Miss Mink Starts the Wedding-Gown Search (and a Discussion of Buying “Preowned”)

Did you ever buy wedding magazines before you were engaged?  Once in a while, I bought them on business trips, devoured them, and then got rid of them before coming home.  I don’t know why I felt like I wasn’t allowed to look at them if I didn’t have a ring on my left hand.  The one time I brought a particularly wonderful issue of Martha Stewart Weddings home from a trip, I stashed it in a hiding place.  I forgot about said hiding place until Mr. Mink was helping me flip my mattress.  Oops.  He had a good laugh about my illicit magazine.

Aside from looking at magazines, my favorite source for wedding gown inspiration when I started my dress search was an unconventional one: New York Magazine.


Screen shot of Amsale’s Spring 2010 runway show / Image from nymag.com

You see, while plenty of wedding websites have gown search engines, few group gowns by collection while also having large images of dresses from multiple angles.

Sure, the wedding websites have thousands of pictures, but after using one of the “grande dame” of wedding websites, I wasn’t impressed with the results. Their catalog of images was at least one season out of date for most major designers, the images were tiny, and the information provided was limited.

New York Magazine seems to catalog every garment that is sent down the runway at New York Fashion Week and Bridal Market. I spent days browsing their galleries. After a while, I realized that there was an entire portion of the wedding gown market that I wasn’t seeing (the non-designer gowns), but there was so much variety in the designer collections, that I was okay with that. I decided that if I couldn’t afford to buy a designer gown, I would buy a sample or a second hand dress.


Rivini Spring 2012 show / From Completely Unveiled

I didn’t tell anyone about this decision. Though I know plenty of people who shop in vintage and secondhand stores for their regular clothing, there seems to be a stigma attached to doing so for a wedding gown (unless it’s a family gown). Buying a preowned or sample gown seemed to make so much sense. I might be able to find a designer gown for the same price as a non-designer one. What’s more, I wouldn’t be the catalyst for the production of an entirely new garment and the part of me that is concerned about consumption and being green thought that was a good thing.

How do you feel about “preowned” dresses? Would you wear a secondhand dress? Do you think buying “preowned” is something to hide?


Mrs. Mink

Charlottesville, Virginia
Wedding Date:
June 2012
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  1. Guest Icon Guest
    roxqtlwu, Guest @ 1:15 pm

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  2. Guest Icon Guest
    BUYVEETIDS, Guest @ 9:55 pm


  3. Guest Icon Guest
    Debra, Guest @ 9:13 am

    I’m speaking as as recent bride who just sold my dress . . . I think it’s the best idea ever. Mine was a designer dress (Claire Pettibone) that I had no business spending that much money on. But I knew that the price would be easier to swallow if I planned to sell it in the end. I loved my dress so much and am sorry to have parted with it, but I’m thrilled that someone who loves it as much as me will be wearing it again. If I had kept it, it would just end up being packed away for the rest of my life and then who knows what would have happened to it.

    The single hardest thing, I think, about buying a used dress is not being able to try it on beforehand. This is what kept me from buying used when I was shopping for a dress. The person who bought my dress, however, had just tried on the same dress at a high-end bridal shop, so she knew exactly how it would look on her.

    It worked out great for both of us because we both got the dress of our dreams at a price we could afford.

  4. mink Bee
    mink 2178 posts, Buzzing bee @ 9:29 am

    @Debra: Yay! I’m so glad it worked out!

    That’s definitely another way to go through the dress search…looking a little over whatever you were expecting to spend with the thought of selling afterwards.

  5. Guest Icon Guest
    unoNEsha, Guest @ 2:42 am

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