Looking for a designer dress without the designer price tag? One survey estimated that Irish brides pay on average €1,290 for a dress which is usually worn for just one day. With a pre-loved wedding dress you’re bound to get more bang for your buck and given their light usage, the majority of dresses are still in immaculate condition.
While you may have been dreaming about this dress since childhood, chances are your 5 year old self forgot to factor in what kind of neckline would make the most of your ample bosom or the advantages of piping in disguising a pot belly.
Unfortunately Gok Wan can’t accompany us all on that all important dress shopping trip, but here’s a basic outline of what you should look for in your dress based on your body type.
- Style: empire waist / fitted bodice with flared skirt
- Neckline: High neck / halter neck / draped
- Skirt: full / pleated / diagonal draping
- Straps & sleeves: strapless / off the shoulder / thin, delicate straps / one shoulder / ¾ sleeves
- –Picture– Strapless with fitted bodice with full a-line skirt
- Style: boned bodice / structured material (e.g. raw silk, taffeta) / drop-waist silk or satin gown
- Neckline: v-neck / scoop
- Skirt: a-line / asymmetrical rouching
- Straps and sleeves: wide, supportive straps
- –Picture– v-neck, thick straps, asymmetric draping of skirt, defined waist
- Style: sheath / mermaid / trumpet / waist defining
- Neckline: v-neck / plunging
- Skirt: drop waist with ruffled/tiered skirt and fitted bodice
- Straps and sleeves: anything works on you lucky well proportioned hourglass shapes!
- –Picture– Mermaid, v-neck, fitted bodice, ruffle skirt
- Style: drop waist / sheath / lace / empire line
- Neckline: rouched bodice / sweetheart neckline / high neckline
- Skirt: open split / midi / ruffles and texture / silk and wispy organza
- Straps and sleeves: thin, toned arms can take a variety of styles
- –Picture– Lace, empire line, high neckline
Research Styles and Designers
- Check out bridal websites for looks which appeal to you – save your time and money on bridal magazines, which are usually full of ads anyway.
- With a rough idea in mind, venture into boutiques and bridal departments and try on these styles, assessing how certain fabrics, cuts, necklines, sleeves, embroidery and trims look on your figure. Don’t get pressured by a pushy sales person– this is purely a fact finding mission!
- Bring a digital camera to these try ons and write down the details of each dress, such as its designer, the size you tried on, its length, price etc
- Later that night over a cup of tea assess the pictures with a fresh mind, noting the pluses and minuses of various dresses. Enlist an honest friend or relative to look over them with you. You may also wish to create a file on your computer, but don’t forget to caption each dress with its details.
- You’re ready to search online for the dress of your dreams!
Tips for Buying
- Try local websites. There’s no point getting a bargain from Taiwan only to receive a dress 5 sizes too small and nothing like the picture. Always try to meet your dress in person- after all, you didn’t commit to marrying your husband based on a grainy photograph!
- While many stains can be removed by a person who specialises in laundering wedding dresses, if you see yellowing from perspiration or brown stains from old food, you’re probably better off looking elsewhere.
- Try to haggle with the seller to obtain the petticoat for the dress, as you already know that it will fit the ensemble. Many sellers will also throw in accessories such as headpieces and shoes– nothing ventured, nothing gained!
- Factor in time and cost for altering the dress. Weddings are stressful enough without stitching together a dress on the day!
- If you cannot collect the dress in person, request a FedEx style courier service for delivery.