Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Off the Market: For Real Though

Some time has passed since I last posted and let me just say, A LOT has changed!
Towards the end of May, my mom came out for a much needed visit (I am such a "Momma's Girl", is that even a thing?).
The plan was that we were going to go wedding dress shopping. Yes, wedding dress shopping on a holiday weekend. BTW, if you do that- check the bridal shop's holiday hours, a lot of them may be closed on Mondays in general and then an additional day for holiday observances.
My ideal shopping experience would have been to go to a traditional bridal boutique first to try on a few different styles of gowns and find out logistics on ordering and receiving. The next step would be to check out a sample boutique for a one-of-a-kind, off the rack find. Well, that was not the case for this wedding dress excursion. I had previously tried on dresses when we first moved to Virginia (this was approximately 5 years ago and 25lbs heavier) it was fun but nothing struck me as "oh my gosh yes, bring on the tears." Needless to say we didn't actively plan a wedding either, so no bigs. 
Fast forward to moving to the West Coast, my fiance and I decided that we realllly needed to make this official even if we decided on a small elopement with just our parents in attendance (they'd never forgive us otherwise). So that's when I told my mom "enough is enough, this ball will get rolling once I have a dress." Nothing like an emotional and financial commitment to really light the fire.
Once I found out about the prospective shops' hours and my requested PTO that really our only option was to start at the sample boutique, we were off cruising down the 101!

We found street parking right in front of Glamour Closet in WEHO (great news ladies, they have locations in West Hollywood, San Francisco, Chicago & New York). The Glamour Closet specializes in sample gowns, they're new but may have a little wear in tear if they were floor samples versus overstock. How it works: they ask a few general questions and then give you a little pouch with clips to add to the hangers of 8 gowns you are interested in trying on. You should really know your body type and what will look good on you when you can only try on so few. Luckily, I know what I like and what I don't. I also was intensely focused and refused to even tempt myself in to trying on any gowns priced over my budget-- not even for fun. There would be nothing worse then falling deeply in love with a dress and then into deeper debt over said dress. I steered clear and stayed within my budget (pats back- so proud).

I quickly narrowed it down to two gowns and of course they were completely different in every single way possible. One was a stunning matte silk fitted gown with amazing embellishment at the waist and a fantastic wow element in the back. The downside was that it pulled in the thigh area and I ended up passing on it as I didn't want to give myself the unrealistic pressure of trying to size down to "hopefully" make it fit in a way that would make me feel confident and beautiful. It pained me to let it go but really it was the fantastic back detail that had me so obsessed.
Next up is a dreamy traditional ball gown layered in gobs and gobs of ethereal tulle. It felt like it weighed about 20 pounds, no joke. My mom got all weepy and said I looked like a bride. I was loving it and the belt really made my waist look svelte, which is a total bonus. I just didn't know if I should commit on such a whim and without trying on any other options at other bridal boutiques. The plus was it fit me off the rack, the length and the bodice fit perfectly. So I knew that if I took it home that day I wouldn't have to worry about altering it to fit- which is relieving in its own right.  I played and played with this gown and tried the other front runner on to narrow it down. I needed to know that if I was leaving there with a dress, that the tulle confection would be it. The beauty of this dress is that it had tulle straps with stunning embellishments on the shoulders and it came with an embellished belt (which on their own can run you some serious dough). You could layer the belt under the tulle for a subtle look or tie it over the tulle-- so many options! I tucked the straps into the bodice to see how it would look strapless and that is what I think really did it for me. The construction of my desired sweetheart neckline was there-- all I need was to have the straps tacked down and voila a strapless dress!
So after some serious mirror time with classic back and forth- back and forth- I pulled the trigger.

The detail and the tulle

Purchased and buckled into the backseat of my car (it was that pouffy) was my wedding dress.
I had the future groom, now all I needed was to plan a wedding.....

Photography by Ben & Kadin Godwin

Photography by Ben & Kadin Godwin | Re-crafting of Belt by Mindy's Alterations in Newbury Park

Tips on Buying Sample Gowns:
  • Try on gowns elsewhere before going so you have an idea of what style looks best on your body type
  • Have a wish list of must haves: ie: neckline, fabric, price point
  • Do a quick search on the gown to make sure you are getting a fair deal-- I feel like mine could have been priced more reasonably- (note: they do not negotiate at Glamour Closet)
  • Inspect the gown carefully for any flaws- they're off the rack so what you see is what you get and they are FINAL SALE
  • Keep an open mind, an amazing seamstress can make magic happen
  • Be willing to commit or walk away (if you decide to leave empty handed- ask yourself would you be devastated if you came back tomorrow and it was gone)
  • Don't let the uniqueness of the shop having only "one" suck you into making a purchase you are not ready to make- consignment and samples can really mess with your mind and make you think you need it because there is only one available in your size
  • I'm sure I have more tips so feel free to shoot me a message if you want to pick my brain :)

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