There's a good chance it will be paired with hiking boots at some point
March 9, 2013 8:20 AM   Subscribe

Which stores on/near Newbury Street in Boston should I check out for a non-gown-type wedding dress?

I'm getting married in August, hurrah! Now I need a dress, and prior to getting engaged had spend approximately 0 hours thinking about my eventual wedding dress. Online searching has been pretty overwhelming, and a friend suggested I take a day to just wander in to places on Newbury street to get a sense of brands and styles I like. I don't have any appointments at the official wedding-dress places, which is fine by me for the first trip.

Here's what I'm looking for/not looking for, any suggestions on which stores I should be spending my time in? I'm planning to hike down Newbury street, but elsewhere in downtown Boston is good too. Or general advice for navigating clothing stores that are probably fancier than I've spent much time in? I generally wear smalls on top, mediums on bottom, whatever the hell that corresponds to for fancy dresses. And to get into a pricing ballpark, I probably won't be considering anything over a grand, and since I've never owned a dress costing more than about $100, I'll feel very fancy indeed wearing something that costs three times that.

*Fabrics with good, interesting texture - lace, linen, cotton are all better than silk in my book
*A-line and other waist-emphasizing styles, with the cautionary note that I'm long-waisted, so dresses designed to fall at the natural waist can be dangerously empire-y on me.
*Vintage influences...but that's often taken to mean a particular 50's pinup style, which isn't really my thing
*Nothing longer than mid-calf, probably not too many inches above the knee
*Something I can move in

*Empire waists
*Anything shiny
*Princess dresses
*'Mermaid' sillhouette
*Shift dresses

Hope me, fashion mavens of Metafilter!
posted by heyforfour to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (10 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
If you want something vintage-y (but not pinup-y), let me recommend BHLDN, Anthropologie's wedding store. I bought a "reception" dress from them (I wanted something short) for $500. Their stuff is really really nice, and after feeling sad about wedding dresses at David's Bridal it was a huge relief to go somewhere that had things I actually liked. They have loads of adorable shorter dresses. None are shiny :)

Downside is they only have a couple of stores, and none in Boston - BUT I know you can order stuff online and return it. So you won't get the wedding dress shopping experience, but maybe that is ok.
posted by goodbyewaffles at 8:27 AM on March 9, 2013

Response by poster: Oh, and I forgot to mention - I am absolutely zero squeamish about a second-hand dress, so if there's a really amazing consignment store I should be stopping by, that's good too!
posted by heyforfour at 8:29 AM on March 9, 2013

Try Anthropologie at 203 Newbury.

You could also try Second Time Around for something consignment vintage.
posted by zizzle at 8:33 AM on March 9, 2013

It's not clear from your question whether you are looking for a dress that's not sold as a wedding dress, or just one that's not a mainstream David's Bridal type official wedding dress. Do you want white/off-white, or are you shopping colors? Do you want a fancy eveningy dress or something more casual?
posted by payoto at 8:36 AM on March 9, 2013

Response by poster: Thanks so far! Just to answer payoto's questions, I'm looking for something not overly formal (I'm getting married outside, during the day, at a nature center.) Probably off-white or white as the main color, though I don't object to color details...and I don't care how or who the dress is being marketed to, so long as I like it :) I will happily make an appointment and stand on a platform if there's somewhere like that that sells short and causal wedding dresses, but I won't mourn that experience if I don't get it.
posted by heyforfour at 8:51 AM on March 9, 2013

I would try J. Crew and I would also consider making an appointment at David's Bridal, even if you're pretty sure you don't want a DB dress (but their Vera Wang line is really pretty and includes some shorter dresses). When you are first shopping, you want to try on different silhouettes to narrow down the shapes that work best on you. Once you've done that, you can hone in on fabrics and embellishments. It also makes online shopping much, much easier if you can focus only on the silhouettes that you know you want because you tried them on. DB is great because they have so many dresses to try on - you just have to remember to focus on the silhouette, neckline, and length, and not worry about shiny fabric or weird details.
posted by payoto at 9:00 AM on March 9, 2013

Try just going to the big department stores, Lord & Taylor especially. Seriously, I cannot say enough good things about Lord & Taylor's dress section. I haven't specifically looked for white dresses there but I bet they have them.
posted by mskyle at 9:54 AM on March 9, 2013

posted by barnone at 9:59 AM on March 9, 2013

Just as a thought, have you tried ordinary department stores like Nordstrom? They have a ton of white dresses in varying levels of formality... something like this might fit your criteria. It couldn't hurt to look.
posted by celtalitha at 10:15 AM on March 9, 2013

Lots of designers are including "little white dresses" in their spring/summer lines just for this exact reason. Women who are getting married and don't want a "wedding dress" but want a nice white dress to get married in. A higher end department store might be a good first place to look. JCrew and BHLDN/Anthropology would be good too.

For under a grand, you'll be pressed to get any nice fabric in a "wedding dress" store. Its criminal, but they'll sell budget lines (aka $600 to $1500) in poly/rayon fabrics. Most wedding dress stores will mostly have longer dresses. You might have help using the phrase "reception dress" which is the idea you'd have a long formal dress, then a shorter dress you change into and party down in. I think with your list of wants, you can pretty safely avoid any traditional stores. If you do go, don't feel pressured by any of the sales people. Bringing a backup person can be a good idea.

I'd check out this list of "offbeat" wedding dress vendors including a few with physical locations in boston, and see what your options are.

Any dress you buy you should probably consider getting tailored, so don't worry so much about the exact size. Go try on shapes (I though I hated mermaid styles too, but then I looked awesome in one) then narrow down a few designers in your price range.
posted by fontophilic at 1:46 PM on March 9, 2013

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