I think that my attempts to buy a dress at Trudy's Brides was doomed from the start. Although I didn't know this when I set up my appointment - how could I? - the styles that they choose to stock rely heavily on current trends; if you are looking for something unique for your wedding dress than Trudy's is not the place to find it.
For example, I was looking for a dress with sleeves - or at least straps! Full-length. "Grecian" - that is, something with fine drapery. Slim fit. Something like an older Pronovias design called "Reggio" - see the picture ------->
I told all this to the woman who would be helping me, and she went off to look up the dress so she'd know what I wanted. When she came back, I offered to draw something quickly, a few variant designs, so she'd have a better idea, but she said she didn't need it. She hustled off to find the first round of dresses, and I sat down to wait with Jeannie. As we sat there, I kept looking around for a catalog or a book with pictures of the dresses they have available, because they don't really let customers browse the dress racks themselves. There was nothing, so Jeans and I spent an eternity (probably fifteen-twenty minutes) starting at the walls, bored.
Eventually, the employee came back - I really wish I could remember her name - and let me into the dressing room, where she had hung three dresses. I put on the bra/corset provided (which I really, REALLY hope they wash between customers) and climbed into the first dress. It did not look Greek. It did not make me feel elegant and pretty. It made me feel like I was wearing a big, white potato sack. It was hideous. My reaction must have shown on my face. As I wiggled out, I turned to look at the other dresses. They were all hanging on the wall of the dressing room like so many bundles of garlic, and they were about that appealing for wedding attire. All were strapless - which I now made explicitly clear that I didn't want.
Her response? "Oh, we don't really have anything else right now." It turns out that they aren't really stocking sleeved gowns at the moment. I could get a one-shouldered dress if I wanted, but otherwise there wasn't much in the way of 'strapped' gowns either. She brought a few more dresses out, but on the hanger they looked terrible so I turned them away. I offered again to draw some of the ideas I had in mind, so that she could take a quick look and say, "Yes, we have something like that" or "No, that's not in stock." It'd save both of us some trouble, right? But again she turned down the offer.
I was getting desperate after the fifth terrible dress, so I asked if she had anything "old-fashioned". "Victorian." "Edwardian." "Corset-like?" I was trying to find the magic buzzword that would somehow magically locate the dress I wanted. This helped, as the next dress she brought out was great.
It was another Pronovias design. It was a new gown that they'd just got in, she said, so that was why she hadn't thought of it before. It had lace sleeves. She brought it out and I tried it on:
Pretty! Yaaay! Only $2000-
- wait, $2000? I mean, beauty is one thing but that's a lot of money for a dress I'll only wear once. I told her I'd have to think about it.
I mean, the dress is beautiful, but that's a semester's worth of tuition!
Since my time was almost up, and she seemed dead certain I wouldn't find anything else that would suit me as well as this Pronovias gown, I asked if I could try on one of the Disney wedding dresses, just for fun. She asked which one, and I completely pulled a blank - I couldn't remember what any of them looked like! So I said, "Uh, Belle!" because Belle seemed like she'd be more conservative than, say, Jasmine or Ariel. (When I got home, I looked up the dresses and it turns out the one I wanted to try on was "Cinderella". I never would have remembered that; I hate her dress in the movie.)
It turns out that Belle's gown wasn't really the look for me...but for a couple of minutes, I was a Disney princess!
Where's my tiara?
I debated making a follow-up appointment to try on more gowns, but what was the point? Trudy's only seems to stock gowns that are "on trend" - and this season that means strapless, sweetheart gowns. It's a look that simply isn't that flattering on me because I'm flat-chested and only average height. So why bother? They won't have what I'm looking for.