Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Shopping for other people is hard

Now that I have my dress, I can start on the next wedding day clothes project: bridesmaid's dresses! (You might say the next project is what the groom wears, but that's his department!) I want them to be navy (I have visions of brightly colored bouquets standing out against the navy dresses), and I want them to be roughly the same level of formality as my gown. Aside from that I'm not terribly picky.

And yet, the search for a nice bridesmaid's dress is proving even more puzzling than the search for my own gown. I would love to find a line of dresses where each bridesmaid can choose a different neckline, but this is trickier than I thought. For example, I went to a bridesmaids' salon in Denver and loved Amsale's line of tissue taffeta gowns -- they are elegant and modern, and come in a gorgeous navy blue.

I'm strongly considering telling my bridesmaids to just pick any Amsale tissue taffeta gown they like. But one of my 'maids is well-endowed and has never found a comfortable strapless bra. Although she has promised to resume the search for a strapless bra should I choose a dress that needs one, I'd really prefer to find a gown that gives her the option of wearing a normal bra. And unfortunately, the only Amsale that has actual straps is this bubble-hemmed monstrosity:

I tried this dress on. In mango (think shiny pinky-orange). It was, without question, the ugliest garment I have ever worn. It made me look like I was wearing a pink potato sack over the world's most enormous butt. AND there was a giant bow in the back. No! Bad designer! Bad!

Another potential option seems to be Aria Bridesmaids, which lets the bride choose the fabric and length but lets each bridesmaid choose the neckline and silhouette she likes best. That's great for my bridesmaid who'd like to wear a good supportive bra -- she loves boatneck dresses like this one.

They also come in a great midnight (aka navy) silk shantung. I've ordered a dress to try on (they have a try-on program, you pay $15 to have a dress shipped to you and you're responsible for shipping it back within a week), and I'm eager to see what I think in person.

The problem here: the dresses are GIGANTIC. According to their size chart, I'm a 0, which I find sort of amazing. My closet is filled with 4s, 6s, and the occasional 8 -- but no 0s. I have never been a 0 in my life. And that's their smallest size, and one of my bridesmaids is definitely smaller than I am. I don't want to saddle her with a gigantic alterations bill.

At the suggestion of pretty much everyone in the whole entire world, I also checked out the website for the wildly popular J Crew bridesmaids collection -- and let me tell you, I almost passed out from shock when I saw the prices. $350?! Holy crap! I tried on a Vera Wang that was $250! But I did like this silk V-neck number (which is fortunately "only" $195):

No neckline options here, though. Hmmm ...


mgriff4973 said...

Just wanted to get back to you as I had a great bridesmaids decision making process at the boutique and actually wanted to share my bubble dress pics with you as i had girls fighting over well not really but it was a negotiating process. There were 6 girls all in different taffeta dresses cocktail length and even some have already worn them twice. I would def tell my other friends to go to Amsale for maids as the fit the best and very young and fashion-y;) see my blog below as i couldn't figure out how to post pics here.

Bride in Exile said...

Thanks for the encouragement, mgriff - I'm sure we'll find something that works for us! But my well-endowed bridesmaid hates empire waists even more than she hates strapless, so I think the bubble dress is a definite "no."

Anonymous said...

I'm generally opposed to bubble bottoms because it just looks like the wearer had a bad case of static and it's tucked under.

I do think that bubble bottoms also tend to look weird on girls with big boobs; it's like a double (quadruple?) dose of bubblage.

Jcrew dresses are expensive, but they are pretty cute, I must say. And sizing is pretty standard, which is nice.

Bride in Exile said...

AND the great thing with JCrew is that they'll accept returns if one girl decides she'd be happier with a different size. Traditional bridesmaid lines won't.

I have to say, the more I look at that JCrew dress, the more I like it -- I may try to hunt one down in person.

Carolyn and Ryan said...

I read somewhere that you ordered some fabric samples of the deep atlantic color from Jcrew. I'm looking at the Lydia dress in that color and would love to know what you thought of the sample. TIA!