Thursday, April 29, 2010

Dress McFugly

In my quest to engage you, I am going to answer another question posed to me on a fairly regular basis by brides in my dressing room:

Do brides ever pick out a dress that looks awful on them?

The answer:yes. I like to think that my involvement in the process causes this to happen far less than the average person shopping on their own or without experienced assistance (see entry titled "Fiorella? Who Are You?" for my resume). But there will always be circumstances in which personal taste is the determining factor in the selection of the gown. For example, someone may love the look of a mermaid gown, the sophistication, the glamour, and they truly envision themselves in that cut. When she tries a mermaid on, she sees a beautiful version of herself and who am I to tell her that her vision, her personal opinion of how she looks, is wrong?

My strategy at this point is usually to point out what I consider to be the problem areas, "and as you look at yourself from the back, how do you like the fit across your derriere?" or to suggest that she consider an alternative, "since you like this one so much, I have another I'd like you to try on that looks very similar, but has a slightly different shape across the thigh area. Then we can see which one you like better!" But if the end result is that the bride is in love with a dress that isn't my idea of perfect on her, my opinion is irrelevant. In my dressing room, the bride reigns supreme.

I always think of two particular brides when I think of choices I would have made differently had I been selecting their gowns myself:

Bride A, let's call her Monique, had a very narrow waist and a very full hip. She had seen a dress that she was unable to try on because it was too small to fit over her hips. I put her into several other dresses with similar fits that had similar details across the hipline designed to draw attention to the body-hugging cut. My opinion was that each of these were wrong for her, drawing attention to exactly where she didn't need it. But she loved them, saying that all the detail in the area distracted from her large hips. She ordered her dream dress and I cringed!

Bride B, let's call her Mary, was a small girl, petite, flat chested, and had a very plain look about her. She had long straight hair, wore no make-up, and was soft spoken. She and her Mom fell in love with an over-the-top beaded halter gown. Halters are often difficult to wear if they aren't filled out by an ample bust, and the effect made her look tiny, like she was wearing someone else's dress. The crowning glory was the enormous sparkling necklace (yes, a beaded halter and a necklace!) earrings, crown, beaded veil and the long gloves. By the end she looked like a 12-year-old dressing up as a bride for halloween. But Mom cried tears of joy, and they loved it. So my less-is-more or pick-one-focal-point philosophy was irrelevant; I wasn't going to have to look at these pictures for the next 50 years!

I understand the reason why so many people ask this question. Every bride is terrified of making the wrong choice. Let me lay your fears to rest and say that the vast majority of brides pick their dress wisely. Listen carefully to what your consultant tells you, choose who accompanies you on this appointmet carefully, and remember that if you love the way you look, that is the most important thing anyway!