Monday, 1 March 2010

Hunting for Dresses part deux

(And that's 'deux' not look any further for you Nick!)

So in my last post on this subject I dwelt rather heavily on the negative brain-melting putting-way-too-much-pressure-on-myself side of my dress hunting experience. I will now skip over to a much sunnier side of
the street.

A complete abjuration of wedding dress shops wasn't really a workable option so I decided instead to rip off the plaster. I would take a Monday off work and have one whole day's try-on-athon, and I would do it with my mother. I was a little nervous. Mother and daughter stuff can be famously tricky - mothers don't just push your buttons, they made your buttons! I'm very close to my Mama but she influences me in ways friends can't or don't and has almost as strong an opinion on what suits me as I do. But I needn't have worried - she ain't no slouch in the style stakes and all she really ever looked at was the expression on my face so in the end the day pretty much rocked.

Of all the places I ended up going to these are the ones I recommend for those still hunting...

The Designer Wedding Dress Exchange - run from a really nice (and normal!) lady's front room in Weybridge. She has tons of designer dresses, including Vera Wang, Caroline Castigliano, Sassi Holford and on and on plus veils and shoes and other trappings. And everything is a lot cheaper than in the shops - I mean A LOT! I found a dress there that I liked - the David Fielden number below; all floaty and romantic - which I nearly got until we decided it looked a bit maternity on me. I really recommend this place though.

Oxfam - It was Peacocks Feathers' blog that first made me aware that this exists. Brilliant idea but it is luck of the draw. This time we went to the one in Leatherhead where the assistant again was really nice and has since called me when some new dresses came in that she thought I might like - how nice is that?!
Shikasuki - Speaking of the lovely Rachel Peacocks, I got to meet her in the very person when I went to this amazing vintage clothes shop in Primrose Hill. Not really a wedding dress shop but they have a incredible collection of beautiful pieces - one 1950 sequined evening dress I was very tempted by. I didn't go for it in the end as I knew Nick wouldn't like it that much (something about the neckline) but it would have been something wickedly different and fun. Maybe next time (ha ha).
(I did buy my sister some fabulous clip earrings there though.)
Mirror Mirror - verging on the snooty/pushy but they have a great selection of designers and let you take your time and take photos which is more than can be said for some other shops. I had a brief crush on a Cymbeline dress but got over it.
and finally ...
Heirloom Couture - Rachel (a different one) has a tiny little studio on Kensel Road. The first time I went I was alone, soaked from the rain and exhausted from work. It was like walking into an Aladdin's cave of dresses - beautiful pieces from 20's 30's, right through to amazing sequined 80s numbers. And best of all is Rachel herself - she's so sane and sweet you feel as though she is already one of your best friends the moment you walk in. But I was so ashamed of how sweaty and bothered I was and the fight I'd just had with my sister on the phone that I didn't really take any of it in. But back there with my mother I tried on a dress that fitted me as though it had been made for me and we couldn't stop smiling. Then I put on a veil and Mama burst into tears. So now the dress and the veil are mine and best of all, I got to share a very special moment with my dearest mother.

all pictures by friends and relatives except the first which is from here


  1. Oh that Cymbeline dress is dreamy. I'm definitely intrigued in Heirloom Couture as well. Are they in London?

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  3. So! you have the dress!?
    Can't wait to see all th pics... Remember the time spent with your mom, it's the best. I like to to things with mine, she's always there for me and my bros..

  4. oh!!! where is your dress!?
    will you keep it secret until the wedding or are we going to see some pics?
    I am moving to London,with my business, so there is one more option now ; )

  5. So glad you found it! Can't wait to see the photos. x