The time has come to start looking for a dress! I have never shopped for a fancy dress for any occasion so the first dress shop was very exciting and nerve wracking for me. I was able to bring my MIL & youngest SIL (and bridesmaid) to this appointment with me to help me figure out what I thought I wanted.
As I said, I have never bought a fancy dress before...I actually bought my prom dress online...so this was a whole new experience. I have a wedding Pinterest board that is super detailed and of course, a subsection dedicated to dresses. The problem? Which one did I actually think I would wear. Some of the dresses are absolutely stunning...when you're 5'7" + and small framed, or a nice hourglass shape. Seeing as I am neither of those, I knew that there would be some styles that just wouldn't work for me.
Being 5'3, with a short torso and more rectangular shape, I knew I had to be mindful of how the bodice was cut, or else I might look chopped in half and have it not be so flattering. I always thought that I would go for a sweetheart strapless neckline, but in the last couple of years I have loved seeing the low backs, or illusion backs and that sort of style. I also thought that maybe I would like some sort of lace sleeve, seeing as I'm trying to push the autumnal vibes for our wedding (despite it being early September...) so I tried a few dresses on just for that feature.
I knew that I wanted some detail on the bodice and a not-so-large skirt - I was not here for a ballgown. I also had to consider that I'm getting married at the cottage and some dresses just don't fit the outdoor wedding vibe. But I wanted to keep an open mind and try on different styles just to see. I would say that after this visit, the dresses I liked most were more princess/ballgown which stunned me.
Unfortunately, there was no "Yes" at this shop but I left knowing a few more things that I liked and a few things I did not.
Let the commentary begin...and don't forget to share your thoughts with me in the comments.
Ok I had a LOT going through my mind during this appointment and I know a lot of it was inner dialogue about how I looked in the dress and if I thought it would look ridiculous at an outdoor cottage wedding. My MIL was so incredibly sweet by telling me that if I loved it - it didn't matter how long the train was or how "out of place" I thought it might be. My love of the dress was the most important.
I just want to take a moment to talk about Dress #1 as it was the first ever wedding dress I tried on. In theory it ticked off all the boxes that I wanted checked for my wedding dress: bodice detail, slimmer skirt, low back detail, but it didn't WOW me. It also didn't fit comfortably so I could not breathe aha. But it definitely showed me what I'd look like in that style and we branched out a bit from there.
Bring on Dress #2 - which has affectionately been nicknamed "sexy bride" by a coworker of mine. I would 100% have lined this bodice as I don't really like the look of just seeing bra cups - it's all I could see, along with the very abrupt waistline which really chopped me in half. This is the neckline that I had imagined wanting and it just seems lacking now and I feel even more broad across the shoulders with nothing there. This dress introduced the idea of embellishments cascading down the skirt which I quite liked.
Now a few dresses we tried on just for certain features are Dress #3, 8 & 9. Dress 3 had an illusion back which was very nice, but the organza skirt just did not feel right to me. It even had pockets, but because of the material you could see them through the skirt and that was a big NOPE from me. Dresses 8/9 I tried on for the lace sleeve detail. I was really thinking that I'd like the look of a long lace sleeve but. it is so hard to find the right balance of lace and I found on 9 that I do not suit a high neck, even when it's more illusion. Also, not sure if I would be too warm (or even comfortable) with a sleeve.
After trying on Dress #6 I very quickly dismissed any formfitting dresses - I think they look stunning, but on someone else. If I can see my belly button through the material, that is all I am going to see when I look at my wedding photos. I don't need that negative energy in my mind haha. I know that may sound bonkers to you but it's literally the first thing I see. I also told myself that as much as I would like to tone up/get fit/blahblahblah I am not expecting myself to thin out enough that I would feel more comfortable in that style. I felt very statuesque in that dress and just didn't feel like I would be comfy through my day. So that knocks Dress #6 off as well as #10, though 10 was tried on because it was formfitting with a tulle overlay but I just felt like a brick. We called it the Bridgerton dress.
The next dress I want to highlight is #11 - It was too large for me but I loved the idea of this sparkly top with a keyhole back. It also had a not-too-billowy skirt which I really liked. Unfortunately, it does have that cut-me-off-at-the-waist look so it was not a win for me. The two dresses that were more winner for me were #4 and #7. Dress #4 actually introduced me to a Juliet-sleeve or off the shoulder style and I thought it was a really flattering look. The skirt was definitely fuller tulle and had a munch longer train than I would want but it definitely opened my mind. The one design detail that caught my attention (not for the better) was on the bodice there are a couple of flower details that look like low nipples and it's all that I could see, the placement was just off. As for 7 - I don't have great photos of it because the cups weren't sewn in, so they just kept moving all over the place, but it was very flattering and I liked the slit detail. The bonus is that the slit wasn't immediately noticeable (despite my pose) so it was a little surprise.
Finally, the last dress I tried on solely for my SIL's benefit - she told me to try on their biggest ballgown just to see. It made her happy so I went for it. Now I have to mention that this dress had such a full skirt that it quite literally stood up by itself. This dress was a true Disney princess dress and it was the only dress that actually fit me at the shop which surprised the hell out of me. I liked it WAAAAY more than I thought I would but this dress required a black tie affair and a huge ballroom. Again this had the off the shoulder detail and a beautiful illusion back that to me at least, looked like a heart. For the full moment you definitely have to check out my video from the shop just to see how large and in charge this dress was...
After this appointment, we summed up the following as items I wanted or enjoyed (so far):
Light tulle or chiffon skirt
Nothing too billowy
Some sort of cascading detail from the bodice to the skirt
Next week I will have my second shops' adventure up, so be sure to come back to read that.
In the meantime - you can also watch that video here.
Let me know which you liked the best & your thoughts!