I have shopped and whom I support?
These thoughts I had in about September or October of last year. And so starts the slog of this post…
(For the sake of this post, and because I don’t believe it’s necessary to mention the brands—sure, their restocking techniques let me down this time, but I love their fashions no less for it—I am going to refer to them as Awesome Brand and Gorgeous Brand.)
It started simply enough, with me doing my usual browsing of Awesome Brand’s website. I guess I had an idea of the dress I was thinking of just by osmosis.
A taffeta-made dress, plain in pattern but glossy and with a sash, it was something I knew I wanted to see my bridesmaids in. It was formal enough for a summer wedding, but casual enough that it could be worn away from the wedding (if it were me, on a daily basis!). And, wonder of wonders, on sale at the moment. Little was I to know that it was an end-of-line sale as so many of them are nowadays, and the style was not going to come back in stock in the sizes my girls need.
But, at that point, I pondered it, bought myself one to try, and realised that I’d love to see the bigger sizes in real life. Awesome Brand only has a handful of physical shops, but one happens to be local from where I currently live, in Camden. So, I trotted the 20 minutes to Camden, head held high and knowing exactly what I wanted.
It turns out, though, that the online stockist is the ultimate collection of what is available across the shops, and not vice versa.
So, it was time to scratch out that idea. Bye bye taffeta.
Move on to dress #2. I’ve never been a fan of folded fabric busts, but as I started viewing the website of Gorgeous Brand that a friend had recently bought a dress from, I was starting to have thoughts I put it to my bridesmaids: my main worry was that as two of them are B-cup and under, I was worried that the folded fabric effect would not be complimentary (as it would on my plus-sized bridesmaids).
So, I bought one of the dresses in my size (if I buy a 10 by measurements, it fits me as well as two of the bridesmaids – even when we’re different across different brands’ size 10) to try on for size, comfort, and real-life colour (girls, never rely on your monitor for the true colour of fabric).
It was gorgeous and comfortable. Even the fold-over bust did not gape too much. Sure, the print ended up being a little too green for my teal idea, but I was willing to forgo that for the clockwork print.
So, after a little discussion, we decided to go with it. I proceeded back onto the site, only to be met by sizes being out in two of my three remaining bridesmaids’ sizes. I thought I was lucky to have a brand like Gorgeous which gives you the option to subscribe to be notified when the items are back in stock in certain style. And I double checked their procedures: if the item is forever out of stock, they will not have that option to subscribe.
So, I thought.
Turns out, of course, that I was wrong/had been misled by these instructions on the website. The Devil likes to mock me in that way by giving me false hope.
I waited. And I waited. I think I waited about two or three months for any sign of the restock notification going away. I even favourited the page so I could get back to triple check as quickly as blinking. Eventually, I started to worry [more than usual], so I emailed Gorgeous Brand’s helpdesk to ask about the restock times. I waited. I know Gorgeous Brand are reliable when it comes to replying to customer service (great for someone like me who gets social anxiety when it comes to speaking via the phone), and sure enough, I received a response within two days of sending (go, Gorgeous Brand!).
Alas, it was not good news. Despite what the website implies, this pattern was no longer going to come back in stock. The helpdesk suggested I could commission the three dresses I needed in the fabric, but at a price. A price out of my range.
Time to face reality: I have to say goodbye to that idea, too.
As it stands, currently, I’m not sure if I have a dress in mind or not. My choices lie in cost, colour, style, and brand. In that order? I’m not certain. I was not originally aiming for a vintage brand that I support like Awesome and Gorgeous, but after having turned my attention that way, I can’t seem to shake that that was a good way of doing things. On the other hand, they are fresh into the Spring-Summer ’17 seasons, so stocks—and consequently, prices—are high. There are cheaper brands, of course. I have bought some articles from Cool Brand before, but they have not been as well tailored as I would have hoped. Cool Brand is reputable, but I’m on the smaller side when it comes to their dresses, so they’re not True-to-Size, and for me, that is a clincher (when I have to get people to put hems up and sew together the back to make smaller the top, I see an issue with the brand). Furthermore, as much as like the patterns they deliver, in folded-bust and other silhouettes, they are very much reliable on colourways, rather than the quirky prints of Gorgeous Brand. For me, they aren’t my bridesmaids’ dresses.
And, thinking deeply about it, I have to re-assess the obsessive-compulsive nature behind using a vintage brand. I wanted to make Awesome and Gorgeous proud, but in the end, it’s not about being able to say “look, I used your dresses as bridesmaids dresses, thank you!”; it’s about how the dresses look on the day and the comfort for my bridesmaids. Colour over brand and cut over colour.
Which only doubly troubles the situation. Back to the drawing board, perhaps.