Friday, September 19, 2008

Sample Sale Madness

Last night I went to the Mark Ingram Bridal Sample Sale.  It wasn't the scrum I thought it would be--I've been to sample sales before and thought it would be an all-out fight to the death.  This was relatively civilized, although we did all have to try dresses on in a common room.  I'll tell you, when focused on a task like picking a wedding dress, we have no shame.  Everybody was all hanging out in their underwear and even less.

I wear a size 8-10 on the street, which in bridal gown size means I'm a 12-14.  (Can someone please explain why bridal gowns are sized to make you feel fatter?  Anyone?) If you decide to go to a bridal sample sale, be aware that most of the gowns are size 8 or 10, which means you should be a size 4 or 6 to be able to fit into them.  I did manage to squeeze into a few, but altering them would have been impossible.  There were some gorgeous gowns, though.  I did like an Anne Barge similar to this one:

There was another gown I liked from an Italian designer whose name I can't remember, but the lace at the bottom of the hem would have made it impossible to shorten.

I think the problem with shopping for wedding gowns at a sample sale is that it's difficult to imagine them in context.  You're in a big room with 10 other half naked women, all competing for the same dresses, your underwear is sticking out the back, random people with headsets are coming through shouting, "Can I take that?  Do you have any dresses for me to take?"...it's hard to imagine being serene and bridal!  I know lots of women do it but they must be made of sturdier stuff than me.  I really had difficulty imagining myself in any of the dresses on my wedding day.  And normally I'm a sample sale stalwart!  Plus, wedding dresses are big and heavy.  It was tough carrying them around.  

The other thing that I wasn't aware of is that sample sale wedding dresses are not in good shape.  A lot of them have rips, busted zippers, and ragged hems.  You would definitely need a good tailor to have your dress ready to wear on your wedding day.

Did you buy your dress at a sample sale?  Have you ever been to the Running of the Brides?  Do you have any tips or tricks to make it easier?  


Blogger Skywalker said...

I have no idea about making you feel better - I went the David's Bridal route after much anxiety about the "Walmart of Bridal Shops". But be forewarned going to any shop reqires a lot of patience and kindness.

I did feel EXTREMELY FAT when I had to try on dresses - I think they do that to deflate your ego as a bride.

Friday, September 19, 2008 3:18:00 PM  
Blogger Ten Thousand Only said...

i did go to a sample sale. and i ended up buying a dress though it wasn't my intention to do so. the dress definitely isn't perfect and i definitely felt the pressure to buy on the spot (otherwise, it would have been "taken by another bride in 2 seconds"! gasp!). one thing i don't regret is having an honest friend with me to help me make my decision.

Sunday, September 21, 2008 1:03:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I went to three Amsale sample sales, one Melissa Sweet, one Jim Hjelm and finally found "the one" at the Running of the Brides this past summer.

For me it was easier to get through sample sales and the running because before attending the sales I went and made appointments at every single possible place in the DC Area and surrounding regions and tried on a million dresses (ok, maybe 60 or so). By the time I got to the sales I had a great idea of what I wanted and what looked good on me.

Also, not all sample dresses are raggedy. Some are just the ones that were frequently tried on as floor samples. Just keep in mind that you might not find the one, or that the cost of tailoring or altering a greatly reduced sample dress might still be cheaper than paying retail prices. Good luck!

Sunday, September 21, 2008 3:04:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

three comments for you: first, if your self-identity is that closely tied to the number sewn into your garment, you've got larger issues (bridal designers still use "true sizing" though they're starting to bow to the same "vanity sizing" that sportswear designers long gave into.) Second, as mentioned by another responder, all samples are not ratty--some boutiques treat them as investments that must be preserved in order to hold their values for eventual sale to blushing brides who will someday wear them down the aisle (others stores apparently don't care, but you should shop in those stores anyway.) Finally, you also shouldn't subject yourself to bridal gown stampedes under any circumstances (unless you also find Pamplona sporting, and diving with sharks exhilarating.) Every bridal salon--even the sedate, elegant ones, have samples to sell off--shop there for your sale bargains. Best wishes ...

Sunday, September 21, 2008 10:09:00 PM  

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