Thursday, February 3, 2011

Who Knew It Would Be So Hard? (Part II. - The Search for the Perfect MOB Dress)

As the season turned from summer to fall and the Holidays approached, I began running around to many stores and bridal shops in my area. I found a few dresses in the designer lines I had seen and liked on the Internet, but not the particular styles I was looking for. And I discovered that these designer lines were for the most part, out of my price range anyway.

I had heard good things about the Alfred Angelo store in Frisco, and one of my good friends found her MOB dress at this store. Most of my friends recommended Alfred Angelo over David's, but honestly I can't see much difference in the two mega bridal chain stores. It turns out, all A.A. has is separates for MOB’s, but there was one set that actually was a contender. The color is shown in green in the photo , but I would have obviously ordered it in a medium to dark blue. It was flattering on me, but still would have required major alterations for the top to fit me right, and the more I thought about it, the fabric and total lack of bling just wasn’t very “special” for being a Mother of the Bride dress. And when I found out it was stretching the top of my budget, I was even less impressed.

I expanded my search into Dallas to the mega stores for formal dresses like Terry Costa and Whatchamacallit, and upscale department stores like Nordstroms, with still no success. Either the dresses were too much, or too little. (Speaking of bling and cost!)  I tired very quickly of wasting my time, energy and gas on shopping.

I took a breather and went back to looking online. I discovered there were some online bridal apparel stores with lots of options, like TJ Formal, Ashley's Mother of the Bride, and House of Brides. Usually their prices are a bit better than what you’d find in the local bridal shops too. But again, I refuse to order something I have not tried on, especially since these formalwear websites usually have a No Return policy, or at best will charge you a hefty 20 to 25% "Restocking Fee" if you return the dress within their narrow 3 to 5 day deadline!

So, my next plan was to try to narrow the dresses down to a few styles, and then email and call bridal stores in the area to see if they had them, go try them on, then I could order them online if they suited me, but I never could seem to locate samples locally for me to try on. When I could get the stores to answer my emails or return calls at all, nobody had it or anything I was interested in.

And I was running into another issue…  I was quickly running out of time for a dress to arrive in time for alterations before the mid-May wedding.

Then another idea struck me -- some of the major department stores such as Nordstroms and Dillards have a far wider selection of affordable evening attire online than they do in the stores, they arrive soon after you order them, you try them on, and then return them within 30 days for a full refund if you don't want them. So, one day, I ordered $1000 worth of dresses online from Dillards. They arrived within 5 days, and I tried them on in the privacy of my own home. Amanda happened to be home and so I had a fashion show for her.

I have to admit there were some contenders in that bunch. One of them became a Finalist in my search and almost became The Dress. It was chiffon in a sapphire blue, with short flutter sleeves, and a wide satin waistband with a faux diamond brooch on it. 
The other dresses I began returning, one by one as I eliminated them, to my local Dillards store. Actually, not a bad way to shop…and I will definitely keep that in mind for the future!

Before making my final decision, I took the Finalist to a local tailor to see how much the alterations would be to make it fit me better, and got bad news. It would be almost another $100 dollars!

I was getting so frustrated at this point that I enlisted all the help and advice I could get. Several of my friends had offered to go MOB dress shopping with me but our schedules just didn’t work out, so I actually posted some dress photos on Facebook, and had people give me their opinions! 
(Continued on Next Post!)

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