Thursday, 3 February 2011

dress shopping

Even though I was lucky enough to win my wedding dress, I must be one of the only engaged ladies in the world who hasn't at least tried one of the blooming things on. Ever. And because I'll need to know what to ask for from the lovely people who will make it, I'm definitely going to have to go dress shopping.

Except I think there must be something wrong with me. After a bad first experience in a dress shop, I thought I'd got over it - I would only go to nice shops. But visiting two of these stores with their kind and helpful staff the other day - and not even trying on a dress - brought me out in an almost physical panic.

So last weekend, I took the first steps down the road of mental preparation for dress shopping. I booked some appointments at a couple of shops for a few weeks' time and then, with my Mum, went into a couple of different shops to browse.

The second I walked in to shop number one, I had an unpleasant feeling in the pit of my stomach, It was as if I was about to go on stage, aged seven, for my debut as a snowflake in the school play. It was so close to excitement - those lovely butterflies - but it wasn't nice.

The place was a bunfight - people were hauling dresses from racks, cramming themselves into unforgiving gold satin bridesmaid frocks and cooing, all of them cooing. In the whole shop, there might have been two dresses that I could have envisaged myself wearing - the rest just made me feel odd, a little bit sweaty and shaky. I felt slightly queasy.

In the second store, the room had four special corners, like stages, where brides could stand in their large white confections and stare at themselves in a dozen angled mirrors simultaneously. One girl was standing there, on the verge of tears, surrounded by middle-aged relatives who were all asking again and again, "Is this the one, d'y'think? Is it? Is this the one?' She just kept dumbly nodding and squeaking.

I left feeling wobbly. I've got to deal with the fact that there is a day booked soon when I will be the one in the dress. I really want that day to be fun. I really need to get over this.


  1. I hear ya. I went on my own and tried on several gowns the first time i went, and I nearly hyperventilated. Mostly I think I was trying things that I knew weren't ME. But I was half expecting some sort of realisation that I did in fact like them, and of course that didn't happen. The next time, I specifically chose over the top gowns that I knew would look ridiculous because I wanted to make it easier to walk into nice shops and KNOW what I didn't want, and be confident in telling salespeople what I didn't like (which is a lot.) it worked, sort of. I still wouldn't say I enjoy it - but its only the beginning!

  2. You will get over it and be fine, I am sure. Maybe you just need to go to a dress shop which has more of the styles you want and which is less busy. All the other people I didn't know beng there looking and judging and nudging each other made me feel so uncomfortable. But I ended up in a shop where the owner was so lovely and understanding and then it was all fine.

  3. Yes, the idea of some stranger hoiking me into a dress from near-nakedness gives me the complete heebie-jeebies. At least you won't have to then hand them wodges of cash for the experience! Courage, comrade....

  4. Do you have a, lets not say controlling, determined friend? One who will be honest with you and who can read your facial expressions down to the flick of an eyebrow? That is the friend you need to take with you, so when you flick that eyebrow she can jump in with the 'no no no no no'.
    Or the next best solution is that you put all of your politeness to one side and be RUDE.
    Try going to small wedding shops.