Modern Dress Shopping


Long before she says “I do,” a bride has a pretty good idea of her dream dress. Whether she’s just Type A or accesses the wealth of information on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest boards galore, she’s pretty much decided if it’s Vera Wang or Amsale, strapless or one-shoulder.

But the journey to find what she really wants may be fraught with detours. After all, what she sees on the computer screen — a sinewy number on a 5-foot, 10-inch supermodel — may not go over well on her 5-foot, 4-inch curvy frame. Or, the price of her favorite online gown may not be in the same league as her budget.

“Pinterest and social media are a blessing and a curse for bridal shops,” says Ty McBrayer, owner of Twirl Lexington, a bridal boutique in Lexington, Ky. “What they see may be a $10,000 dress, and they have a $1,000 budget. It sets standards that can’t be met with certain subjects.”

To navigate the road to her special purchase, bridal experts offer ways to keep the dream in check.

Bridal stores know that everything is about research these days when planning a wedding, especially because a typical client is of the social media generation. (One of the first wedding blogs out there, Style Me Pretty, notes that the median age of its user is 27.) But, at the end of the research day, the ideas are someone else’s and not yours. Do what’s best for you. Picking the color purple for your wedding because it looks pretty online may not be the best idea if it’s not a color you really like.

By all means, buy your dress in person. Feel free to canvass designer websites and social media platforms for dress options and to pester them with questions, including that of the gown’s price. Then, gather your ideas on your Pinterest page and email the link to the local bridal boutique before your appointment, but don’t buy online. If you want to get a head start on fittings, try using an iPhone app like The Knot’s Wedding Dress Look Book, which edits the dress-browsing process by body type, personality and wedding style.

“We wouldn’t recommend ordering gowns from websites because you’re never sure if the quality of the gown is up to par,” says Lynn Annatone, marketing director for Modern Trousseau, based in Woodbridge, Conn. “You want to touch and feel it. It’s a once in a lifetime purchase so make sure you’re getting what you want. “

One of the biggest benefits of the Internet information overload is that you can save money. Finding out about sample sales used to be more of a hush-hush affair. Now, designers and store owners use Facebook and Twitter to alert followers about upcoming events, including trunk shows, which often involve discounts or extra perks.

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