A Discussion on Dresses

February 1, 2010

Last week I went to Alfred Angelo, a chain that is similar to David’s Bridal, budget-conscious and mass-marketed.  By “budget,” I mean more dresses under $1,000 than not.  After leaving the store, it occurred to me.  This is ridiculous for something you wear one time.  (Whilst in the store, there is so much white noise from the sales associate and oohing and ahhing there is no room for reason).  Back in reality, I can find many things I’d rather do with that money.

Things I’d rather do with $1,000.

  • Fly to Germany, take a train to switzerland and go snowboarding on the Alps
  • Fly to China (and buy a dress there at cost)
  • Eat really well for a month and do yoga classes
  • Shop every weekend for a month and wear new clothes every day
  • Wear those clothes again *gasp*
  • Spa day for all my girlfriends
  • An awesome weekend in Vegas.  Possibly returning with more than $1,000
  • Buy 1,000 mega million tickets

I am reading an excellent book MoH gave to me.  It’s called Bridal Bargains.  You can find it on Amazon here.  The very first chapter is on wedding gowns and how marked up they are in relation to their quality.  On their comparisons page, David’s Bridal received a rating of F.  Their dresses are (mostly) made of polyester and cheap synthetic fabrics cut on an assembly line in China.  Not that there is anything particularly wrong with that, because the dresses look great!  It’s just that it does not cost $500-$1,000 to make them.  Not even close.  Try less than 10% of the ticket price.  Alfred Angelo is not much better with a rating of C+.

Furthermore, according to the book, the customer service at wedding dress stores (in general) is terrible.  High pressure sales (to be expected in my opinion), long waiting time to order the dress (I have not gotten this far yet, but allegedly this is due to the manufacturer waiting until X number of orders for a size 4 style Z dress before making them), shoddy stitching and poor fit which then require hundreds in alteration costs.  The problem is a lack of consistency in sizing.  And at its worst, the size is deliberately faulty to ensure massive alteration costs.  There is no worry for repeat business because most women only buy one wedding dress in their purchasing lifetime.  Most women have also never paid anything close to $1,000 for an outfit.  Combine with the white noise sales ladies and you end up with no concept of normalcy.

I have not seen all of this in my limited experience, but I can attest to being googly-eyed when a dress fits well and looks good.  I have inquired about the price of one particular dress, heard “it’s $999 but we are having a $200 off discount,” and thought it was a good deal.  Whaaat??

Here is the world’s most expensive wedding dress.  12 million nets you a white gown with many diamonds and the very best design and quality.  At some point, I wager the slope representing the increase in quality and design plateaus out in relation to its cost.  That point is probably a few thousand bucks.  But sure, the diamonds will take you there to 12 mil and beyond.


That said, it is a good idea to try on as many dresses as possible to find one you like.  The book advises to go to at least one bridal boutique and try on some designer dresses.  All in the pursuit of the one.  Then, step back and find it elsewhere.  If it’s made in China, order it from China and skip the middleman.  Then go on a vacation with the money you saved.


2 Responses to “A Discussion on Dresses”

  1. Jessica Says:

    Glad you like the book! Where do you want to hit up when I visit this weekend? =)

  2. […] 15, 2010 Remember my post a Discussion on Dresses?  Yeap.  I did it.   I got a dress custom made straight from the manufacturer in China.  H2B […]

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