rice birdseed sparklers flower petals bubbles! There were a lot of weddings this weekend, kittens. No less than four couples of my acquaintance tied the knot. Of course, since I’m an unholy virago, I wasn’t invited to any of them. I did stalk them all on Facebook, though. Fuzzy Instagram pictures of floral arrangements are the cat’s pajamas! Or, they are usually, anyway. Lately, all the weddings I look at just seem…boring.
Wait. That sounds pretty judgmental, which I’m fundamentally against when it comes to weddings, but for the love of Chanel, why do all bridal gowns look the same? Every bride I know—seriously, every single veil-bedecked one of them—has worn a long strapless dress.
Whyyyyyyyyy? My kingdom for a cap sleeve! My treasure for a high neckline! My autographed Anderson Cooper memoir for a short hem!
Kittens, there are other dress silhouettes in the world. I’ve seen them! There are short dresses with wide skirts and bias-cut column gowns with delicate straps. What looks ravishing on one woman, may be awful on another. For every bride, there is a dress, turn, turn, turn. So, why do we all pick the same thing? We aren’t the same bride, so—logically— we shouldn’t have the same dress.
When I first got engaged, I was most excited about three things: having a beloved who grilled amazing Brussels sprouts, taste-testing wedding cake, and finding The Dress. Being a fashion nerd, I knew exactly the look I wanted: a circle skirt falling to just below the knee, a very defined waist, and sleeves! Something straight out of a 50s Dior show. My best friends brought over some bridal magazines and the hunt was on!
Only, it wasn’t. In the eight magazines on my bedside tables, all promising “Thousands of Amazing Dresses Made From Amazingness!”, I found nary a fluffy candidate. By the third magazine, I would have settled for anything with sleeves or a short hemline. I longed for a lace neckline; I pined for tea lengths. Instead, it was page after page of dresses that looked eerily identical. There were small differences, mermaid silhouettes versus A-lines, but they were all long and strapless. For a culture that stresses this day as our one perfect princess day—which should be unique and personal and memorable ad nauseam—our dress selection is disturbingly homogenous.
Surely, I am not the first bride to want sleeves or easy bathroom access. I know I’m a special snowflake and all, but that’s just ludicrous. It’s easier to believe that we all pick the same dress, because there are no other viable options. When I went dress shopping with my BFF, Girl on the Contrary, last year, there were precisely two dresses we found with straps. (She ended up with the most wonderful of dresses—this sweetheart neckline confection, with an amazing bouncy overskirt—which both suited her perfectly and was legitimately unique, because seriously check out that overlay!) When one of the best bridal salons in America’s self-professed weirdest city doesn’t have variation, something has gone dreadfully awry.
I know we were all traumatized by the giant sleeves of the eighties, but perhaps it’s time to admit we’ve gone a bit overboard. Not all sleeves are bad. Why, nobody shunned Kate Middleton for wearing them! If you want sleeves or straps, you should have them. Vive la manche! Similarly, if you desire the option of urinating without aid on The Big Day, you should be able to do so. We don’t all want a big, poofy white dress. If you want a strapless ball gown, you should have it, but can’t I also have my vintage-inspired tea dress? A little design creativity would make us all happier brides.
Personally, I’m down to two options: have my dress made by a bespoke dress designer, or make the damned thing myself. In my search, I did find a few companies making great short dresses. If you’re similarly desperate for something different, check out Dolly Couture, Stephanie James, and Candy Anthony. If we keep taking our business to indie designers and seamstresses, maybe the great and terrible Wedding Industry will get the hint? Why, maybe someday we’ll even have wedding dresses that aren’t white. A girl can dream (of sleeves).