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Friday, November 7, 2014

Wedding Dress Saga, Part II: Saying "No" to Shitty Bridal Boutiques

Saying "No" to Shitty Bridal Boutiques 

I was panting, crying and in a cold sweat. I opened my eyes to the bright lights and thought, "Oh, good, it was just a nightmare", and then I realized, nope, this is reality. I'm sitting in my bra and underwear, sobbing and sweating in the House of Brides dressing room after not fitting into 8 size 14 samples.

I'm a street size 10.

The consultant came back in, followed by my mom bursting in behind her yelling about the ridiculousness of the situation (in true mom form).


"Ma'am, I would've never guessed. She looked like she should fit into the normal samples just fine, but we can go to the "other room" of dresses if you prefer".

My cheeks glowed red with embarrassment and shame. The "other room" she was referencing is a small area in the back of the store, also known as the "Diva Room" with a handful of size 18 and up dresses--- about 10% of the size of the dress selection in the rest of the store.

Because it wasn't bad enough that of 8 dressed labelled larger than my normal size dress couldn't even be pulled over my hips, now I was doing the walk of shame to the plus size gallery in the far reaches of the store. Gone were the mannequins in sparkle and lace gowns. Gone were the elegant pedestal front and center in the dressing room for brides to present themselves on.

I entered a room with one small, three sides mirror and two modest dressing rooms, nothing like the bridal dressing suites beyond those walls. The lighting was dim--- at least that shaded the burning red in my cheeks. Here I was again, back to being the fat girl. My MOH trailed in behind us, saying "You know how small bridal runs-- its not just you". But it was just me, alone, in my FFG body at that moment. My worst wedding dress nightmares realized in the flesh.

There are some things that don't change when you loose weight. While they might not affect you daily, or even monthly, there are feelings, experiences and memories that you never loose even after the weight has come off. I've written extensively on my blog about FFG (former fat girl) issues because I feel like they're things that a lot of women can relate to. We all have insecurities about our bodies, no matter the size. And now I'm expanding on the FFG girl issues as part of my wedding experience- for better or for worse, right?

I'll never forget the first time I realized that I was really a fat girl. Not big boned, Not curvy. Fat.

I was in Dubai in spring 2012 at breakfast with the CEO of my company, getting ready to go to an all day client training course. I spilled a bit of water on my blouse and the CEO, an obese man himself, demanded I go change immediately. I protested, knowing it would dry well before our clients showed up. He said to me, "When you're a fat person, people will judge you harsher. They will not only call you fat, but also sloppy or stupid or smelly. They will look down on you for any reason they can. Don't give them that reason.".

I marched up to my room with tears stinging in my eyes. I knew his words were true, but that didn't make them hurt less. It was the first time I realized I was fat. I'll never forget the feeling. The knot in my throat. The burning of hot tears in my eyes. I'll never forget standing in the mirror without any excuses left.

And now, 100 pounds less-- far from plus size, I was still standing in front of the mirror without any excuses as to why I had to be in the backroom of a bridal boutique trying on dresses literally 10 sizes too big for me, literally falling off my body without clips to hold them up.

Is there no middle ground? Is there no one in the bridal business who has come to the revelation that one size does not fit all? The House of Brides did manage to have one of the dresses I originally wanted to try on in a plus sized sample. I put it on in a size 18. It was fall off my body until the consultant clipped it.

With puffy eyes and a tear streaked face, I looked in the mirror and I felt beautiful. It was a beautiful dress. Everyone thought so. Finally, one dress I could feel beautiful in at this horrid boutique. I thought for an instant-- maybe this is the dress I will get married in.

What the consultant said next killed me. She told my mother that she would order this dress for me in this size 18 to "make sure it fit" because there was no way to ensure a smaller size would fit me.

My jaw dropped and the hot tears welled in my eyes again. This dress was falling from my body. And like that, I asked to be taken out of the dress. I wanted out ASAP. I could not accept this as fact. I would not wear a size 18 on my wedding day.

I worked so hard. I continue to work hard on my health daily. I deserve better than this.

As I pulled my fitted tank top back on over my barely there runners boobs, the consultant swung by to ask if I'd like to go look at tuxedos next, since I don't have to try those on. I glared, marched out and haven't looked back since.

I don't blame others for my sensitivity and my FFG problems. I don't blame my MOH for being a naturally thin person who was complaining all those tiny samples I tried to get into were absolutely huge on her. I also don't blame the consultant who was clearly not very experienced with their stock and thought, for some reason, that I was the correct size to squeeze on in.

What I do blame is the boutique. They lost a customer because of the inability to train the consultant, inflexible sizing, no return policies and requirements to view tuxedos on the way out, dress purchase or not. How tacky can you be? For a boutique that claims to have over 3,000 designer dresses in house, it is shameful that there was not one sample that fit onto an average sided women's body properly. And even more shameful that of those 3,000 dresses, less than 20 of them were over a size 14-- the average size of a women in the United States. I'll say it again--- wouldn't you want your brides feeling good, buttering them up to spend MORE money, not running out shamed by your selection and feeling miserable?

I really never thought that a shitty consultant or poor boutique policies would get in the way of me purchasing a dream wedding dress, but it truly did hinder my experience in this case, and mustered up some extremely difficult memories. While I continue to work on my own self esteem, I hope that the bridal industry continues to improve to meet the needs of all types of women and continues to educate their consultants on sensitivity.

Everyone has their own shit in life. Weddings tend to bring up much of that shit for a lot of people, even in the best cases.

The very next day, I went to another boutique, with awesome consultants and a large selection of dresses to try on. While I may not have found THE DRESS, there are better shops out there.The moral of the story is: don't settle for less. Don't settle for a business that blows. Don't settle for a dress because you feel like its your only option.

When the right time comes, the experience, the dress and the vision will all come together even if the bridal industry still can't get its shit together at all.

1 comment:

  1. House Of Brides has LOADS of cute dresses all the time, and they're generally pretty affordable.