Life as the textile expert at a regional history museum

Saturday, September 21, 2013

SYTTD Wichita Edition

Last weekend I was in Kansas helping my cousin Laura find a wedding dress. Laura and I are close in age, both only children, and visited each other a lot growing up--so she is the nearest thing I have to a sister. When I called to congratulate her on the engagement I blurted out, "When are you going shopping for your wedding dress and can I come?" Knowing that I can be kind of an exhausting and intense person, I was pleasantly surprised when she replied, "That would be so helpful! Would you?"

Awesome. All this Say Yes to the Dress watching was finally going to pay off!

We went to four bridal salons, three of which were great, one of which was a total bust. The latter seemed promising because their website advertised dresses in our price range and what seemed like a pretty big selection. But actually the selection was small, most dresses were surprisingly expensive, and an overall feeling of grimness seemed to pervade the shop. In retrospect, my first clue should have been the fact that one of the photos on the website was literally a picture of a teenager texting while wearing a hideously garish prom gown.

This photo sums up our enthusiasm for the store

At the last shop I got really excited because they had a PNINA TORNAI KNOCK-OFF GOWN COMPLETE WITH SLUTTY MESH BODICE.

My cousin, who for some strange reason wanted to keep her midsection covered while getting married in a church in front of her family and friends, did not try it on. I texted Olivia the photo and she asked, "Well why didn't you try it on?"

And at that moment I realized that not doing so would be among my life's greatest regrets.

My other greatest regret from the trip was that David's Bridal didn't try to hard sell us one of their "gown preservation kits," (which we saw them attempting to push on other people). My take down of that B.S. would have been EPIC. Here is how I imagined it:

1) No actual conservator would "preserve" a dress by pumping it with chemicals and then cramming it into a little box.

2) I have actually had the experience of opening a wedding dress that had been "preserved" in a box in the 1950s and it was horribly wrinkled, and reeked of chemicals so strongly that we couldn't be in the same room with it. Also, newsflash, the company that had guaranteed it for 50 years was long out of business. So good luck with that.

3) Skip the bug treatment. No bug wants your 100% polyester wedding dress.

4) In your advertisement you mention "museum quality" muslin. Hmm interesting. There is another name for that. It is called REGULAR MUSLIN.

1 comment:

  1. "Museum quality" is always a big red flag for me. "Museum quality materials". "Museum quality techniques". "Museum quality reproduction". I see it a lot with people selling period costumes on eBay and Etsy. It rarely makes sense in context and usually means "this isn't very good so I have to say a lot of nonsense to promote it".