Attire and Accessories

Dresses for 50 yr. old bride

Dear Knot ladies -- I am looking for a dress. I am 5'5", size 14-16 in normal clothes, with a 42DD chest. I am an adult who has a very good idea what is flattering for me and what is emphatically NOT flattering. I want the following things in a dress:

STRAPS, for the love of god. Not an illusion neckline with weird little cups that don't support anything, but STRAPS or sleeves. Not because I'm Amish, but because I need straps to put a bra inside of.

Which means I also don't want a plunging back. I also don't want a weird illusion back that is sheer to my waist either.

I don't want a strapless dress that is altered to have straps, because they always looked tacked on, and they rarely supply any support. I am not interested in wearing a corset. This is a party I plan to enjoy, and a strapless dress and a corset means I will spend the evening counting the minutes until I can take off the damned corset. Fail!

I don't want a mother of the bride dress, because although I like some of the styles, I find very few are produced in ivory, because as MOB, your supposed to wear some other color.

I also am looking for a long dress with no train, but those are impossible to find in wedding dresses too, so I'm thinking I'm going to have to just hack the thing off, which is crazy, but??? I hate the weight of a train, even if it can be bustled so that I can walk and dance like a normal human.

I love the front of this dress, but the plunging back once again is a problem for having any kind of support garment:
http://www.allurebridals.com/products/8800

Please don't reply telling me how the right fit will make me think that a strapless dress is a good idea. I would have to quit my job and become a pilates instructor and have breast reduction for that to be a remotely good idea, and it ain't happening.

Also, does anyone else find it just insane that we are supposed to fork over $1500 for a dress that we don't actually get to try on, unless we are magically 5'8" and 120lbs? I don't understand how I can commit to any dress that I can't actually tell is going to fit me and be comfortable. And comfortable doesn't mean "yes, you can sorta breath in it, as long as you ignore how itchy the lining is" I mean comfortable enough to dance and hang out in all night.

Does anyone else find this entire dress shopping thing dreadful?
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Re: Dresses for 50 yr. old bride

  • I would start calling around different bridal salons and ask about your size and what they have that you could try on in the style you want. Many stores carry more than the dresses meant for size 0. I am not tiny and I found many I liked. Wedding dresses are just different than normal clothes. The shear construction of the dress makes it just fit better.

    I would never say go strapless if you hate the look. You should feel comfortable and beautiful on your day. That said when you do find a place that carries enough options in your size to try on be a little adventurous. Let the sales lady make a few suggestions and see where it goes. You never know what something will look like unless you try it on.

    I would never suggest buying something you cannot try on. That advice has been given on these boards a thousand times over and with good reason. You could also try posting on your local board to see if anyone in your area has found a store with options you seek.

    Good luck and try and keep an open mind. I too was dreading shopping. I am NOT thin and am NOT a girly girl. However, I did find one that I really do love and works with me not against me.
    LKBBaltimore
  • I am a street size 12 and was able to find plenty at bridal shops to try on, I would just call the ahead of time and describe what you are looking for and your size to make sure they have something before you head out. I would also suggest looking at dresses outside of just bridal gowns, look at bridesmaid dresses or even just gowns at a department store, if you a wanting white you often can get them in white. 
    I got a bit discouraged when shopping for dresses, my parents live in an affluent area with LOTS of store options, I went to about 4 without finding anything that suited me at all. I thought if I can't find it here no way I'll find it somewhere else. Sure enough, one time my mom came to visit me where I was working, small-town-nowhere and there was one dress shop, we thought heck we will try it. It was there I found my dress so I'm really glad I didn't stick to what I thought would work and stepped out of the box I had placed myself in. I also am glad I didn't stick to what I thought looked good on me, I thought I needed an A-line because of my large chest and nonexistant behind, but I ended up with a sheath that suits my body in ways I wasn't even aware of. 
    image
  • climbingwifeclimbingwife NYC 'burbs
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    edited September 2015
    So, go to a bridal salon and tell them what you posted here. They should be able to help you find a dress. I don't know what's so hard about that. 

    I'm 5'1". I had no problem trying dresses on. Yes, they were all very long, but I was still able to find exactly what I wanted. My dress was comfortable, not scratchy. I literally wore my dress for over 10 hours. And I danced my ass off in it. 

  • I have been to 2 big stores so far, and they only had a handful of dresses that even had straps. And I am in a large metropolitan area. I'm just starting the search, so most of my looking so far has been online so far. I have been told that many of the 'big salons' only carry samples in a size or 2 (like 4 and 12), and that they are unlikely to have any specific dress in my size to try.

    And I have told a few stores what I'm looking for, and was more or less told that they don't have much that fits the bill.

    And yes, justsie, a sheath is pretty much where I'm headed.
  • Many evening dresses from department stores top out at 14, and when you read the measurements for what they call a 14, it's more like a 12 anywhere else. So that's killing off a number of appealing choices for me also.
  • What "big salons" are you looking at? I'd say out of the 5 stores I went to not a single one limited sizes to just two options, even at the smaller boutiques. Have you tried a typical store like Davids Bridal, I know they carry a wide range of sizes.
    image
  • David's Bridal and Alfred Angelo tend to carry dresses in many different sizes. I was just in a wedding where my friend is also very well endowed and wore a beautiful lace dress with straps from David's Bridal with a normal bra.  

    Additionally, since I see you are in Baltimore, maybe check out The Bridal Boutique in Columbia. I'm roughly the same size (with a much smaller chest) and they had plenty in my size to try on. Though, I can't remember what they had with straps, because I wasn't really looking for that.

    "There is always some madness in love. But there is also always some reason in madness." -Friedrich Nietzsche, "On Reading and Writing"
  • climbingwifeclimbingwife NYC 'burbs
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    I have been to 2 big stores so far, and they only had a handful of dresses that even had straps. And I am in a large metropolitan area. I'm just starting the search, so most of my looking so far has been online so far. I have been told that many of the 'big salons' only carry samples in a size or 2 (like 4 and 12), and that they are unlikely to have any specific dress in my size to try.

    And I have told a few stores what I'm looking for, and was more or less told that they don't have much that fits the bill.

    And yes, justsie, a sheath is pretty much where I'm headed.
    I find it hard to believe that in Baltimore you can't find dresses that have straps. You're not far from DC. Maybe try looking there too. There are thousands of styles of wedding dresses. Start doing some research. Get on google and find a salon that will be able to work with you. 

  • Have been to both David's and Alfred Angelo. David's had a few pretty dresses, but the only one I really liked topped out at a labelled 14 that was much too tight. I thought the fabrics at Alfred Angelo were really cheap and ugly, and again, more than 80% of their dresses are strapless. The saleswoman flat out told me they just don't have much that isn't strapless and doesn't have a plunging back.

    Don't be insulting, I have been doing research online like mad for over a month, and finding very little. If I really like a dress, it is not made in my size. If they have straps, they have a plunging back or a giant keyhole. I swear every line sells the same dozen or so dress styles over and over again.
  • LulawifeLulawife
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    edited September 2015
    There is another thread right now about white/ivory bridesmaid dresses being worn as a wedding dress. If you haven't already, you should expand your search to include those. I've seen beautiful white/ivory bridesmaid dresses by Dessy that would fit all your requirements. You would just have to find a salon near you that carries the designer to try them on. 

    ETA: Two bridesmaid dresses that I think would make lovely wedding gowns.



  • I'm not insulted, but I know that looking at a dress online is nothing compared to going to shop in person. A sales associate can also let you know if a dress and be custom made to widen straps, raise a back, or raise a neckline to accommodate your body.
    "There is always some madness in love. But there is also always some reason in madness." -Friedrich Nietzsche, "On Reading and Writing"
  • LKBBaltimoreLKBBaltimore
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    edited September 2015

    emoc625 said:
    There is another thread right now about white/ivory bridesmaid dresses being worn as a wedding dress. If you haven't already, you should expand your search to include those. I've seen beautiful white/ivory bridesmaid dresses by Dessy that would fit all your requirements. You would just have to find a salon near you that carries the designer to try them on. 

    ETA: Two bridesmaid dresses that I think would make lovely wedding gowns.


    The first one looks promising. The second one would be tragic on someone who is round with a short waist. Thanks, I have been looking at some bridesmaid dresses, should explore more that way.
  • msuprincess04, I am really terrified of major restructuring of a dress through alterations. When I read reviews of bridal salons, the biggest bone of contention and complaint are unsuccessful alteration efforts. So I am pretty much ignoring the idea of taking a dress that lacks half of my requirements and trusting someone to massively alter it to look nothing like the way it does out of the box. It's just too stressful, and if it doesn't work, you are totally screwed, the dress is yours and you are left unhappy with an expensive dress you don't want to wear. It just seems very risky to me.
  • I was initially against getting a strapless dress because I am so busty but the dress I ultimately loved when I went shopping was, you guessed it....strapless!  Many designers have accessories (bolero jackets, wraps, straps, etc.) that you can add on to your dress.  I ended up ordering a bolero from the designer of my dress that matches perfectly.  I also googled and found several others I liked as well from other places.  So if you find a dress that you like on but it is strapless, there are options out there to add to your dress easily so you will feel more comfortable in it. 
    Wedding Countdown Ticker

     

     

  • Is there a strapless dress style that suspends gravity around the wearer, so my boobs don't hang around my middle, and magically keeps me from spending my wedding day surreptitiously hitching up my dress and strapless bra?

    I would just not be comfortable in a strapless dress, and that's even just standing around. Forget about dancing. I know, some folks are fine with it, but I would be so distracted by supervising my dress it would make me stabby. I am really not even looking at them.

    The fact that strapless is 90% of my choices is making me surly too.

    I like the front of dresses like this:
    https://www.theknot.com/fashion/georgia-sottero-and-midgley-wedding-dress

    and then you click on the back photo.
    100% of the dresses that have straps and aren't cut down to the navel in front have a deeply plunging back which prevents wearing any kind of bra. It's just pure idiocy.

    If you are not 25 and have a big chest, you need to be wearing some kind of support. And if it's not a corset (and it is not going to be a bloody corset), then it's a bra. Bras have straps. Where the eff do the straps go in these dresses? Not just over the shoulder but across the back.
  • climbingwifeclimbingwife NYC 'burbs
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    I was 34 on my wedding day and I am pretty top heavy. I did not need to wear any kind of bra with my dress. It stayed put all day. I literally did not have to hike it up once. I never once felt it was falling down, or that it had shifted.

    kkcc2015
  • MobKazMobKaz Chicago suburbs
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    Have you looked at the modest lines of the wedding designers?  What about places like Mod Cloth or BHLDN?  Their size charts go up to a size 16 and 44 bust.  Nordstrom has some nice options as well, and many of their bridesmaid dresses go up to size 18.  You could order online and try on at home.  Their return policy is incredible.  I did this for a MOB dress.  I ordered 4 dresses.  I kept one and returned the others to the store with absolutely no hassle whatsoever.

    http://shop.nordstrom.com/c/womens-dresses-shop?dept=8000001&origin=topnav#category=b2374331|f60126558&type=category&marketingslots=2&defaultsize3=&size=&width=&color=offwhite&price=&brand=&stores=&instoreavailability=false&lastfilter=filtercategory_3&sizeFinderId=2&resultsmode=&segmentId=0&page=1&partial=1&pagesize=100&contextualsortcategoryid=0
  • AW3380AW3380
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    edited September 2015
    Good point @MobKaz, I know the designer of my gown, Bonny, carries a modest line of gowns. www.bonny.com if you want to check them out.
    Wedding Countdown Ticker

     

     

  • AHA! I found a bridesmaid dress on bonny.com that I really like. Ignore the aqua version, it is dreadful.

    This comes in ivory!

    https://www.bestbridalprices.com/images/bonny/s2015/large/7503.html

    Great tip, thanks.

    I looked at some of the 'modest' lines, and found some candidates too.
    kimmiinthemitten
  • I love nearly everything on BHLDN, but most of their dresses are not made in big enough sizes. Am going down there next weekend to see one dress in particular. Not crazy about anything on ModCloth.
  • MobKazMobKaz Chicago suburbs
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    I love nearly everything on BHLDN, but most of their dresses are not made in big enough sizes. Am going down there next weekend to see one dress in particular. Not crazy about anything on ModCloth.
    As you are new to The Knot, there is one issue that will make your responses easier to read.  When your comment is actually in reference to something a prior poster has said, hit the "quote" button directly underneath their post.  Your comment will follow directly under it, and it will make much more sense to the readers.
  • I was also going to suggest looking at bridesmaid dresses. WeddingtonWay.com has a large selection of dresses and carries designers that can be found in stores. I am 5'1", a street size 8, with a 32G bra. Like @climbingwife mentioned, it's not impossible to try the dresses. Sure, most are very long, but nothing you won't be able to manage. I was only semi-open to strapless but really wanted things with cap sleeves or something similar. My dress has capsleeves and an open back. With built in cups from a seamstress, you should be okay regardless of the situation. 

    I would go and ask for any dress, be it bridal, BM, or MOB, in an ivory. I would also look outside of Baltimore and go into the suburbs and even into DC. Be open to department stores as well.


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  • Just wanted to add that I'm a 36DD and I did not wear a bra on my wedding day.  My dress (size 14) had a lot of structure in the upper half and we also added bra cups to add some extra support there.  I had cap sleeves with some illusion fabric in the front and the back of my dress was totally illusion fabric with lace on it.  

    I think you really should go try on some dresses in person... I would have never dreamed I could wear a dress like mine, but after trying it on I saw it could totally work.  


    Married 9.12.15
    image
  • I have been to 2 places, and tried on a few dresses, and am in the process of figuring out where to make more appointment to try on more. But it is just dumbfounding to me how lockstep and identical I am finding most salon designs to be. They are too naked too many strapless too many low backs, and most of the styles in women's sizes are these giant A-line chiffon pyramids, and the modest styles are punishment dresses. I love the fabrics and decoration of the salon dresses, but the dress designs in most cases are not going to work for me.

    I have looked at literally thousands of dresses online at dept. stores, salon sites, designer sites, and many boutique sites. I have found many dresses I like that only are made up to a tiny 14. I have been to WeddingtonWay.com and a couple of other bridesmaid dress sites, and looked at a few hundred dresses there last night. I like the styling and simplicity and less nakedness of many bridesmaid dresses, but they are almost all too plain, very little lace or beading or detail to make it a special occasion dress.

    Have sent inquiry e-mails with styling information to two local salons, haven't heard back from them yet.
  • It sounds like you have some very specific ideas about what you would like your dress to be. Have you thought about working with a dress maker to either design something to your ideas or add some embellishment to one of the structurally sound but plain BM dresses you like?
    image
    justsie
  • climbingwifeclimbingwife NYC 'burbs
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    You never know what will work for you until you try it on. I had a very firm idea of a dress I wanted. Lace, and not strapless. And as you can see from my picture below, I went with something entirely different. Be open to trying other styles, 

    justsie
  • What about this?

    http://www.tadashishoji.com/acz1345l-lattp-contrast-lace-waist-gown

    Long, no train, lace like the Allure you posted, can wear a normal bra, comes in size 16.

    Lulawife
  • Have you looked at any Julietta dresses? http://www.morilee.com/bridals/julietta/3161 This one has straps but embellishments, too. They are technically 'plus sized' but this means you should avoid the teeny-tiny sample sizes and they will be structured to support you.

    Good Luck!
    image
    [Deleted User]
  • What about this? http://www.tadashishoji.com/acz1345l-lattp-contrast-lace-waist-gown Long, no train, lace like the Allure you posted, can wear a normal bra, comes in size 16.
    Nice! Thanks.

    And kasasr1024, I am so not offended by your suggestions from David's plus size section. I am sort of weirdly on the border between plus and non-plus sizes (this is true in street clothes as well). I like the one you liked best, not so much the others. 

    ahyatt87 said:
    Have you looked at any Julietta dresses? http://www.morilee.com/bridals/julietta/3161 This one has straps but embellishments, too. They are technically 'plus sized' but this means you should avoid the teeny-tiny sample sizes and they will be structured to support you.
    Thanks also, ahyatt87. Many of those are lovely, had seen them on people's pinterest boards but  had not figured out which designer they came from.

    I have another appointment on Saturday, we'll see how it goes.
    kasasr1024[Deleted User]
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