Tag Archives: dresses

Dressed to Impress: Back to the Drawing Board

After our impromptu dress shopping day numero deux, I decided to look for more options that suited my initial inspiration of lace, non-strapless, slim-fitting dresses.  One thing that Connie at CK Bridal said was that Allure gowns may be a good option for the type of dress I liked.  She didn’t have much to offer at her shop, but that stuck with me.

So I looked up Allure gowns, and found myself drooling over the gorgeous options!  I was particularly drawn to the “Romance” dresses, and they seemed like they were just what I was looking for!

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Allure style 2653 is pretty and different.  I like the high neckline but I don’t think I want to be that covered, even if it’s gorgeous.

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Allure style 2619 is pretty similar to my dream dress.  Slim-fitting, nice lace, not strapless, a little bit of bling, keyhole back even?!  I like it.

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Allure style 2558 is pretty similar, but with a fuller skirt and a closed back.

Back view via

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This one is gorgeous on top, but lacks the lace around the hem that I really liked.

All this to say, now that we went back to the drawing board, I was feeling like I found my match.  The Allure lace gowns were gorgeous, and it seemed like they were much easier to find in-store than the Maggie Sottero gown for which I had fallen so hard months before.

So when I received an email regarding an Allure trunk show at a bridal shop a couple of weeks away, I emailed MOH PT and asked if she’d like to go with me.  I wasn’t holding my breath, and we were still a long while away from the wedding, so I just thought I’d browse and didn’t expect to buy a dress that far in advance of the wedding.  She agreed, so I made an appointment at MB Bride, and that was that!

Now, I haven’t addressed this yet, but during my pre-wedding planning research (aka reading a lot of wedding books after we got engaged), I read a lot about pre-owned wedding dresses.  Like Miss Llama, I had a champagne taste on a beer budget, and the thought of paying hundreds or thousands of dollars for a wedding dress pained me to no end.  So, during my research, I decided that I would find a dress online that was pre-owned, or buy a sample in order to get something I liked at a fair price.

So all of these trips to try on dresses were really just for me to find a dress that I liked so that I could scour our beloved interwebs and find a great deal on the dress.  I’m a bargain hunter, amateur coupon-er, and all-around cheapskate… when I want to be.  So I was sure (I’m not cocky; I’m confident!) that I would find a great deal on a wedding dress.  I really wish I had known about VOWS from I Found the Gown back when I was shopping.  There’s a very real chance that I would’ve taken a road trip to find a designer gown at a huge discount!  Alas, I did not, and was confined to browsing locally, and shopping online.

You may ask, why am I telling you this?  You’ll just have to stay tuned to find out!  The third shopping trip is coming up next…

Did you do a lot of dress shopping before finding the one?  Were you concerned with finding a good deal?  Who’s your favorite dress designer?

Dressed to Impress: the Second Go-Around

Our first dress excursion was during my summer break from school.  After not finding THE DRESS, I anticipated waiting until winter or spring break from school before I tried on any more dresses.  And then I got an email from The Knot about a “local” boutique, which was having a Maggie Sottero trunk show.  I hoped they’d have my dream dress, and made an appointment on short notice.

MOH PT came with me, and we checked out this small boutique, CK Bridal Boutique, which I think has since closed.  We met with Connie, who was very helpful and gave me some great advice, which was to ask about certain options offered by the designer.  For example, Casablanca had some gorgeous dress offerings, and they will do customization (ie., creating a sweetheart neckline, or adding straps, changing details, etc.), which was a huge draw for me, since I couldn’t seem to find anything that was perfect as-is.

Sorry for the blurry cell phone pics, ya’ll.  Super mega apologies, too, for not having any links to what these dress styles were!  I think they were older styles of Maggie Sottero and Casablanca and I couldn’t find similar ones online.

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This one is a little more of a mermaid than I tried on before, and we modified the neckline to be a little more of a sweetheart.  It didn’t woo me, though, so we moved on.

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Another satin gown, which was pretty much the only one that satisfied my love for bling, but not lace, and not at all what I wanted.

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I categorized this one with the tiers of lace into the “tablecloth lace” category, so it was quickly vetoed, even if it had some pretty characteristics, like the scalloped edge on top.  It just doesn’t say “wedding” for me.

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This one was probably the best option of this stop.  But it didn’t have bling and it didn’t have anything special for me.

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It may have had a little something to do with the fact that this sample was gigantic on me, but I thought this one was awful.  I think this is an old Maggie, but I could be wrong.

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To finish on a high note, this one had great beading, lace, sweetheart neckline.  Overall a really nice dress.  But I still didn’t love it.

It was really at this stop that I started realizing that I really just wanted what I wanted.   Connie asked me if I had picked a dress already, and I said “No, but I have a dream dress.”  and she said, “then you’re just going to keep comparing everything else to that dream dress.”  Such obvious words, but she was so right.  The reason why nothing was working for me was because I was trying to compare these dresses to what I had in mind… even though that idea was totally different from the dresses I was trying on.

It was time to quit trying on other dresses for the sake of trying on different styles, and time to buckle down and try on the dresses that I could see myself wearing!

I did a little more online searching, and loved this Maggie Sottero dress too.

Lorie by Maggie Sottero

This dress fit all my criteria – straps, lace, bling, a nice (small) train, slim fit.  Although, I don’t really have pronounced shoulders, which means that straps slip off my shoulders fairly easily.  Almost as annoying as strapless dresses.  I’m really just not made for dresses!

I even thought about something with sleeves, to help my straps/strapless issue.

Theda by Maggie Sottero

But for now, MOH PT and I packed it up, thanked Connie for her time, and with no plans for dress shopping ahead, went back to the drawing board.

Did you have someone point out an obvious truth to you while you were shopping?  Was your dress shopping a multiple day experience?  Did you have to go back to the drawing board?

Dressed to Impress: the Inspiration

I know I’ve said it before, but I wasn’t one of those girls who planned her wedding when she was younger.  I didn’t have visions of me in big poofy ballgowns or anything.  So when Monsieur P proposed, I finally had to sit down and really think about what I wanted to look when I got married.  THAT was a weird time.  What do I want to look like?

Well, I knew that I wanted to look like me, that’s easy.  Years before Monsieur and I got engaged, I actually started easing my hair back to my natural color (I know it sounds ridiculous, but I had dyed my hair dark and I knew I wanted it to be somewhat natural when all the major things in my life started happening.  And that process literally took a year).  So being my natural blonde was one thing I knew I wanted for my wedding look.  And I’m naturally pale, but don’t worry, I got that on lock whether I want it or not.

All terrible photos personal.

Just for fun, the first-ever pic of Miss Parisian & Mrs. Palm Tree - from Mrs. PT's 21st bday.  A testament to how not-blonde I was.
Just for fun, the first-ever pic of Miss Parisian & Mrs. Palm Tree – from Mrs. PT’s 21st bday. A testament to how not-blonde I was.

But what did I want to wear?  What kind of dress even SUITS me?  Who am I?  What fits me?  The whole thing was really strange.  I’ve never been a big dress person to begin with.  If I had the pictures readily available (I’m so relieved that I don’t), I’d share my high school prom photos with you.  Sophomore year I borrowed a dress of my best friend’s older sister, which was a cupcake-type dress.  So I got that out of my system.  Junior prom, I bought my dress from DEB (oh yeah, DEB, taking it back) for a whopping $130, which doubled as my Junior Miss dress (what up, “scholarship program” pageant friends?), and senior year, I borrowed my sister’s dress from a wedding in which she was a bridesmaid.  Suffice it to say, I’m not a huge dress-buying person.  So suddenly I was at a complete loss when faced with this massive endeavor to find a wedding dress.

Ugh, the Deb year.  I still don't wear strapless dresses because I can't hold them up...
Ugh, the Deb year. I still don’t wear strapless dresses because I can’t hold them up…
One of the borrowed-dress years.  And yes, my hair was short as crap and I had braces.  It's a whole different Parisian.
One of the borrowed-dress years. And yes, my hair was short as crap and I had braces. It’s a whole different Parisian.

So let’s take it back 40 years… my mom MADE HER OWN DRESS for my parents’ wedding.  There was a time when I thought “sure, I could wear my mom’s dress.”  Except that MOH Big Sis apparently wore/modified my mom’s wedding dress for a Halloween costume one year.  So that option was out the window.  Which is fine, a clingy satin dress wouldn’t really be my ideal wedding dress anyway, though I’m sentimental so I would’ve liked that aspect.

Simple and gorgeous, but I’m way too lumpy for this plain of a dress.

And so… to my beloved Google I went.

I was drawn to the classic look of lace dresses.  Ahhhhh, yes.  I’m not great at describing myself, but “classic” taste I think fits me pretty well.  Some of my friends might call me “boring” but I like to call it “classic.”  And so, a lace wedding dress fit me pretty well, I thought.  Plus all-over lace is a great way to cover up lumps and body imperfections, no?

Well, all logic aside, when I started looking online at lace wedding dresses, I fell in love with this beauty:

My dream dress. Maggie Sottero Bernadette

They since have updated the model, but I prefer the old model because she’s blonde and I can visualize myself so much better in the ivory.

I mean, look at this detail!

Up close, via the knot

But, alas, my dress lust pointed out that no dress shops near me carried her, and that was the end of that.

Because both MOH Big Sis and MOH Palm Tree got their dresses at David’s Bridal, one might think that I’d start my dress search at David’s Bridal.  But no, I looked online at their selection of lace dresses and could not be swayed.  So I started my dress search at another big bridal store, Alfred Angelo.

I even thought for a minute that I could be swayed by one of their Disney Collection dresses.  I mean, I have always loved Belle… but no.  That dress is not for me.

Ahh Belle, via Alfred Angelo

Maybe if they had this when I was looking, but it’s too late now.  Plus I never really identified with Snow White anyway.  I mean, what kind of girl lives with 7 men, amirite?! 😉

Snow White, via Alfred Angelo

So I was pretty sure I was looking for lace, but I wanted to try on plenty of different silhouettes so I could be sure that the slim lace gown I envisioned would be the one to look best on my body.  I’ve watched enough Say Yes to the Dress and I Found the Gown (sorry, I REALLY like TLC) to know that what you think  you want isn’t always what you end up with!

Did you play wedding when you were a little girl?  or were you at a complete loss like I was?  Did you wear a homemade wedding gown?