Lost in Number Translation

I was a marathon wedding dress shopper. Unlike some of the brides I’ve seen on “Say Yes to the Dress,” I didn’t have that bridal moment with the first dress I tried on. In fact, it wasn’t the second either. It was one of the very last dresses I tried on at my fourth bridal salon, Bliss Bridal.

Dress shopping was a big deal for me since it was one of the few wedding details I could actually work on while back home (I live and am getting married 8 hours away from where I grew up). And since bridal salons aren’t normally open on Saturdays and Mondays, and I had traveled home on Labor Day weekend to shop, it meant we had to get it all in on Saturday.

Here is where I need to give a big shout out to my entourage: Sue, my mom; Alyssa, my older sister and Matron of Honor; Katie, my Maid of Honor; and my cousin Mandy. These ladies endured a day full of countless dresses, lace, tulle and stylists. For anyone who might not be able to handle this, I suggest packing boxed wine in your purse for between visits. Katie did, and she made it until the fourth store. Pretty impressive for someone who doesn’t exactly squeal at the word “wedding.”

When I found THE DRESS I just knew. As exhausted as I was and as much as the “oohs” and “ahhs” had fizzled, my entourage perked up when I had a smile plastered across my face. I was pumped as the stylist “jacked me up” complete with a veil and jewels.

But that excitement faded a little when I was back in my regular clothes and the stylist was taking my measurements. By then, I had concluded that at some point the wedding dress companies and the weight loss industry created a conspiracy so that brides instantly feel the need to go on a diet the moment they order their dress.

The stylists rattled off sizes as she measured my bust, waist and hips….size 18, size 16, size 20…..Excuse me?? In full transparency, in street clothes I wear a size 6. (This photo to the right is NOT the dress I purchased…I wouldn’t ruin that surprise yet! It’s just here for reference.) My entire life I’ve been described as fit, athletic and curvy, and for the most part I have been satisfied.

As I stood in the dressing room completely stunned, the stylist explained to me that we were going to order the dress for the largest part of my body and then alter it to fit me from there. Made sense….and hey, I’ve always known this girl has a booty. She also assured me that this designer ran particularly small. That didn’t exactly help my body-conscious self. I was ordering a size 20 wedding dress. I had never ordered a size 20 anything, and I wasn’t about to start with THE DRESS.

Enter bridal tradition and sizing that has not evolved.
After researching countless blogs and fashion websites, they all led me to the same conclusions. First, women have evolved overtime. What is now considered a healthy figure for a woman is far from what used to considered healthy. Women are much more athletic and active than ever before. Lots of experts consider bridal gown sizing “vintage sizing,” which does not reflect the modern-day bride.

And in addition to that, most fashion designers either come from Europe or are basing their sizing off of European standards, which run smaller than American sizing anyways.

So unless your Maid of Honor will be adjusting and tightening a corset for you on a daily basis, I would suggest not even noticing the size of dress you purchase. If you feel great it in, you will feel even better on your big day. After all, your future hubby did propose to you as the size you are.


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