Getting married is really fun!
I know it's stressful for a lot of brides, but I'm lucky. My parents/fiance's parents are totally hands-off when it comes to planning, and I've nailed down so many specifics already that as of late, my main focus has been The Dress.
I'm 99% percent sure I'm going to go custom, but I thought it would still be smart to check out J.Crew's new wedding boutique on Madison Ave.
I brought along my friend Ali, who is also getting married next year, and who also happens to be obsessed with J.Crew, to try on dresses as well.
I'm so glad I did--Not only did we learn a lot about this sector of the brand, but we also modeled some incredible dresses, as well as gobs of stunning accessories.
First, I was greeted by Kate M., my personal sales associate for the appointment. (She was accompanied by the lovely Candy.) These girls were amazing. They were so excited about everything, from the La Perla robes in the changing rooms to the array of sashes to the shoes. Their enthusiasm was infectious. But more on that later.
Tom Mora, who heads up the wedding design division at J.Crew, also popped by to walk me through the current collection. Tom's been at J.Crew since 2001 and working on wedding since 2004, so he's a wealth of knowledge. We talked a lot about which dresses are bestsellers (in reality, women have such different tastes that there isn't one runaway hit); we also discussed garment construction, and fabric sourcing, which blew me away.
What surprised me, having only seen the dresses online, is just how special each one is. From the silk crepe Mimi t-shirt gown in a Champagne color to the Lucinda gown, a poly/cotton/silk ballgown with a hammered that almost resembles a seersucker, there's a dress for every bride. (And with prices starting at something like $300 and capping off at under $4,000, these are good quality garments that most people can actually afford.)
Tom explained that, much like the J.Crew cashmere sourced from the same mills used by Loro Piana, the fabrics used on the wedding gowns are milled in Italy and France. And you can tell. I was besotted with the Sascha, a lightweight ivory silk taffeta number with a corseted bodice and structured sweetheart neckline, for this reason. The shape made me happy, but the fabric was just so luxurious, it made it even better.
Soon enough, Tom had to say goodbye, and we continued the dress hunt. Ali's looking for something a bit more minimalist, while I'm after an early 1960s aesthetic, so she went for clean lines while I played with volume. I think Ali might have even found a contender--the silk tricotine Gracie--for the main event.
But onto accessories. The J.Crew bridal boutique has just about the most beautifully curated collection of accessories, lingerie and jewelry I've ever seen. The vintage pieces, mixed in with new edition Miriam Haskell, mixed in with the most perfect pair of satin platform pumps in the world--the Esme--made me incredibly happy. We also tried on several headpieces by local milliner Leah C., of which I also fell in love. Leah does everything from blushers to floral pins to headbands, so there's something for every taste.
Finally, as we headed out of the boudoir-like dressing room, Candy handed Ali and me each a list of the dresses, shoes, and accessories we fancied, printed in the most perfect handwriting I've ever seen. (Candy needs to start a side business.)
Regardless of whether or not I buy my dress from J.Crew, I'll be going to back to the bridal boutique to purchase a least one piece for my wedding day wardrobe. If you're engaged, you should visit, because this was seriously one of the best shopping experiences of my life.