- 8 years ago
- Wedding: September 2011
**I didn’t want to post this in Local because it may be of great interest to some ladies who are not local**
**I am in no way connected to Curvy Girls Bridal except for being a customer**
Having seen a couple posts lately about the struggles of a plus-sized bride or bridesmaid/MoH, I just wanted to share my feelings after a visit to Curvy Girls Bridal in Fairfax, VA.
I am technically a plus-sized girl, wearing a street size 16. While I don’t have deep-rooted negative body issues, I did have a LOT of hesitation about going into a bridal shop, based on so much negative feedback from girls of all sizes. I don’t feel like someone is doing me a favor by taking my $1000, and I shouldn’t be treated like that, regardless of my size. So I had planned on going the designer knock-off route from one of the many Chinese dress factories, but my Fi convinced me to at least have a professional fitting (and I agreed after we tried to get my measurements for a custom-made casual dress on Etsy…. we suck at measuring.)
So I googled a bit and came across Curvy Girls Bridal in Fairfax, VA. Website looked nice although it was pretty hard to tell which exact styles they had in stock as they list their designers but no detail on which lines or dresses. Since they had about 8 designers listed, some of which I’d been already scoping out, I made an appointment.
There was no problem getting an appointment when I wanted it. The shop itself was a lot bigger than I had expected, and nicely laid out with a mix of very private areas, plenty of fitting rooms with curtains (and they’re big rooms– I think we had about 18 dresses in mine with room to spare), and some more “open” areas where your entourage can check you out.
I was BLOWN AWAY by the selection. Racks and racks of samples in a gazillion different sizes, and the sales lady knew exactly where everything was. I believe their sizes go up to about a 36, and I’m fairly sure they don’t stock much in the way of samples below a 14 but they will order just about anything for you.
Our sales lady was top notch. She started by asking the most important question— price range— and while I danced around it the best I could, I gave her my numbers and she said great, what street size do you wear? Then asked me a bunch of questions about the venue, what kind of dress did I have in mind, what did I absolutely not want, and how much “leeway” did I have, meaning would I be OK if she brought me something that wasn’t exactly on my want/don’t-want list.
She picked out about 8 dresses to start, telling me about the fabrics and designers, even going outside their proper “bridal” collection as I’d asked her for something not too overly ornate and she thought there were a couple of cocktail dresses I might like if they could get them in White. As we tried on the first dress, she made me spin around in the fitting room so she could get a better idea of my body type, and off she went to grab more dresses while I twirled and pranced in the taffeta.
I have to admit, she forced me out of my comfort zone quite a bit, and I was stunned by a fit-and-flare dress that I’d actually seen online and thought was gorgeous but didn’t think would work with my body type. Well, it was just amazing on me, and I actually almost bought it, that’s how good it looked. The only reason I didn’t was because it was such a departure from my normal wardrobe that I was concerned about spending the entire wedding fiddling with my clothes! The sales lady was very generous and honest with feedback, helping me see what really worked on my figure, and while she did point out flaws and things that just didn’t hang right, I didn’t feel criticized at all. It was a little uncomfortable at first to hear someone tell you “this makes you look a bit bottom-heavy” but #1 it was the truth and #2 it helped me get off the fence on a couple of dresses.
And I did have that Hooray moment when I tried on what would become MY dress 😀
So I will be picking up a lovely, elegant Allure dress in July, and will let them alter it and ordered some extra fabric for them to make me a bolero, and all in all, the only thing I felt badly about was making such a large purchase without shopping around more. But that’s just my weird relationship with money and honestly, even though we went a tiny bit over budget (and I do mean tiny), if it’s a nice dress and it looks great and I’m happy with it, no need to drag it out.
The only cautions I would give potential brides considering shopping with them:
-They are not cheap. They do have a variety of price ranges but they do not commonly stock dresses that retail under about $700-800. The sales lady mentioned getting some girls into dresses within their budgets by helping find samples and soon-to-be-discontinued models that they could discount down to about $500, but realistically, if you walk in that door, you should be prepared to pay $1000 or more with the alterations. This wasn’t ideal for me but not the end of the world, as I’d rather pay an extra $200 than spend a few more Saturdays knocking around dress shops.
-They are currently focusing on October brides, due to the shipping schedules of the designers and vendors. There is a little wiggle room— we paid a $75 upcharge to get my dress delivered in July instead of late August– but if your deadline is closer, you may be limited to clearance/sample selections.
Also, if you are a plus-sized bride or bridesmaid and having a hard time in your area, personally I’d be willing to travel quite a distance to visit this shop. In fact, I told my fiance that we were lucky to be pretty much local, as it was a really great experience and if the shop had been in San Diego, I’d have been happy to fly out there, but since it was just a car ride, then that’s two airfares and a night or two of hotel we don’t have to fuss with.
All in all…. I couldn’t be happier with how this all went, and I couldn’t recommend them more strongly!