I'm just a fat gal with a blog and an opinion. Well, lots of opinions.

Dress Misery


FattiBoomBallatti here:

So there must be a special place in hell for the plus sized bridal dress industry, or perhaps the wedding dress industry in its entire. I mean it is such a freaking racket. To back up here for a little bit and explain my strong sentiment I decided to get married this September, back in May. The reason why I did this was that I wanted to “get er done” rather than obsess and get all OCD on it should I wait for next spring. So I started off on my adventure wanting: champagne colored tea length, A-lined dress. Did I eventually find it? Not….quite.

So my H2B goes online for about an hour, orders a full linen suit online made to his order, it comes about 3 week later and looks fabulous on him… no alterations needed. Oh, and it cost him under $150. Contrast that with the epic journey into wedding dresses that I have had. First I learned that many of the couture gowns need to be ordered 6 months in advance, and THAT is only for them to make it in a STANDARD SIZE.  Why does it take 4-6 months if you are making them in standard sizes??? Oh, that’s right so you can charge holy hell for them….

From there you would then have to alter it to your specific measurements. Now… why the HELL can’t I get a wedding dress as easily as my beaux got his suit? I’ll tell you why my little darlings, snuggle in close…. Because the bridal industry exists on continuous shots of body insecurity that it feeds on like a zombie feeds on brains.

So I quickly realized that I would have to buy “off rack”. As I do not have time for a couture piece nor do I have time to have something made to order in time. So what did that mean for a girl like me? It meant David’s Bridal. And that was after another consignment wedding shop that had exactly 2 dresses in my heifer size… exactly two and most places stop making them after 14 which if you know anything about wedding dresses they are sized two down, so women bigger than a 10 or smallish 12 can go stuff themselves I guess….. I wear a street 16 and I am apple shaped and that translated into a size 20 at that store….

So I made my appointment at David’s Bridal and arrived on a Friday morning the same time 3 other women came con entourage to try on dresses. They were all about 5-8 years younger than me, thinner than me and unlike me, who came alone, had a gaggle of ladies to pass judgment/praise. Even though I walked in at the same time and had my appointment I was seen last and while the rest of them got the nice full mirrored dressing rooms in the middle of the store on the lovely dais for longish trains I was relegated to the “large and roomy” dressing room in the back and next to the bathrooms with only one mirror partially obstructed to try things on. Talk about feeling like the ugly redheaded stepchild here like they didn’t want shoppers to walk by and see me in the store.

Now of course it would seem every dress I wanted they did not have in my size and in the end I bought a dress I kinda liked in a size too big but I was not thinking straight. I was panicked about finding a dress and confused by the treatment I receieved so I found one and got out. It was a longish tea length, missing the sash which they never gave me and is not in champagne.

So it took me a while to mull over my treatment. Was it because I am in my 30s? Was it because I am fat? For so many reasons or maybe the culmination of them all I felt marginalized, unimportant, and as a first time bride I did not feel at all like the special feeling they say all Brides do when getting their gown. I did the one thing I told myself I would never do again… settle on something because it fit and not because I really liked it.

So I kept looking for dresses and found some I liked online. One was a vintage swing dress with champagne lace overlay and champagne flowers I was like, yeah that’ll do just fine! so I ordered it which came in almost at my exact measurements. Now here’s the thing… I wear a size 16, depending on how the waist is since I am a total Apple… I am most likely considered inbetweenie status…. And the dress that I got was a bit tight in the waist but it was the largest size they carried…. Was sized as a “XXXL” on the tag….. really? Wtf? An XXXL? SRSLY?!?!?

I have something to say to clothiers who go S,M,L, XL, XXL, XXXL and so on…. There is something incredibly WRONG with utilizing this standard of measurement as if to say, “If you are beyond a large… well really we don’t have any words in English to suit your fat ass…. You’re just fucking…extra”.

How the hell is a woman not to feel marginalized, unseen, invisible if   (and this is key)   there is no language in use to describe her? We are all just extras… with no appellation of our own. Too much, overdone, above, beyond the ability to script new words for.

If I had it my way I would pass a law requiring women’s clothing to go by inches just like men’s clothes do, or hey why not have fun with it? Make the sizes colors or flowers or adverbs… come on, anything but shitty, hateful, fat shaming “XXXL”.

So anyways I kept the dress and may end up wearing it for the wedding but this whole wedding dress fiasco has really been just that. A fiasco. At a time when a woman should feel beautiful, special, loved, pampered the whole bridal wedding dress industry instills the opposite so they can fill their greedy little coffers.

So, on my wedding day I will feel beautiful, special, loved and pampered… but it won’t be because of the dress.


22 Comments to

“Dress Misery”

  1. On August 1st, 2011 at 4:22 am Ashley Says:

    Wow I’m terribly sorry about your experience. Every woman deserves to have the beautiful lovely feeling when picking out a wedding dress. I guess that is why I planned on having a long ass engagement and year’s worth of planning little by little. I don’t want to feel like I have to cram finding “the dress” in a short amount of time, along with everything else that goes into a wedding. Not to say that your experience is your fault though. I don’t think sizes like S, M, L and XL and so on are great either. Inches would do fine.

    I truly hope the rest of your wedding experience is pleasant.

  2. On August 1st, 2011 at 9:59 am FattiBoombalatti Says:

    @Ashley… yes thats it… it should not require 6 months to a year to find a wedding dress that will make us feel like the bride… its the industry which creates a false feeling of scarcity to drive up prices and insecurity

  3. On August 1st, 2011 at 10:08 am Not Blue at All Says:

    @Ashley & @FattiBoombalatti: Just my experience, but I did have a long time (3 year engagement) and still ended up with my only wedding regret being my dress. This is after 2 months of shopping, 8 months of waiting for it to arrive and two weeks of cleaning and alterations and it still didn’t fit correctly! All told: $1100 for a dress I wore for 6 hours! I still haven’t had it cleaned since the wedding (7.5 years ago).

  4. On August 1st, 2011 at 11:30 am Well-Rounded Mama Says:

    Okay, I got married a loooong time ago (about to celebrate our 26th wedding anniversary) when there was NOTHING in the stores in my size except MIL dresses. Most I could do was hold a dress up to me, hope it might look okay on me, and have them add extra gussets/panels to the dress in a stab at trying to accommodate me.

    So I designed my own dress, hired someone local to make it, and said screw them. It cost me a couple hundred bucks plus costs of material, and it only took a couple of months. Skipped going through the stores at all and had MUCH less hassle and much more variety of choice.

    But wouldn’t it be nice if they would actually accommodate plus-sized women without making us feel like also-rans? They act like we don’t ever get married. By not accommodating us, they lose out on a significant percentage of the market.

    After bad experiences shopping at these places, I totally did an end run around them and saved money to boot. BUT I SHOULDN’T HAVE HAD TO. What a crime that they are still pulling this sh*t after all these years.

  5. On August 1st, 2011 at 11:36 am Not Blue at All Says:

    @Well-Rounded Mama: I agree 100%!!! I wish I’d gone the route you did. Oh well.

  6. On August 1st, 2011 at 11:44 am Vambrances-Not-Included Says:

    I am so sorry that your experience was awful. No woman should ever feel like that, much less feel like that in a store that caters to the “magical day” (ugh). I *hate* white and I don’t plan on wearing white in my wedding–so what am I to do? My plan is to buy the most awesome 1950s inspired party dress I can find. But if I wanted to wear an actual wedding dress, I would be up a creek with prices, issues like David’s Bridal c/s, and styling.

  7. On August 1st, 2011 at 11:47 am Not Blue at All Says:

    @Vambrances-Not-Included: Yes! Luckily the custom stuff available now days is both awesome and more affordable than most ready-to-wear can be.

  8. On August 1st, 2011 at 4:56 pm Cindy Says:

    What a horrid experience! I ended up not going with a traditional bridal gown because I didn’t want to deal with carrying around all that fabric ALL evening (and, also, the PRICE!), but both the chain and indy story were very kind to me, despite my initially-poor attitude toward the process.

    I got married two years ago, at 32 and a size 24. And I ended up making my own dress in about a week due to the timing of funerals and weddings leading up to our nuptials, but came very near to buying a used dress off of eBay. With Priority Mail, I could have had the dress in hand by the end of the week.

  9. On August 2nd, 2011 at 11:03 am Not Blue at All Says:

    @Cindy: I hadn’t even thought of eBay, what a great idea. And with now and so many people turning to indy and other handmade faire? I think it’s fantastic. Thanks.

  10. On August 1st, 2011 at 7:21 pm Ashley Says:

    Different Ashley here…… So, I think I am basically the same size as you, and when I got married, we decided to get married on a Saturday and got married the following Monday (so two days later). So I had to find a dress in exactly one afternoon. I was pleasantly surprised that I had a lot of luck at just the regular mall stores. (Caveat: Since I was getting married at the courthouse, my hope was to find just a regular nice dress that happened to be white. I had no other particular vision for what I wanted, and I knew I didn’t want a “real” wedding dress.) I tried on several things (14’s and 16’s) at Nordstrom and at White House Black Market and found a great dress that I was very happy with. The sales staff that I dealt with was nice and seemed excited to be helping me pick out something for such a special occasion. Anyway, I don’t know if you’d be happy with something that isn’t an actual wedding dress, but if you would and you don’t like what you have now, I’d definitely try Nordstrom and maybe WHBM. It’s the end of summer, so lots of the summery white dresses are probably on sale.

  11. On August 2nd, 2011 at 11:05 am Not Blue at All Says:

    @Different Ashley: I wish I’d gone that route! It’s all 20/20 in retrospect, but I originally didn’t want a traditional gown either, but damn if I didn’t look hard enough I guess. Ha-ha! Thanks for sharing your story.

  12. On August 2nd, 2011 at 8:11 am Shieldmaiden1196 Says:

    My first bridal experience was a bridal shop in King of Prussia, PA. Its a bit of a snooty area so I should have expected this, but the woman behind the counter regarded me with so much contempt that I left and didn’t come back. My only regret was that I didn’t give the woman in the first store a piece of my mind. It was obvious that she didn’t want to deal with a fat bride. David’s was different; I DID get the dias in the middle, and the woman who helped me was attentive and helpful regarding the color I needed; I tried on an ivory dress that I loved but it clashed with my skin tone and she dove into the back and found the same one in my size (24) in white. I put it on, my mother cried, and I knew it was ‘the one’.
    I find it interesting that the TLC show ‘Say Yes to the Dress’ now features fat brides to be. (Why they have a separate show is another matter.)

  13. On August 2nd, 2011 at 11:07 am Not Blue at All Says:

    @Shieldmaiden1196: That’s interesting, I hadn’t thought about ivory versus white and how that might clash with different skin tones. Thank you for sharing that. I will say that the first place I went to was a huge wedding gown superstore. They treated me like trash and refused to show me modern style dresses. It was all high necklines with too many sequins! Blegh! Ha-ha! Live and learn I suppose.

  14. On August 2nd, 2011 at 6:19 pm Lady ATX Says:

    I can’t believe you had almost the exact same David’s Bridal experience as I did! I too went with only my maid of honor, and was shoved into a back room while the other two ladies got to come out and parade on the pedestal. I was..ahem…not invited on the pedastal. I also had to go out half dressed and basically shout for someone to bring me an undergarment and a pair of shoes. (The other ladies seemed to have employees falling all over themselves to bring them things.) And the dresses were horrible.
    I ended up getting my wedding dress at the most bizarre little store in Alabama (where I was living at the time). The owners were this little couple in their sixties who were apparently very famous baton-twirling instructors. The whole store was hilarious. I ended up ordering my dress out of a catalog there, and bedazzling it when it came in. (I work in a professional costume shop, so this is not as sketchy as it sounds. Now, why did I not ask any of these professionals to make the dress of dreams? I don’t know–must have been temporarily insane at the time.)
    I am now divorced. When I get married again, I have every intention of wearing something like the red velvet dress that Rhett Butler makes Scarlett O’Hara wear after he finds her kissing Ashley. Yep, I covet the whore dress.

  15. On August 3rd, 2011 at 9:15 am Not Blue at All Says:

    @Lady ATX: Long live the whore dress! I love it! What is up with these high and mighty people thinking they can treat us like this? Ugh! I’m with you, I’ll claim insanity for not seeking out a custom dress over the stupid designer crap I went with. oh well. Live and learn.

  16. On August 3rd, 2011 at 5:25 am FattiBoombalatti Says:

    well it sounds like others had much better experiences than I had. that is so relieving to hear!

  17. On August 4th, 2011 at 6:31 am FattiBoombalatti Says:

    LOL Whore Dresses for Fat Bitches.. thats al Im sayin’

  18. On August 4th, 2011 at 8:11 am Not Blue at All Says:

    @FattiBoombalatti: Awwww Yeeeaaah! <3

  19. On August 4th, 2011 at 7:00 pm Lady ATX Says:

    Whore Dresses for Fat Bitches needs to be the title of SOMETHING! I don’t know what, but something! LOL!

    And for the record, that dress apparently lives in the archives at the university where I work, so i got to see it in person. It made me love it even more!

  20. On August 4th, 2011 at 7:32 pm Not Blue at All Says:

    @Lady ATX: Ha-ha! Yes, it should be some time of badass indy film or something!

  21. On August 13th, 2011 at 8:16 am Heather Says:

    my secret when I got married was that I wore a prom dress- they have a much wider selection in larger sizes (especially if you hit em up at prom season) and with a lot more colors (including white and champagne). mine was white with silver embroidery. Most prom dresses only cost about $300 (sometimes less) compared to the thousand or so that wedding dresses seem to average. Also, I got this ( dress on ebay for only $70 and it shipped to me within about a month. (i had more trouble with the hoop skirt for under it which was sold as going up to a size 26 but i had to cut it to get it to fit and i’m a 22)

  22. On August 13th, 2011 at 10:36 am Not Blue at All Says:

    @Heather: You are so smart! I was thinking about this the other day when I saw a bunch of clearance prom dresses. Such a great deal!!! Thank you!

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