Brides, brides, brides. Let me tell you about something that happened his week.
About 6 months ago a bride ordered a dress from me. It was a beautiful dress, I loved it on her. It was fitted all the way from the strapless top to the knees where it had a soft flare. It hugged her curves in all the best ways, at least the sample did. She had tried it on at another store before visiting me, but as I've heard before, this other store doesn't have a great reputation, and after giving them a try and getting some bad service, she decided to come look at us.
So here she is in my dressing room and she decides that this is The One. We hug, we take pictures, and now it is time to size her. I take her measurements and compare them to the Maggie Sottero size chart. She is about a size 6 (remember from my previous posts that bridal sizing is not the same as American sizing, so this size 6 is like a American size 2) which fits with my comparison of how the other dresses she tried are fitting her and how much extra fabric I am able to pull in the back. Then she drops the bomb.
"I would like to order a size 2," she says.
I explain to her the differences in bridal sizes vs. American sizes, I explain that dresses are easier to take in than to let out, and I discuss why the size 6 is the right size choice for her.
"I would like to order a size 2," she says. She explains that when she tried it on at a previous store she was able to try it on in a 2 and it fit perfectly, so that's what she'd like to do.
Now this is not adding up. First of all, her measurements and what I am seeing in front of me are not size 2. Plus, I don't know a single bridal store (aside from warehouse stores that deal in off-the-rack gowns) that would pay for a sample in a size 2. The only people that would be able to try it on are girls that wear a bridal size 2-6, and because it is so fitted, I'm not even sure a size 6 could get it on enough to see it. A store wouldn't make that bad investment. I shared this thought with her, gently asking if it was possible that she was mistaken. She told me that the other store had told her that the dress was a size 2.
As is our policy, the bride is in charge, so although I gave her my expert opinion that 6 was the way to go, she decided to order the size 2. You can probably figure out what happened this week. Her dress arrived, she came in to try it on and could barely squeeze it onto her body. Contortions and the assistance of two people were required, and once she had it on the seams were maxed out. The taffeta was stretched so tightly across her backside that her mother said, "will you even be able to sit down?" Her answer? "Why would I need to sit down?"
I felt awful about the fit of her dress, and our seamstresses are going to try to help her because her wedding is about a month away, but the bottom line is: she took the word of the shady store to which she had been previously over my good advice. My guess? When they told her that the dress she was wearing was a size 2, they were using American equivalencies instead of the manufacturers sizes. By using their own sizing system they would accomplish two goals, 1. make the bride feel better about the size dress she requires and 2. sabotage a bride who decides to order her dress online (see my post about wedding karma). And so although I was measuring her, showing her the size chart and even using other Maggie Sottero gowns as an example of how a fitted dress would be, she couldn't get that little "I'm a size 2" bug out of her head.
I hope she has a beautiful wedding and that everything works out for her. The lesson to be learned here is to trust the person who is giving you evidence to back up their advice. When you are buying a dress, size charts should be made available for you to see. Your consultant needs to explain to you the reasoning behind the size she recommends (believe me, I know that there are ruthless stores out there that will do the opposite, order you a big size to get the alterations income) so don't be afraid to ask questions and not commit until you understand and agree.