Polyester-less nonexpensive bridesmaids dresses
May 30, 2013 10:37 AM   Subscribe

The bride wants a not-too-expensive, traditional-looking bridesmaids dress. One of the bridesmaids is allergic to polyester. Where should I tell her to look?

The bride is super traditional, so she's looking for something that looks like a bridesmaids dress, and all of us wearing the same thing. She has picked out a pattern she likes (which she described as '1950's') and was shopping around for someone willing to make it for her, but I'm thinking it's likely to out of our price range. I know that even 100% cotton fabrics are often treated with a polyester resin, is that true of other natural fabrics?

Other facts:

*The bride (and most of the bridesmaids) are in Chicago, so if anyone knows anything locallish to the area, that'd be a help!

*By relatively nonexpensive, I mean less than $150
posted by dinty_moore to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (12 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
miss_brache on etsy makes really cute bridesmaid's dresses that are within that price range, although the styles may not be to everyone's tastes. She has a wide variety of fabrics to choose from and her stuff is really nice. NB I have never bought a bridesmaid's dress from her but I have about 5 other dresses from her.
posted by elizardbits at 10:40 AM on May 30, 2013 [1 favorite]

We're probably going to get bridesmaid dresses made through eShakti, but they're almost all cotton. You might be able to contact them about their fabric treatments or to get a swatch to see if the fabric is a problem for the bridesmaid? They do have some silk dresses but they're lined in polynylon taffeta, and I don't know if that would be an issue. (On the plus side, they're really inexpensive compared with David's Bridal or J. Crew!)

Anne Taylor has a newish bridesmaid line that offers the ability to sort by fabric. It looks like the silk versions are over budget, but there may be sales?
posted by jetlagaddict at 10:50 AM on May 30, 2013

eShakti has a billion different dresses and they do custom sizes.

On preview, what jetlagaddict said!
posted by SugarAndSass at 10:51 AM on May 30, 2013

J. Crew has cotton and silk bridesmaid dresses, though the allergic bridesmaid may have to have them relined in a natural fiber (or wear undergarments that won't put her in contact with the lining). They are beyond the budget at full price, but often go on sale (example would be $119 after the current 30% off code).
posted by payoto at 10:53 AM on May 30, 2013

Response by poster: I thought about eshakti, but the way that specific dresses pop on and off the website, their sometimes wonky sizing, and the fact that I currently have some shirts I ordered from them on May 12th stuck in customs makes me nervous about suggesting them for something important.
posted by dinty_moore at 11:01 AM on May 30, 2013

I have a JCrew Silk Chiffon dress and it looked traditional and as a bonus for sure breathed. I can't remember what the lining is made of, but probably the easiest thing to do is 1) call JCrew and ask what the fiber content is of the lining (it might be nylon, after all) and then 2) go with those or similar dresses that she can have re-lined if needed.
posted by Medieval Maven at 11:16 AM on May 30, 2013

I had a great experience with J.Crew. My bridesmaid dresses were silk. I chose a fabric and color and let the bridesmaids choose their specific dress. This was late November/early December, and when I saw J. Crew has a pre-Christmas sale, I jumped on it. One of the dress styles was on sale already, so some of my bridesmaids got their dresses for $59. I don't know how much flexibility you have in terms of when you actually place the order, but if you have some time, I'd check out the J. Crew styles, decide what you like, and wait until they have a promotion, then jump on it.

Also, despite our ordering at bargain-basement prices, the J. Crew wedding site customer service was fantastic. They helped with exchanges, continued to honor the sale price after the sale (for an exchanged dress), tracked down an alternate size after the dress had been discontinued, and tracked down a yard of the fabric after the fabric was discontinued so I could make sashes for the flower girls.
posted by pompelmo at 11:23 AM on May 30, 2013

I'm bridesmaid-ing this summer, and we are getting our dresses from Little Borrowed Dress. You have the option to rent the dress for $50, and they send two sizes for the price of one so you can make sure one fits. Their website says all dresses are made of silk, so they might be polyester free? You could email and ask.
posted by a fiendish thingy at 11:27 AM on May 30, 2013

Before my mother intervened, I was going to buy a white bridesmaid's dress from Watters & Watters to wear as my wedding dress. I remember them offering most of their stuff in cotton or silk, and being nowhere near as expensive as a wedding gown (although maybe more expensive than you want, the website doesn't have prices listed). Tons of styles/colors, really customizable.
posted by mon-ma-tron at 11:58 AM on May 30, 2013

We wore silk dresses in my sister's wedding party and they cost around $150 apiece, if I recall correctly. We got them at a traditional wedding store that was having a sale (alterations were not included). It's possible they had polyester linings, though (or it could be more silk, or acetate, I never paid attention).

Is it a summer wedding or winter? If it's summer, I think nice cotton dresses would make a lot of sense, but that's kind of casual for winter.
posted by mskyle at 12:53 PM on May 30, 2013

Amanda Archer might work for you. She makes traditional looking bridesmaid dresses in 100% cotton. Since they're custom, you could probably find out whether the cotton is treated or if there are non-polyester options for the lining. The fully lined dresses are little bit out of your price range ($200), but some colours are available unlined for $165.
posted by bayleaf at 5:20 PM on May 30, 2013

Viscose satin is inexpensive and wears far better than polyester IMHO. It's super soft, very breathable and drapes beautifully, so perfect for a summer wedding. A viscose/acetate mix could be suitable.
posted by Elizabeth the Thirteenth at 2:20 AM on May 31, 2013

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