Thursday, August 19, 2010

Choosing the Dress

This post is reblogged from August 18 edition of On This Day In Fashion.

The Gary Graham dress the started—and ended—the hunt for the perfect dress.
I’ve been thinking a lot about fashion lately, but not the kind you might be thinking about. Visions of wedding clothes are taking up the bulk of sartorial space in my head these days, reason being that I’m getting married next week, thanks very much, at the prettiest little waterfront venue in Seattle. Now let me tell you: This has been a long time coming! You see, I was the editor of a bridal magazine for many years, so I’ve given a lot of thought to weddings and all their trappings. I’ve seen a lot of dresses—well, pretty much all of them over the past 12 years, really—and as far as The Dress goes, I always knew I would wear something very original and different. I admire Vera and Oscar and the rest, but as someone who likes fashion as much as I do, I always
thought a wedding would be a great opportunity to splurge on a coveted designer dress (and shoes, natch) that I could dye or alter and wear again and again.

So once my fiancé knocked my socks off with a surprise proposal, I was really looking forward to this element of the planning process. But wouldn’t you know it? I picked the first—and only—dress I tried on. About a week after Todd popped the question I was browsing online to see what clothes were out from the new spring collections and I found my dress: A sheer, cream-colored, floor-length Gary Graham dress that looked like a dream. We hustled over to the store, I tried it on over opaque black tights—which immediately gave it crazy static cling—with no makeup on and my hair a mess and Todd looked at me and said, “That is your dress.” Of course I bought it on the spot. It’s kind of anti-climatic, but also perfect, don’t you think? 
Everything else, clothes-wise, has been just as painless. I found a 1930s-era, blush-colored, silk bias-cut silk slip for $18 at a thrift store, and unearthed my wrap—a delicate slip of a shrug I bought five years ago from a designer right after he whipped it out of his sewing machine—at the bottom of my closet. I’d purchased it for New York fashion week and never wore it, so it feels and looks brand new. (I admit I wavered at one point and almost bought one of those 19th-century shawls woven with metal that weigh a ton but have an amazing drape—but I couldn’t justify $400 on an old shawl. You can see it in the picture below.) Shoes came from Nordstrom Rack: a pair of $600 Ferragamos marked down to $100 and a back-up pair of Charles Jourdan sandals they were practically giving away. My friend who is a milliner is creating what will be a stunning teacup veil/hat thing for my head, and a friend is doing my hair and makeup. Todd found his killer Jil Sander suit at Barney’s and cobbled the other pieces together from different places. We’ve both been dressed for our wedding for months!

This shawl almost made me doubt my choice of wedding wrap. Almost.
So now you must be wondering why, if my own wardrobe is taken care of, I’m thinking about wedding clothes so much? Well, it’s my guests. I’ve been surprised and delighted at how many people have reached out to get my advice about what to wear, even sending me pictures of their outfits and some going so far as asking me to say “yes” or “no” to their choices (which I would never do)! All in all, it’s been really fun and flattering helping my friends and family find their just-right thing to wear to my wedding. I also think it helped satiate that deeply buried Cinderella gene inside of me that really wanted to experience the traditional ritual of trying on lots of different dresses with groups of girls.
My “plan” is to check in again next week, the day before my wedding, but if you don’t hear from me it’s just because I got in over my head. Cody Bay is taking over while I’m away on a little break; we will still deliver our Stories Behind the Styles while I’m gone—they just might be a little shorter and fewer between. In the meantime, wish me luck and, as always, feel free to reach out with any thoughts or comments about the site. We love to hear from you!

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