Monday, April 5, 2010

Dress Stress: The used route

Even before making the mother/daughter trip to David's Bridal, the idea of buying a used dress had piqued my interest. Gone are the days of having such a thing be a curse on a marriage. Tough economic times have pushed brides to recoup some of their expenses, and there's a sense of camaraderie in making someone else's big day super special with a dress she wouldn't be able to afford otherwise.

A quality dress at a fraction of the cost? I'm game.

Some of the main online marketplaces for dresses are
Preowned Wedding Dresses, Once Wed, Recycled Bride and old local standby Craigslist. The first site is my favorite with the ability to search by street size, dress length, ZIP code, designer and more.

Preowned Wedding Dresses' fab advanced search. (screenshot

In some cases, the dress you get might not even have been worn at a wedding. Many times, newly engaged gals will get overly anxious and snatch up a dress quick, fearing they won't find anything before the big day. Or they'll just change their minds. That's how you can luck out with getting a great dress, new with tags and without having to wait for it to be manufactured. Or salons will try to make way for new styles by selling their gently tried-on samples.

The catch is that 99 percent of the time, the dress will be final sale, with the buyer usually paying shipping costs. The majority of people who are successful through these sites likely have a specific dress or designer in mind and know what size they'd be because they've already tried it on at a bridal salon.

Quality is the biggest concern, and sellers are good about explaining a dress's history, such as if it's had any alterations or if there are traces of dirt. They give measurements, and best in my book, they provide pictures of real people in the dresses! Even if you don't like the idea of used, these sites may be a good resource just to get perspective. Photos of hungry, grumpy models can really turn you off to a dress.

Now it was just a matter of searching around and seeing what higher-end designers I even clicked with...

What's your take on going used for a wedding dress? Too much of a stigma attached? Or does it make simple budgetary sense?

1 comment:

  1. I love the idea of a used wedding dress. My husband and I purchased a vintage ring from the 20s. There's something romantic about buying a legacy piece. Fun blog and fun story! Good luck with everything.