Monday, February 11, 2008

The Art of the "Dress Hunt"

Not everyone has a stylist to pick out the perfect dress like Carrie (pictured here in a couture Zac Posen from the upcoming Sex and the City movie). There are tons of guides out there for finding the perfect dress for your body in terms of shape & style, but what about actually finding the perfect dress? Lately i've been on the "dress hunt" myself and here's a simple step by step guide.

1) Use Magazines & Web Sites - Prepare tear sheets and print out photos of dresses you like. Make a note of what it is you like about the dress. This will be a great starting point.

2) Make a list of stores - Make a list of local stores you'd like to visit. While I was in New York, I tried on a few wonderful dresses at Vera Wang New York and at Saks Fifth Bridal Salon, but realized my time schedule wouldn't allow for 3 fittings. If you're able of course, by all means, go ahead!
Tip: A good way to compile a list of stores, is to go to the vendor websites of brands you like, and search for your location for stores. Start off with a max of 3 stores so you don't overwhelm yourself.

3) Set a firm budget - even though that gorgeous $15,000 Monique Lhuillier is so tempting to try on, don't do it if it's over your budget. The worst thing that could happen is for you to fall in love with it and be heartbroken because you can't have it.

4) On your first consultation, describe what you're looking for, and disclose your budget. Try on one of each type of silhouette (ie: slim fit, mermaid, A-line, ballgown), even if you think it wont look good on you. You may be surprised at what you thought would look terrible looks great!

5) Make a short list of 3-4 dresses that you love. Bring a few close friends and family members whose opinion you trust. Can you see yourself loving this dress 20 years from now?

5) Ask important questions. After you have found the dresses you like, a good sales consultant should be able to answer these basic questions clearly and honestly:
- Are alterations included? How much are they?
- How many alterations are typically needed at that particular store? Keep in mind your schedule.
- How long does it take to order each particular dress? Different brands vary in lead time.
- How much do veils, shoes, accessories, crinolines (if sold separately) cost? Don't forget to factor these into the budget.

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