8/13 Dress Duty (Or She Works Hard For Her Money)

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Dress Duty (Or She Works Hard for Her Money)

You know how sometimes, you just have to try something unreasonable on, so you can see how bad/ill-fitting it looks and “Rule it Out”? I used to think I wanted a Claire Pettibone dress. The Juliet, to be exact. I couldn’t afford it, but it didn’t stop me from wanting it.

I dragged my mom while she was in town for Christmas, to try it on, hoping I’d hate it in person. But it was just lovely. And to wear one of her dresses is like bathing in silk … comfortable, sensual, and rich-feeling. Too rich, for my wee bank account.

I looked and looked for an alternate, but to no avail. I was nervous. Cut to: May ’08. Our great friend Billy (aka our officiant) teaches yoga. He came over one night and gave me a business card for a local, eco-conscious dress designer who took his class that evening, thinking I might be able to use it.

I was all, “pssshhh — we’ll see if I like her stuff better than the Juliet — yeah, right!” I checked out the designer’s website, and was stopped short. Could it be? A dress more beautiful and more “me” than the Juliet? “Pshaw, I bet you have to be, like, model-thin for that dress to look good. I’ll just go try it on so I can see how awful it looks!”

And then I promptly dragged my mom, while she was in town for our engagement party, to the studio, to Rule it Out. It was AMAZING! It was crazy beautiful. The designer was really sweet and cool, as was her dog, and she was just opening her first boutique after working out of her garage for 14 years. We came in by appointment and the dress was like 2 sizes too small, but it’s unique and eco-friendly and lovely and surprising and rockstar!

But, my wallet shrank back in horror when it overheard the price. Not as bad as the Juliet, but no bueno either. In a moment of desperate clarity, remembered a wise suggestion from my friend Ann-Giselle, and I blurted: “well, if ya ever need anyone to type a letter, I got mad skills … ”

I was at the mall with my mom and my sister, (whom I took back the next day, to see the dress again), when I got the phone call. It was the designer, offering me a partial-work trade for my dress if I can help out around the office. We all jumped up and down and squealed and got emotional. I felt like Cinderella, on The Price is Right.

Three months later, I’m still working my dress off in my spare time. Sometimes I cut fabric, sometimes I create invoices. Its interesting to work closely with the people who will build my dress. It will make the dress mean that much more, I hope. And it keeps me grateful, every time I’m there. Plus, I get visitation — I can see the sample anytime I want!

That being said, I don’t think I can show you my dress until the wedding. I know … I’m horrible, right?!? I’m sorry. Its just, I want there to be NO way Hunter could stumble upon this. It’s just one of those sacred cards that I have to hold closer to my chest for now, to keep the element of surprise alive. Trust me, Hunter is impossible to keep secrets from. And, I have a bad poker face, so don’t tempt me. Have you ever tried to “Rule it out” only to have it bite you in the broke-ass?

The Broke-Ass Bride
Dana is the head woman in charge here, the original Broke-Ass Bride. Learn more about her here. And, follow her on Twitter (@brokeassbride), Pinterest (@brokeassbride), Facebook (/thebrokeassbride) and Instagram (@brokeassbride). Affiliate links, which might be included in the post above, help make her a few dollars here and there to keep her off the streets and in the business of blogging for your ass. So thanks for coming! :)
  • Ms. 122

    yea, i had a "rule it out" that did not go well. went to rule out one dress, wound up falling in love with one that cost twice as much. and then i bought it. ahhh! heh. i scream, but really i have the biggest grin on my face.

  • Jenna

    This is basically the coolest story for 3 reasons:1. You found something earth friendly! I love things that are nice to the earth.2. You asked for a perk, which most people are afraid to do.3. You earned the perk! I love that you are working for your dress.Now I am going to have to wait FOREVER to see what it really looks like. Not even a sneak peek for us loyal readers?

  • (bride.)

    SO awesome – what a great story!! I wanna see! *pout*But I do understand not being able to keep secrets from him, so good call on that one. Tim had seen a sketch of my dress, but I really didn't want him to see the dress itself. We were at a wedding a couple weeks ago, and I was showing him a picture I'd just taken… and I accidentally scrolled back to a picture of my dress designer holding up my dress!!! ;-( I got very, very sad… that's like, the one tradition I really care about. He was very cute and pretended he didn't see it, but he totally did. Oh well – I'm bigger and better-looking than an LCD screen. 🙂

  • zoliepup

    What an awesome story!!! I'm adding you to my blogroll 🙂