Friday, March 25, 2011

A Principled Choice

As overwhelmed as I am by needing to pick dresses for some of the gorgeous women in our wedding party, I'm not desperate enough to let go of what is perhaps my only abiding principle when it comes to dress shopping.  Under *no* circumstance will I pick a dress from a retailer that does not sell plus-sized dresses.  Obviously there's a backstory here, and it has nothing to do with our wedding party.  This time, it's personal.  (Doesn't that sound so dramatic?!)

When I was notified that I would be a bridesmaid in a wedding, I eventually heard through the grapevine what dress I was supposed to buy.  It was this lovely gown from J. Crew, in a chocolate brown color.

Of course this was not going to be easy for me.  See, I have been a proud plus-size girl for a long time and I am particularly well-endowed in the chest area.  Can you see where this is going?  Yeah, so J. Crew sizes go up to a 16.  Now take a look at the side view of the top portion of that dress.  Even if I could fit into a size 16 waist, there's no way even one of my boobs could've squeezed into the top of that dress.  (I know, that's TMI.  Just stick with me cuz I swear I'm going somewhere with this.)  Because I didn't really have a relationship with the bride, I didn't feel I could call her and explain the situation.  So what could I do?  Well, the only option (besides backing out, and you gotta really make that your last resort) was to buy 2 dresses and find a seamstress to magically create a whole new dress for me.  And that's exactly what happened, but let me just tell you this...  In the end, that one bridesmaid dress cost me almost $600! 

Needless to say, it left me with a horrifically, embarassingly bad taste in my mouth.  So when it came to choosing dresses for my own wedding, I have vowed to veer far, far away from designers and manufacturers that offer only limited sizes.  That means none of these beauties will ever get to compete for the affection of our wedding party members.

I could easily shop plus-size only departments, but that won't work for all our party members (unless I wanted to retaliorate against the universe by forcing our small-framed wedding party folk to cough up the money to pay for expensive alterations as some sort of plus-sized cultural immersion experience - but I'm not *that* evil). 

Thus far it's looking like taking this stand will mean purchasing dresses from a big name bridal retailer, and that's totally fine with me.  So we're considering David's Bridal, Alfred Sung, and Alfred Angelo (what's up with dress designers named Alfred?), all of whom offer sizes up to at least 26 and often 30. 

In a world of sheer madness where it's my job to choose another grown person's attire, knowing that I practice what I preach gives me just a little bit of much-needed peace. 

Do you have any abiding principles when it comes to your wedding?  And have you chosen to make any principled choices?


  1. Oooooo, this is a great post. DB has lovely BM dresses - when I bought my dress there, I couldn't help browsing through them even though I didn't have BMs. I think it's great that you are sticking to your principles! I am the first of my friends to get married but when they start getting engaged I'll definitely have my own principles to stick by based on how people treated me as a bride.

  2. You are one amazing bridesmaid to just suck it up and buy TWO dresses. This makes me mad- I think you should write to JCrew and let them know about this story. You certainly can't be the first person that this has happened to.


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