So, this is a long story, and I'll try not to bore you with all the details, but of all of my major thrift scores (and there have been many), my wedding dress has got to take the (wedding) cake. I wasn't even engaged yet when I bought it. Yep, I was that girl. But we'd been dating 2.5 years and were talking marriage and Jared got into grad school in Boston so we went to check out his new school. While he went on a campus tour I did what anyone would do on a gorgeous summer's day in a beautiful town brimming with history--I went thrift shopping. And oh, what thrift shopping there is to be had in Boston, my friends!
Anyway, I ambled into The Garment District, a glorious two-story thrift/vintage shop near MIT campus in Cambridge and started poking around their vintage section. Here's the view, just to get your mouth watering:
Before long I had found two vintage swimsuits (one to keep and one for the Etsy shop) and an incredible wedding dress, probably from the 1960s.
I took it to the dressing room. I tried it on. It fit like a freaking glove. What was I supposed to do?!
I called Jared and explained my dilemma, though I don't know what I expected him to say. "Yes, go ahead and buy it because I'm secretly proposing to you tonight and now it's not a secret." He was very sweet and made me feel not crazy for wanting to buy a wedding dress for a wedding that was not happening. Yet.
In any case, I figured it was $45 and beautiful and if we didn't end up getting married I'd sell it in my Etsy shop. I am so, so glad that I didn't have to.
Here's what the dress looked like when I bought it (in the terrible lighting of my apartment in Utah):
Pretty gorgeous as is, right? And it honestly and truly fit like it was made for me. But the lace was starting to yellow, and I had other plans for the fit. I wasn't in love with the a-line shape of the skirt, and wanted something a bit more fit-and-flare. My sister swore up and down that she would kill me if I altered such a gorgeous dress but, you guys, I had a vision. And once I get a vision there's basically no stopping me.
So first step first, I got engaged. Then I took this beauty to the cleaner's. I had spent $45 on the dress itself and spent $65 for a good dry clean but I could not BELIEVE what a difference it made. I actually got a call from the cleaner after my dress had been with them for a few days. The tone in the lady's voice nearly stopped my heart:
Cleaner: Hi this is so-and-so from the dry cleaner's. We have your wedding dress?
Me: Hi, yes, what's up?
Cleaner: Well we just wanted to call because the dress well, umm...
Me: (Oh sweet mercy please please please do not tell me that something happened to my dress. Please please please.)
Cleaner: Well it's just that it's a really bright white now.
Cleaner: When you brought it in it was kind of an ivory? But after the cleaning it's a very true white and we didn't know whether you thought it was ivory and didn't want a white gown...
I laughed myself silly after I hung up. They were calling to tell me that they had cleaned my dress...too well?
The next step was to get the skirt altered into the fit-and-flare style that I wanted and have cap sleeves added to the slip underneath. Luckily one of my roommates in college was the one and only Janay Marie, who makes insanely beautiful custom wedding gowns. After a lot of explanation about what I wanted, fabric cutting that I couldn't bear to watch, several fittings, and another $175, I had my dream wedding dress--a 1960s vintage lace fit-and-flare knockout. I was in love. My only regret is that I only got to wear it twice.
Here are some photos from our wedding day so you can get the full after effect:
Perfect, no? Like, I said for $45 ($285 after the cleaning and alterations) it will forever be my favorite thrifted treasure. Because oh, what happy, happy memories it holds.