Someone recently asked me what it means to wear a vintage gown instead of a brand new garment. I chose to wear a vintage dress because I’ve always loved vintage clothes. Also because of the cost. I’m not going to lie to you and tell you that I exclusively tried on vintage dresses, because I didn’t. I took my entourage to a few places and I seriously fell in love with a dress. A beautiful tulle confection that had the slightest hint of peach. But, and this was a big but, it was over $2,000, BEFORE alterations.
This was something that I was incredibly pained over. So, on a whim one Wednesday night my mom and I stopped by ReTulled in Irvington. Amy, the owner, is a super babe and she runs the lovely bridal/formal wear consignment shop. It was suppose to be quick, we were headed for pizza, but like every time you’re in a bit of a rush, you end up needing much more time. Throughout the whole wedding dress process, I was dead set on finding a dress with a sleeve. My mom and I start looking at the racks upon racks of dresses that Amy had and we were only looking at dresses with sleeves. I tried on a few, but I didn’t particularly like any of them. Then this beautiful lace strapless dress appears. Of course I was hesitant. I can’t wear strapless! I’m a D cup! But alas, I tried it on anyway and then I stepped out to show everyone. And it was that movie moment. The one they’re always striving for on Say Yes to The Dress, the bleary eyes and the aw’s and things. At all the previous places I’d had an entourage; best friends, my mother-in-law, my auntie. But there in Retulled, it was just me and my mom, and it was perfect.
This incredible lace dress had never been worn and was less than $500. I labored over it for a few days and sent a ton of photos to my bests. That Saturday, we went back with a few other folks and I tried it on again. And that basically sealed the deal. I then sought out to find the perfect accessories. I picked up a vintage rhinestone belt for $35 and found my shoes at JC Penney.
About 2 weeks before the wedding, I’m having my final fitting at ReTulled with Tyrone the tailor, who in a word, is unreal. Seriously, you must meet him to understand what I mean. He is such a doll and an incredibly skilled tailor. Anyway, I spot this sequins dress and try it on. It was waaaaaaay too big. I asked Tyrone if he could tailor it to fit me, if he could sew it and stuff. His response was, and this is a direct quote, “Girl, how do you think it got made in the first place? Of course I can take it in for you. ” So two weeks before my big day I decided that, yes, I did want a reception dress and yes it did need to be altered. It was one of the best decisions I made! It was so wonderful after wearing a heavy dress for the majority of the day to be free to run around.
So that’s the long answer to the original question. Here’s the short answer. Wearing a vintage dress is a responsibility. You have to do it justice in the sense of honoring the time period and the people that have worn it before you, while simultaneously making it your own. It’s a big undertaking, but I believe that the payoff is much, much richer. I walked down the aisle in a dress that will never be worn by anyone else. It’s vintage, it’s one-of-a-kind and it’s mine.
Here are a few more photos of both dresses.