Sometimes I wonder why we try so hard to maintain or even lose weight. In 10 years I would still be the same dress size even though your typical office worker gains 2 pounds per year. Vanity sizing would guarantee that I would still be a size 8 at 40. But wedding dresses sizing has its own set rules that makes even a normal sized bride feel like a whale. Actually wedding dresses sizing makes wedding dress shopping down right depressing.
This a post on my thoughts about wedding dresses sizing (sample size) and a tip I learned that could save you some money when you shop for a wedding dress.
What is a sample size wedding dress?
With limited storage space, most bridal salons or boutiques stock a few styles in one or two sizes for brides to try on. Most bridal salons carry their sample size wedding dresses in an 8 or 10. The smaller the salon, the less range in sample sizes they have in stock.
After a bride finds “the dress,” then she would put in an order for her wedding dress months in advance (usually 5-6 months). When the wedding dress arrives at the bridal salon, they tailor the wedding dress to fit the bride. In most cases, it is much easier to order the wedding dress to fit your largest body part and alter the other measurements on the wedding dress to fit your body. For example, it you are a bottom heavy, then you would order the size that fits your butt and hip area and alter the waist and breast area.
Side comment: When I asked why it takes 3-4 months to get a wedding dress made, I found out that most wedding dresses are made in China. And the more elaborate the beading, the longer it takes since the beads are typical hand sewn. I also think “bridal consultants” (they keep correcting me when I refer to them as “sales person”) use the 5-6 months in advance time frame to pressure brides into ordering their wedding dresses during their first visit. Come on, how many of us start wedding dress shopping 8-9 months in advance?
Wedding Dresses Sizing
You would think being a size 8, I would have no problems fitting into these sample size wedding dresses right? Wrong! Depending on the style, I need a size 12 or 14 wedding dress. The reason is that wedding dresses follow European sizing, which tends to be 2 or 3 sizes smaller than American sizing.
Logically I understand that size is just a number on a tag. But it is a little depressing disappointing when I tried to shove my butt into size 10 wedding dresses and I cannot get the dresses pass my thighs. To top it off, when I finally ignore the tag and tried on dresses that would slid pass my butt, the chest area is so lose that I can see my belly button. I know that is what the gigantic clips are for, but how many of us imagine finding “the dress” with gigantic clips on our backs holding the fabric in?
The time when women really needs vanity sizing to boost our self-esteem is when we are shopping for our wedding dress. How is it that I could buy a cheap pair of pants at Old Navy in a size 6, but have to buy a size 14 wedding dress? Those pants probably cost less than $30, but I am spending almost a $1000 on a wedding dress and still feel inadequate about my body?
You would think the time to “fake” the sizing on the labels is when the customer is spending a lot of money. I seriously think that the wedding industry do this on purpose so that when we do find a wedding dress that fits and actually flatter our bodies, we would be willing, no begging, to pay the expensive price tag in order to have that dress after weeks of disheartening wedding dress shopping.
Instead of sticking to my budget of $500, I spent a couple of days pondering what I could cut out in order to come up with $1,500 for the wedding dress that made me look ok. That right – I was thinking of ways to come up with a large amount of money that would make me a little less ugly on my wedding day.
Rachel in Elizabeth Anne Designs brought her dress four sizes smaller at the hips. Based upon her measurements of “bust: size 12 waist: size 14 hips: size 20,” she would have to order a size 20 wedding dress. But Rachel figures she would be able to lose 2 inches off her hips because she cannot bring herself to order a size 20 wedding dress. She is not the first, nor last, woman to order a smaller wedding dress with crossed fingers hoping to lose the weight before the big day.
Wedding dresses sizing tip
A-line wedding dresses flatter almost all body types. But an A-line dress where we have to lace up the back (hence no zipper) with a built-in corset show off a bride’s figure beautifully. By tightening or loosening the laces, the wedding dress could be made to appear forming fitting for most women.
If I gain weight, I just loosen the lacing and if I lose weight, then I just tighten the lacing. And because the back panel is wide, I was able to get a dress that is a size 12. I feel ridiculous saying that I am thankful for buying a size 12 wedding dress instead of a size 14. It took me a while to think about a double digit wedding dress without a tinge of disappointment.
Wedding dress shopping tip
If you are looking to spend $500 or less on a wedding dress, then you would most likely end up buying an “off-the-rack” wedding dress instead of ordering one from China. The advantage of buying an off-the-rack wedding dress, besides the much lower price, is that the dress you are trying on is the dress you would buy. That eliminates the possibility of ordering a too small or too large dress based on your measurements and a wedding dress sizing chart.
And most of the time, you could get a discount off the ticketed price on an off-the-rack wedding dress. Since it is not a “custom made” dress, you would be able to negotiate a typical discount of 10% by pointing out everything that might be wrong with the dress. And do not forget to get them to throw cleaning the dress before you pick it up (who knows how many people tried on that dress before you did).
I was able to negotiate 15% off my wedding dress. The first key to any negotiation is to make sure the wedding consultant like you. Give her a realistic dollar range for your dress, but not the most you are willing to pay.
The second key is to point out everything that is wrong with the dress. One of the eyelets for the lacing was loose, a couple of the ruching was detached, the straps over my shoulders were too slack, and the length too long. I could have easily fix all the “defects” to on the dress myself. The wedding consultant initially offered 9% off because of the “defects.”
So I pretend to hesitate and said that I need to call my husband see if it is okay to spend this kind of money. And when I said that my husband thinks the dress is too expensive and gave her a sad look, she offered me 15% off. Truthfully, I reached that point where I would pay a king’s ransom for a wedding dress that makes me feel beautiful. But she does not need to know that. It never hurts to ask for a discount.
Until next time and thanks for stopping by Small Steps to Health.
Baseball bride and catch bride photo by: Brandon P.
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