The Facts of Fittings

The process of trying on multiple wedding dresses in the quest of “The One” can be, well, incredibly trying.

To ensure your appointments are smooth sailing, check out these 10 practical pointers from wedding gown designer Elizabeth Dye, who owns the Portland, Ore.-based bridal boutique The English Dept., and recently opened her own San Francisco showroom.

1. Saturdays are by far the busiest day at any shop, thus you’ll have the most time to explore the collections if you’re able to visit on a weekday. You’ll also get the most attention from the staff, who, at any reputable boutique, will genuinely be qualified to help you through what can be a bewildering process.

2. It’s better to only bring along one or two advisers when you try on dresses, especially on the first round. You may want to come back with additional friends or family on a future occasion, but large groups of people can be distracting.

3. Choose your advisers wisely. Whom in your life do you truly trust? Who puts you at ease and makes you feel good about yourself? This could be your best friend, a sibling, a parent or even your fiancé – if you don’t mind him seeing your dress before the wedding! The important thing is that you feel supported and “cheered on” through the experience.

4. Although you may have never shopped for a wedding dress before, you’ve been dressing yourself for years! Think about what you already have in your closet that fits and flatters you. Consider overall shape, necklines and fabrics. These can be good reference points when you start shopping.

5. Many brides have weight or fitness goals they want to achieve before shopping for a wedding dress. It’s understandable, but don’t put so much pressure on yourself that you run out the clock before your event. Select a dress with a design and size that looks good on you now. If you plan to hit the gym, it will look even better on you in a few months.

6. Keep your mind open to trying on dresses other than those that immediately attract you. Brides are often surprised to find that “The One” is a dress they hadn’t originally considered.

7. A dress can look gorgeous in a magazine, but what’s important is how it looks on you. It comes down to fit – in our modern T-shirt-and-jeans lives, many of us have little experience of wearing clothes that truly fit. Put yourself in the qualified hands of the boutique and the alterations seamstress. The dress that works well with your body is the right dress.

8. Travel light. Many wedding dresses are made from delicate silks, which can be damaged by jewelry and makeup. This is not a day for bronzer, self-tanner and heavy perfume.

9. What to bring: Simple nude undergarments are appropriate for trying on most dresses. A pair of shoes with the heel height you intend to wear can also be helpful.

10. Save the Champagne for after you try on dresses – it’s good to have a clear head for such an important purchase. Save the hearty celebration for after you’ve found your dream dress!

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