(Closed) Dress Shopping Tips

posted 5 years ago in Full Figured
Post # 2
1231 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: October 2016

I found that not every bridal salon that I went to had plus size dresses.  The last salon that I went to had 4 bridal size 14(street size 10) dresses to try on.  You might want to call ahead to find a salon that carries the sizes or styles that you are interested in.  Wear  underwear that you don’t mind a stranger seeing since the consultant will help you get dressed in the gowns.  Take shoes that are the same heel height as you are planning to wear.  You don’t need to buy shapewear from the salon though they will offer it. I would wait until you choose your dress to purchase it.  A good place to go for a first time is David’s Bridal.  They tend to carry a wide  variety of sizes and silhouettes so you can narrow down the best silhouette for you. Try to limit your entourage to your most supportive friends and family.  Show them pictures of the dresses you like the best before you go so they know what styles you like.  Its really discouraging to love a dress and have some that you love and respect not like it.  Keep a positive attitude.  Know your budget.  And most importantly have fun.  Good luck findidng your perfect dress.

Post # 3
538 posts
Busy bee

Go by yourself first, just for a trial run. I stopped by by David’s Bridal after work alone one day and am so very glad I did. This is your chance to figure out what what types of things look good and what looks awful without anyone else seeing. When some things *did* look awful, it was way less traumatizing since I didn’t have an audience.

Now, when I go back with a “posse,” I will know what silouettes to ask for and what to stay away from!

  • This reply was modified 4 years, 10 months ago by  Shrink-E-Dink.
Post # 4
351 posts
Helper bee

I don’t have plus size specific advice, sorry – but I have some general tips.  

Try on styles that you don’t think will suit you, because you might be surprised.  I would never have picked some of the dresses that looked best on me, and one I loved on the mannequin and picked didn’t suit my body at all.  

Make sure you can sit comfortably in the dress – not too tight, cutting in boning, bunching, or falling down top.

Post # 5
8575 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: October 2014

Some tips that were super helpful to me when I went dress shopping :

– wear your own strapless bra, if you own one – i was stuffed into a much too small [I wear a Dear Daughter, sometimes DDD and they stuck me in C!], so you are at least somewhat comfortable. spanx would be a plus as well, if you own them.

– do your hair & makeup – it’s much easier to picture what you would look like on your wedding day if you have your hair & makeup done when you try them on.

– bring your mom, a friend, or someone who you are comfortable being somewhat naked in front of. this was a big one for me because I don’t get nude in front of people, and having my boobs spilling out wasn’t okay. instead of my consultant dressing me, my mom was able to.

– unless you have a particular style of dress in mind, try at least once of each style [mermaid, ballgown, aline, fit n flare, ect]. you just never know what looks good on you!

I don’t know where you are going, but I had somewhat of an issue trying on dresses as a plus sized woman. I wasn’t able to try on many of the dresses because they were a size 8 or small. I was able to try on 1 size 14, and 1 size 16, and the rest were at least an 18. they need to be able to clear your boobs to try on, and they just weren’t making it past mine.

Good luck!

Post # 6
293 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: September 2016

I’m a size 26/28 and found my dress at the beginning of the month. My mom and I went to Alfred Angelo and I spent a couple of evenings going over their website and favoriting dresses that looked interesting. They go up to a 26 in every style at no extra charge and everything can be altered up to a 28 (and their bridesmaid dresses go up to a 30), so I wanted to check them out, but the closest one was in Indiana, while I’m in Chicago. Since it was such a long drive, I called a couple of weeks in advance of the appointment and requested a few dresses I really liked so that they would have them in store on the day of my appointment. Alfred Angelo actually set the ones I’d requested aside, with my name on them. One of them was what we ended up purchasing, and I absolutely love it. The point of this is just to suggest looking at websites of designers you like and then calling to request those dresses in your size. Give them enough time for the dresses to come in. 

David’s Bridal, as mentioned above, does carry plenty of plus size dresses, but only a few of them go past a 26, which was a problem for me. I don’t know what size you are, but keep that in mind. Both David’s and Alfred Angelo run street size, as opposed to bridal size, where a 26 might actually only fit a 16.

Different designers that don’t have their own shops will usually list shops that carry their lines on their websites, so that’s an option.

Go with people you feel comfortable with, who know your style, and who will NOT mock you or tell you that you’re “too big to wear that”.

Bring clothes that are easy to get in and out of in a small space. Not every shop has expansive dressing rooms. The three that I’ve gone to were more like closets.

Try on other silhouettes that you may be iffy on, since you may like it better on you than on the hanger or model. Every body is shaped a little differently, so clothes will fit a little differently on every body. A friend of mine was dead set against a big poofy dress, but her best friend insisted she try one on, just for fun, when she wasn’t having any luck and was getting frustrated. It turned out to be the one.

This sounds like complete bull, but trust me, it works. BRING A BOTTLE OF WATER. If you start feeling overwhelmed and about to cry and don’t want to, take a drink. It is physically impossible to cry while you’re taking in fluid. One of my chefs told me about this when I told her about how I had a panic attack during a job interview and, amazingly, it works. Besides, it’s a little tiring to be getting in and out of dresses and you’ll want something to drink.

But just remember that you will find a dress. Everyone finds a dress, even if it takes a little time πŸ™‚


Post # 7
2121 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: October 2015

Don’t get discouraged! I am a plus sized bride as well (street size 16) and went to David’s Bridal first to try on silhouettes, see what worked and what didn’t without the major pressure to buy (the boutique I really wanted to go to had a thing where you got 20% off if you put a deposit down on your first visit, so I saved it for last). 

Where I ended up going actually had a wide variety of sample sizes, from the usual 10 up to sizes 20+. They also had sample clearance dresses in larger sizes as well. I didn’t even attempt to try on anything in smaller than a 14 sample size, because I knew I would get discouraged if I REALLY had to hold it up to me. So be picky! 

Also, general advice – eat and drink something before you go. Some places won’t let you bring water in (where I got my dress didn’t), and trying on dresses is exhausting, so you’ll need the energy. Wear makeup and do your hair – it’s easier to get an idea of how you’ll look on your wedding day if you’re not looking like you just rolled out of bed. Bring people who will have an opinion, but who won’t take over your appointment.

Post # 8
1845 posts
Buzzing bee

This is not specifically full figured advice but trust the sales consultant. If they recommend you try a certain style on they are doing it for a reason so just try it on. Sometimes they’ll deliberately put you in something shocking for your body shape to show you that the ones you had tried on previously are right for you, or they’ll put you in a shape they know you will shine in. Just whatever they throw at you try on. 

Post # 9
1198 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: January 2015

This is what I did but most people probably wouldn’t: I didn’t bring my family or my best friends. I brought two good friends from work. They were neutral 3rd parties who were not overly invested in it and could give comments about the dresses I tried. 

In comparison, I just had my hair and makeup trial which I brought my sister to. And it was a disaster. She and the hairdresser talked me into doing things I didn’t want and now I’m thinking of scheduling another trial by myself. 

Post # 10
58 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: September 2016

I’m leaving a comment so i can check back into this thread later on =)


Post # 11
471 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: October 2015 - Drury Lane Oakbrook

As others suggested, your first stop should be David’s Bridal, pereferably alone or with one other person who will be 100% honest with you.  If you go alone, go on a weekday afternoon when the store is not busy and you can try on as many dresses as you want.

Do your research before you go.  There are several comment threads for Plus Size brides on here that include photos, and almost all of them include the designer and style names.  There are quite a few dresses that are very popular for plus size brides, such as Maggie Sottero Lorie or Sottero & Midgeley Adorae so you can find photos of bbrides of all sizes wearing them.  Just write down any styles that you like, and even if you can’t find that exact style in your size to try on you will most likely find a dress with a similar fit so you can get an idea of how it looks.  Just by looking at photos, you can get an idea on if you prefer tulle or satin, lace or no lace, beading or not, etc.

Another bee also mentioned this one and it’s very important- bring a bottle of water!  Not only does it help calm you down, but wedding dresses are hot.  And putting on multiple dresses in an hour really is a workout.  If you have long hair you will also want to bring a hair tie or put it up before you go. 

Lastly, I went to try on dresses both in just a regular bra and panties and in Spanx and a strapless bra.  I highly recommend wearing the spanx.  Not because of the slimming properties, but because it helps dresses slide over your skin much easier and gives you more coverage between dresses.

Most of all, have fun!  Don’t get discouraged if you don’t find anything immediately.  There are thousands of dresses out there that look amazing on curvy girls.

Post # 12
84 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: October 2015 - Coastal Maine inn

– Definitely call the salon before you go – tell them your street size and ask how many samples they have in that range. Some salons won’t have many samples in the right size, but they have tons of quick fixes to fit you in a smaller sample so you can see how it would look in the right size. Just need to make sure that they’re prepared to do that. 

– Remember that MANY wedding dresses can be ordered in bridal sizes in the twenties, some much higher than that, so if you’re trying on samples that are too small for you, keep in mind that they’re small on most people! 

– I second the tip to do your hair and makeup. Feeling pretty before you go in will go a long way towards making you feel STUNNING in the dresses you try on. 

– SPANX! Can’t live with ’em, can’t live without ’em πŸ™‚ 

– Don’t go in planning to buy on your first appointment, it’s just too much pressure. Plan one or two “reconnaissance” missions first, where you’re just trying to figure out what you like and what works on you. Be open to trying on things you don’t like on the hanger, and silhouettes you wouldn’t pick for yourself. 

Good luck! 

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