(Wedding) dresses for n00bs; where online to look and what search terms?
February 25, 2013 9:07 AM   Subscribe

I am looking for a non-traditional wedding dress but am not finding a ton that I love in my city. When I looked at Nordstrom, which was the best of the available brick-and-mortar options, I found this, which I loved and looks good on me, but the navy is way too dark a color. If I want to find something with a similar fit and/or look online, what "dress words" do I search for, and where should I be looking?

I'd gratefully accept any other suggestions for fits or dresses that might work, but it would help if you explained the vocabulary to me like I'm 7 so I can use it when I'm looking. I have a figure that's hourglass-y verging on pear and am about 5'2". I'm worried about looking WAY too busty or hippy, and I think one of the reasons the linked dress looks decent is that it fits closely up top, nips in at the waist and then skims any unpleasantness below. I'm probably looking for something in a green or blue.
posted by charmedimsure to Shopping (8 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
One thing I'd do is GO to Nordstrom and try the dress on, if you like it, ask them to get it for you in another color. Make an appointment with their Personal Shopper. Tell them what you like, what you're looking for and let them take it from there! I used to work in retail and I'd have Loved to have worked with you. They'll recommend a hat, shoes, hose, jewelry, etc. Buy what you like, and don't worry, you'll be a fun customer.

Or to to the Adrianna Papell site and see what they have directly (a lot of gorgeous dresses! for sure!)

Mazel Tov!

That is a wrap-top, cocktail length dress.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 9:13 AM on February 25, 2013

Or surplice top (another word for wrap top).
posted by lyra4 at 9:17 AM on February 25, 2013

I would say search for tea length or cocktail length (this is much shorter than tea length, but sometimes sites label them inconsistently) and a fit-and-flare skirt or an a-line. Stores often aren't consistent with the skirt descriptions either; "a friend" just bought the full-length and white version of this from Nordstroms and the bridesmaid dress is labeled as an A-line and the bridal version a fit-and-flare. You may also want to look at Etsy-- I know someone posted a beautiful vintage-style dress in silk dupioni that they were having done through Etsy with an interesting top and flared skirt on Ask Metafilter recently. Often stores are not good at labeling bodice structure, probably because the actual fit varies so much between people.
posted by jetlagaddict at 9:20 AM on February 25, 2013

J Crew and Ann Taylor both have really nice bridal sections. Since you're looking for not-white , check out the bridesmaid dresses. Or just regular women's formal.
posted by Fig at 9:20 AM on February 25, 2013 [1 favorite]

"Fit and flare" from the description you linked will get you quite a few similar dresses. "Full skirt" is also a good phrase to search for (or mention to a personal shopper). A "circle skirt" tends to be very full if you're into that. "A-line" generally describes a skirt that is less full, but still skirty.

As far as length, "knee length" is self-explanatory. You might want to look at "tea length" dresses, too, which fall between the knee and mid-calf, and tend to look very pretty with full skirts.

Here's the previous post that jetlagaddict mentioned. I bought my wedding dress from the Etsy seller linked in that post, and I loved it. She has a lot of styles that would probably work very well for you.
posted by Metroid Baby at 9:28 AM on February 25, 2013

The Macy's website lets you search dresses by body type. It might help.

Evening/formal dresses for pear shapes

Evening/formal dresses for curvy shapes

posted by jaguar at 10:48 AM on February 25, 2013 [1 favorite]

Actually, funny enough, I would look for/search for bridemaid dresses. I found this from a very quick search which has some of the similar concepts you like but also comes in a million colors. There is also Shop Joielle which is all online and could have some great options (they are a vendor on A Practical Wedding, which is hands down the sanest wedding blog out there, so you might want to head over there and see what they have in terms of vendors/advice)
posted by zara at 2:00 PM on February 25, 2013 [1 favorite]

I had my wedding dress made from a picture, by a Chinese dress making company from ebay. It was a copy of a designer dress and I LOVED it. Plus it was only $90 including shipping.

Maybe do a search on ebay for 'prom dress' which is a popular search term, and find someone who has good feedback and then contact them. I was given the option of every colour of the rainbow. The fit was excellent.

Good luck.
posted by Youremyworld at 3:09 PM on February 25, 2013

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