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I’m Louise. Blogger. Wife. Designer of TruLu Couture Veils + Accessories.  If you’d like to know more, check out my bio.

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Entries in Attire (3)


David's Bridal vs. Vera Wang

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So everyone's heard the news, right? Vera did the unthinkable. She crossed the couture line and walked straight into David's Bridal. I believe there was an audible *gasp* in the wedding community. The tweets and posts were blowing up my Google Reader, that's fo sho! I had an email exchange with a designer friend of mine about it. Even The Candyman had an opinion.

You can look at this in few different ways, plus some I'm sure I can't think of. 

  • From the standpoint of a stylish bride on a budget: HELL to the YEAH! I get to wear Vera Wang and not break the bank!
  • From the standpoint of a stylish bride NOT on a budget: My "real" Vera Wang is way better.
  • From the standpoint of a designer dress boutique: What the hell is Vera doing? She's sending my customers to David's Bridal! That BITCH!
  • From the standpoint of David's Bridal: $$$$
  • From the stand point of Vera herself: $$$$

OK, maybe it's not that cut and dry.

Personally, I question the move. You have a high end, coveted wedding gown designer. She's appealing to the masses by making her line more affordable and available. One one hand, I feel like she's "dumbing down" her incredibleness. The moment you move from couture to ready-to-wear, you've cheapened yourself. She's cheapened her end product. On the other hand, she's made her incredibleness available to women who don't have $6K+ to blow on a gown. Had this happened when I was wedding gown shopping, I might have faced the horridness that I believe to be the inside of a David's Bridal shop, just to see what they looked like.

And what about those brides who do spend the $6K on a Vera Wang gown? Do we take those people into consideration? I think if I had a gown that cost me that much money and another bride could get similar for a mere fraction of the cost with the same brand name? I think that might piss me off. I don't know why. I don't think it would be the right emotion to have either, but I still think I would be at least mildly irritated. In all honesty, I think that would just be the snob in me being a big ol' bitch. It happens.

Now, if I were a designer boutique owner person, I would be pissed. PISSED! Sample gowns are not cheap. Running a luxury item business in this economy is not easy. Vera just made it even harder for these guys to eke out a living. These are shop owners who have supported her line for years. Yeah, I'd be super-pissed.

David's Bridal? Now they get some style cred above and beyond Oleg Cassini (*insert snarky comment here*). They get traffic into their stores. Win-win there.

Vera? She gets massive bucks. I'm sure her sales are not what they used to be because she's the supplier of a luxury item when the economy is in the Tinkletorium. She's probably protecting her own income. No one can fault a person for that, right?

What I think I am struggling with the most is what many people don't get: the DIFFERENCE between a Vera Wang gown and the David's Bridal White line by Vera Wang. Trust me, there will be a difference.

Fabric: Silk, satin, crepe de chine versus polyester. The major contributing factor to inexpensive gowns is in the choice of fabric. Synthetic fabrics have come a long, freakin' way in terms of aesthetics. Most everyday people walking around on the street cannot tell the difference between a poly blend and the real deal.

Beading: Hand-beaded versus pre-fab appliques or machine beading. Get close enough and you can tell.

Construction: French seams, built-in corsets, boning, lining, covered buttons/loops versus serged seams, standard fitting, zippers and little to no lining. 

Here, let's compare:

Vera on the left. David's Bridal on the right at $1200.

Vera left, David's Bridal on the right at $1000, $58 for the sash.

Vera on the left, David's Bridal on the right at $1200, crystal sash is $148.

Vera on the left, David's Bridal on the right at $600, with a crystal sash at $148.

Vera left, David's Bridal on the right at $800 with a $58 sash.

I could keep this up all day, the comparison of her couture line to David's Bridal. There are little differences, as a designer and seamstress, that I can see right away. On the first dress? All those layers on the DB version are most likely more symmetrical and easier to construct. Vera's original gown is much more random and artistically created. It's literally harder to make and takes mad fucking skills to accomplish. The top of the Vera gown most likely has a built in corset so that the sucker can be fitted to your torso and NOT MOVE AN INCH, while still being comfortable as all hell. The DB version? I'm going to guess it's lined and that's about it. Alterations on the DB gown will most likely be easier and less expensive to do too. The fit on a DB gown will definitely be different than on the real deal.

My first inclination is to say, "Hey! Just go try on one of each and see how you feel!" DO NOT DO THIS. If we've learned anything from "Say Yes to the Dress" it's NEVER EVER EVER try on a dress you cannot afford. Just don't do it. For your own sanity, please just don't. Why? Because if you do, you'll fall in love with it. You'll start to see the differences, the detailing, the weight of the fabric. You'll see how good really great designs fit and look and feel. It's a lot like flying first class and then having to fly coach. The comparison spoils you for life.

But the great thing is that there are designers out there that give you a little bit more of everything: fit, style, fabric, construction, all without breaking the bank. My Mikaella gown was $1300, as much as these new David's Bridal dresses. Overall, the thing that I "lost" on my dress was the overall construction. There was an issue with one of the straps, my pre-made bustle failed at the end of the night (I ripped it out dancing) and I needed serious bust alterations (*ahem*). I did try on gowns I couldn't afford, but I knew what I was getting myself into. Happily, the designer gowns I tried on weren't The One so I was able to shrug off the comparison quite easily. This is not something I'd chance to an inexperienced gown shopper.

But what do you, as an average bride (sorry, I don't mean YOU are average), care? Most people will just think you look beautiful in your dress. After you walk down the aisle, you'll still be married regardless of whether you wore Dior or Casablanca. You need to find The One and it can be done on a budget. I tried on over 100 gowns. That's right, over 100. It wasn't until I put on my Mikaela gown that I felt anything that I can only describe as "right."  It felt good. It felt right. I felt like me, cranked up a notch. I felt beautiful. I felt elegant. My photographer's wife cried when she saw me in it. My friends who I had dragged to various appointments all slowly nodded when I modeled it for them. I didn't want to take it off. That's how you should feel about your dress. Personally, I don't think that feeling comes with a particular price point attached to it.

So what's your take on the Vera thing? Does it even matter?

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The Worst of 2010

I was thumbing through the 2010 bridal collections and looking for divine inspiration for....something. I'm not sure what. Maybe I was just ogling the best of Zac Posen and Vera.

*le sigh*

At any rate, I found myself aghast at all that is hideous in the bridal world. Now, I get couture, I really do. I am a huge fan of the detail and workmanship that goes into and and I understand why it's so expensive. What I don't understand is why designers would choose to adorn the human body in a way that is so unattractive is beyond me. Beauty may be in the eye of the holder, but this is my blog and I say what's ugly around here.

Hi, Slut! Is that a whip in her hand? Just curious.

Lady GaGa meets Maddona circa Like A Virgin meets a small bag of sheer material.

Clearly, she pissed about something.

"This is ground control to Major Tom..."

I'm speechless. I can't even come up with a snarky remark. It's that bad.

But what about the bridesmaids? Oh, we've got those too.

She's the MOH. The maids are hiding in her skirt.

Merry Christmas!

Any bride who makes another woman wear a dress like this needs to have the ever-loving crap beat out of her.

So you know, I just thought I share some fashion faux pas with you. I'm not going to share the designers names with you simply because I would hate to promote The Ugly in any way, shape or form. However, all the pics are from here. It's not the photographers fault they had to shoot dresses that look like a bag of assholes*.

*Slang cred to Marizzle. Word.


The Budget Breakdown - Attire

Decisions, decisions. You people totally want me to show you the money. And I will - on some things, but not everything. That's what I've decided. If you're really looking for budget breakdowns and help in doing it, convo me privately and I'll give you the lowdown. I created a very detailed spreadsheet with links and formulas and equations - oh my!

So let's get started, shall we? Let's talk about the dress, OK? It's really the best part of any wedding planning process, right? Y'all know that finding my dress was definitely a pain in the ass. I talk about it here. And here. And here. And even here. The original budget for my dress was $800. Uh huh. That's right.

Early on in the game, my Mom gave me a little monetary sumpin'-sumpin' to supplement the dress fund (thank you, Mom!). I basically just took that money and added it on top of my budget because I quickly realized that $800 wasn't going to cut it. Keeping that in mind, I only went $142.50 over budget on the dress. See how I rationalized that? Instead of being $642.50 over budget, my creative math skills keep it all good. Right? Right?

Here's my final break down of all things fashion related.

The budget column is where I really wanted to be. I was a little over on few things but way under on others. Since I made my own veil, all I had to purchase was the tulle (which is super cheap) and the comb. I already had the lace and thread and all that. I went a little over on the lingerie only because I counted in the multiple pairs of panties I bought at VS during tax-free weekend that I wrote about here. If I take out the cost of all the stuff I bought and just what I wore on the day of The Big Show, then that price would go down. However, I left it all in 'cuz it was money spent.

I don't believe in wearing stockings unless they are cotton tights in the dead of winter, so I knew I wouldn't need any budget there. We didn't do a garter or bouquet toss so I didn't need any cash allotted there either.

The thing that killed my budget was the gown preservation thing. I took it to the best place in town for gown preservation, Oakwood Cleaners. Their reputation is really good and I was just so nervous to take it anywhere else. I didn't call ahead of time. I didn't ask for the price. I just took my dress and veil there. I dropped it off. I walked out and then was like, "Hey, I wonder how much that's gonna cost." I walked back in and asked. The very nice lady went into the system and pulled up some pricing and then her computer locked up. Seriously, I saw it happen. I was running errands, getting ready for the honeymoon and didn't want to wait, so I just asked around how much it would be. She said around two-something for just the dress. I'm thinking it was going to be around $250 total and I was OK with that and went bouncing out of the store. They called me to tell me the dress was ready and informed me that the total was $359 and I almost had a coronary. STARTING prices on any wedding dress is $279. "Two-something" was actually closer to three. I have no one to blame but myself for not inquiring into specifics. I was still floating about 3 feet above the ground, so didn't quite have my senses about me.

WEDDING TIP #1 - Don't even think about thinking about things that are of any importance whatsoever until a week or so after the wedding. You're head is still up your ass.

There are lots of wedding budget calculators out there. I've seen some that say "attire" should be 5% of your budget. I've seen others that say 12% and others that say 18%. The difference between 5% and 12% and 18% is HUGE. Let's say you're planning a $20K wedding. You're dress can be $1000 or $1666 or $3600 based on those "average" percentages. That's the difference between trotting on down to your local David's Bridal versus Monique freakin' Lhuillier. Big dif. Huge.

What you've got to do is look at your budget break down areas and decide what is most important to you (oh yeah, and the groom). Is it the dress? Or is the food? Must you have Lily of the Valley dripping from every pew, chair, centerpiece and bouquet for your December wedding? Then you need to be putting all your cash into flowers child, because that's going to be one costly decision.

In the end, I was happy. I felt like I looked like a million bucks. You guys saw my dad's face when he saw me, clearly I shocked the hell out of him. The Candyman said he's never seen me look so beautiful. I loved my dress. It was totally comfortable (although I did have some boob issues, more on that later) and I seriously felt stunning. It was worth every damn penny. All 213,201 of them!

What area are you dumping all your cash into?