With the traumatic experience of the first store behind us, Mom and I bolstered our spirits over lunch. I ordered one of the heaviest meals on the menu—a Monte Cristo. Screw it, I thought. Who care if I’m dress shopping. I’ve never had one and I’m hungry. (The women in my family get cranky when not fed—a lesson Mr. P quickly picked up on.)
Between bites of the deep-fried goodness, we discussed the varying levels of Fail! at the last store to better prepare for the next stop. Although it wouldn’t take much to create a better experience, the next salon immediately assigned us an attendant who explained their system for pulling dresses: place your allotted six colored rings on the dresses you’d like to try on, and we’ll bring them to you. (Color coding and labeling—I’m in!)
I systematically worked my way around the salon, pulling gowns that had a variety of shapes and formalities so I could begin to narrow down what worked. At this time, we had not decided on a venue, let alone a date. Oops!
Dress #1 was her pull. I would have pulled it without her, so we were already off to a good start. I knew it was a Watters by the coded tag (“WW”), but didn’t find out it was the Austin until I did some internet sleuthing. I loved it. The skirt was so full of movement, yet light. Goodbye, heavy princess gowns! The attendant only had to ask how I’d rate it before I had implemented a 1–10 numerical value system, 10 being mind-blowingly awesome. This one scored a 7/10, mostly to reserve excitement for later dresses.
The attendant took it as a positive sign, quickly produced a veil, and was halfway to pinning it to my head before my eyes bugged out and hands went up defensively. “Not unless you want me to have a panic attack.” Stopped her in her tracks…from laughter. I have no idea why I say these things; they just slip out. I was very serious about the “no veil” thing.
The next few didn’t rate so highly. A four, which “wasn’t one you need to spend any time in” per the attendant, then a six for an Alfred Angelo dress with fitted bodice and ruching. Others were much better on the rack than on me: Watters Torreon and a Rina di Montella. (Looking back I realize the sample sizes at this store were a street size six. That knowledge combined with my disproportionate hips and the close fit of Torrean through said area would have been useful to my self-esteem.)
Another with poufy tulle and strapless bedazzled bodice didn’t make it out of the dressing room. It was a true princess gown. I felt ridiculous in it. The Watters Austin score was adjusted to 7.5/10. I tried on a few more gowns, including the Sophia Tolli below, that weren’t as pretty, romantic, or comfortable as the first. While she restocked gowns, I surreptitiously snapped a photo of my favorite—the Watters Austin.
Heading back to Delaware, I felt confident that if I could find a dress in West Virginia for a reasonable price, then I could find one I liked even more here.
How did you decide which dresses you liked? Did you create a rating system or rely on your gut reaction?
(All personal photos unless otherwise noted.)