Scared to go dress shopping. First timer tips and advice (long)

posted 2 years ago in Dress
Post # 16
93 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: February 2019

AnonBee2019 :  I have this experience in general, I am 5’6 and a size 14, but standard dresses are jsut not made for me. 


Luckily, we have a wedding seamstress in the family, so I am just going to find styles online that I love and have her make it, standing in front of people trying on dresses sounds like punishment to me! Good luck finding a dress, and you’ll be beautiful no matter what you wear! 

Post # 18
231 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: July 2017

I really like your FI’s suggestion. You can go to a few stores and try gowns with your mom and a few months later, when you feel more confident you can do your dress shoping by yourself. I had to do the same thing but for different reasons. I kind of knew which gown I wanted. My mother lives in a different country from where I live. But she wants to do dress shopping with me. Where she lives the gowns are very smilar and all ball gowns. So when I visited her, I went to dress shopping with her, tried as many gowns as possible but did not purchase any of them. I don’t think you will break your mom’s hearthby doing this. At the end of the day she wants your happiness. 

If you keep working out regularly and switch to a healthy diet you won’t have any problems with loosing weight. You have enough time to loose weight.

Post # 19
883 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: February 2019

I could have written your OP Bee.  I was really dreading wedding dress shopping.  I lost a good bit of weight a couple years back, I wasn’t quite at my ideal weight but was feeling good about where I was at.  Than I did training to become a barre instructor, got injured.  I was working out a lot less as I struggled with hip pain and a busy teaching schedule.  My eating slipped as well.  I feel a tremendous amount of guilt and shame around all of this.  It’s been tough for me to be a fitness instructor when I don’t feel confident in my own body.

Because of this, I was SUPER anxious going into my first appointment.  But in my case I knew I would need to start looking before I was at my happy weight because I knew it was going to take me time to find my dream dress.

Being totally honest, I haven’t loved dress shopping.  I find it a bit awkward to dress in front of someone when I don’t feel totally comfortable in my own body.  But now that I’ve have 5 appts it feels a little less weird each time.  And it definitely takes time to adjust to the dress sizing.  Everyone told me I’d be fine and maybe it’s the designers I’m picking but I’m a size 6 and sometimes they are 10’s and still don’t zip up.  I’ve also noticed that at the higher end boutiques the sizes seem to be even smaller than the more affordable ones, the problem is compounded if its a trunk show.

That said, I still am glad I’ve been going dress shopping, even if i’m not yet at my happy weight again.  Personally I’ve been trying to strike that balance between something I would find flattering even if I don’t lose any of the weight and something I think will look good if I do.  I personally just don’t want the stress of feeling like I HAVE to lose the weight to have a good wedding day because the planning process is stressful enough.  I was worried because I’m not super happy about my body that it would color my ability to find a dress and that hasn’t been the case at all.  I have 3 dresses I really love that my friends think are flattering now and I imagine will be even so on the day.

I also agree on doing everything you can to up your confidence – I’ve been doing my hair and makeup nicely to get closer to how I’d hope to feel on the day.

Post # 20
1106 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: September 2017

AnonBee2019 :  I totally get it, just know that 1) no one else has to know what size the tag says, and 2) when you get it tailored to fit you before the actual wedding, it’ll be YOUR size, whatever that ends up being. Not a label size, not what the wedding-industrial complex has decided it is, but uniquely yours.

Also a tip, since you mentioned that you like a detailed back – when I went to try on dresses the day I ended up buying, with my mom, sister, and stepmom, I squeezed into Spanx shorts, which gave me a weird muffin top and in low-back dresses it looked like I was overflowing. Do not do this to yourself. I adore the dress I ended up in, which had beautiful lacy back detail, but I removed a whole bunch of options including everything I had pinned because I wore weird uncomfortable undergarments I had never worn before when trying on a bunch of heavy dresses. Be open to trying on a dress both with and without the shapewear, unless you’re familiar with shapewear and are bringing some that won’t squeeze you in weird places!

This is my end result:

Post # 23
883 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: February 2019

mrsptobe2017 :  Honestly I’ve been skipping the shapewear because I know myself.  I don’t enjoy wearing it on any other day so I doubt I will on my wedding.  I want to feel pretty but comfort is super important to me.  I’ve been gravitating towards dresses that already have some structure built in.

Post # 24
145 posts
Blushing bee

I was totally in your position when I went dress shopping! I am 5’3″ and had also gained some “happy weight”, I also hate long dresses and wasn’t looking forward to shopping.

My advice is to go shopping with 1 or 2 people you really trust – keep the circle small. My experience is that EVERYONE has opinions on their preferred style when you need people around you who know what your style is. I took my mum cos we’re close, and I just tried on everything so I didn’t miss anything. We laughed at the bad ones and found the right one sooner than I expected.

Your dress is out there, and you’ll look beautiful.

Post # 25
536 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: July 2018

AnonBee2019 :  I have a similar story. I was scared to go dress shopping because I wasn’t satisfied with my body. I went from a size 4 all my life to a size 8 pretty quick (35lbs gain). My body didn’t feel like mine anymore. Even my face looks different. I waited until 10 months out to go dress shopping, I had lost 3lbs by that point but that really didn’t make a huge difference. I was so scared to go, I thought dress shopping would depress me more about my body. I went shopping alone the first two times because I didn’t want my mom or bridal party to see me if I looked huge in something. I ended up liking ballgowns best because they made my waist appear small kinda like it used to be. I actually felt pretty good about myself wearing a ballgown. So I ended up loving 3 dresses at the last store and I took my mom and a few bridesmaids another day to help me pick between the 3. When I was wearing the dress I chose I didn’t feel chubby, I just felt happy. Since I’ve purchased the dress I don’t feel like I HAVE to get back down to a size 4, I’m now just focusing on getting healthy again. With a smaller goal, I’ve been a lot more successful which actually losing weight I guess because I’m not as stressed about the huge goal, and I’m starting to enjoy exercise 

Overall, dress shopping made me a little more confident rather than less. 

Also, since your wedding date is April 2019 I’d recommend waiting until May of 2018 to go dress shopping. A lot of brides regret their decision if they pick a dress too early. 

Post # 26
65 posts
Worker bee

I seen a lot of knee replacements- if your Mom doesn’t have a lot of other major health issues she will be more than up for going shopping in a few months! Its painful at first but people are pretty mobile and more comfortable relatively quickly. 



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