Something Old? Everything Old! How I Thrifted My Entire Wedding Outfit


The greatest tragedy during my wedding planning was when someone else bought my wedding dress. Or, more specifically, when someone bought the Valentino dress I had been obsessively watching on vintage dealer Shrimpton Couture’s website and considered mine—even though my then-boyfriend Gustavo was months out from proposing. When I saw that the dress had sold, my heart broke into a million pieces.

So when Gustavo popped the question on a mountaintop in Mallorca some months later, I wasted no time setting alerts on eBay, Vestiaire Collective, and The RealReal for white dresses in my size. Two years prior, I read about Chloe Kernaghan’s stunning Azzaro wedding dress and since then, I’ve followed a handful of vintage designer boutiques on Instagram, waiting for the moment when I got to hunt for a treasure of my own.

Shortly into my vintage bridal search, I realized two things. One: I needed to be realistic about what I liked and what looked good on me instead of only looking for certain brands. Even though I was drawn to silk slip dresses and body-hugging strapless gowns, what I really felt most comfortable in were higher necklines and A-line skirts. Second, while I loved looking at dresses online, in reality, I needed to try things on. It was the latter insight that compelled me to book a vintage bridal appointment at Happy Isles, which had just opened an outpost in New York.

On the night before the appointment, a wave of anxiety set in. I’ve swung out vintage shopping many times before. With the ever-changing inventory, it can be completely hit or miss. This shopping excursion carried an additional pressure, as I had made it a full-on pilgrimage: my mom and I were flying in from Michigan for the $280 appointment. What if I couldn’t find anything I liked? Or, on the other hand, what if I did? This would be my first bridal appointment and while I wasn’t 100% sure if I was ready to buy a dress at the first place I went, I knew I needed to be. As the Valentino dress taught me, good vintage waits for no one.

My mom and I showed up at the Happy Isles showroom—which looked like Carrie Bradshaw’s closet, but better—electric with nerves. The two incredibly kind sales associates immediately put us at ease and the overflowing racks of cotton candy-esque tulle made it clear that a lack of options wasn’t going to be an issue. Filling my dressing room with 10 beautiful dresses to try, as soon as the sales associate pulled the zipper up on an ivory midi-dress with pleated shoulder pads, divine pearl cuffs, and a lace skirt, I knew that it was the one for me. The added bonus? The dress didn’t need even a touch of alterations.

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Tags: textaboveleftsmall, web, weddings

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