Say Yes to This Dress?

What Women Really Think
March 12 2010 4:47 PM

Say Yes to This Dress?

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Today, discount designer retailer Gilt kicked off its "wedding weekend," three days of sales themed around nuptials. Bargain-hungry brides can scoop up steals like an embroidered Alexander McQueen gown for $3,999 ($11,950 originally) and Sergio Rossi strappy sandals for $199 ($770 originally)-or they could before those items were sold out.

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But there’s still a lot to choose from on Gilt, which got us thinking about the pros and cons of online wedding shopping. Sure, sales on sites like Gilt are incredibly attractive-but even if it’s drastically discounted, spending $3,999 or more on a dress that might not fit is a huge gamble. Trusting an online retailer to outfit you on your big day could be as big a mistake as making an awful wedding Web site .

Would you ever buy a wedding dress online? Below, Double X writers weigh in.

Jessica Lambertson: You know, a lot of the wedding dress process is getting it fitted and resized. I think if I really knew I loved the dress, I would consider buying it online. If it's a steal, it's a steal! I can use the money I saved to make sure it fits right!

Ellen Tarlin: Well, first of all, I would never buy a wedding dress, period, since I find the whole patriarchal traditional princess-for-a-day fantasy sexist and appalling, but if I didn't, yes, I probably would buy a wedding dress online because 1) if you are not of completely unreasonable size, it is often about the fitting, and 2) I am just that impulsive about buying things online. Can they be returned?

Nina Rastogi : The Gilt wedding dresses aren't returnable (at least, the few I clicked on aren't). It doesn't seem so far-fetched to me ... after all, I bet lots of brides who know they want a schmancy designer dress have already tried on enough that they know what cut they're looking for and how various designers' stuff fits them. The online part doesn't faze me; I buy most of my clothes online these days. But buying something that expensive when it's not returnable and you have to make a decision in, like, four seconds in order to beat out the rest of the shoppers ... I'm not entirely sure I could pull the trigger on that.

Dana Stevens: Ellen, I would never buy or wear one either, but I have other fantasies that are no doubt just as girly and absurd as being a princess for a day, so I can't begrudge anyone the desire to walk up an aisle in tulle. With a lot of advance footwork about the designer, the fabric, etc., plus the knowledge that you were getting it fitted anyway, those deals seem hard to pass up. But even $3,999 for a dress you can never wear again ... all I can think is how many trips to cool places that would buy.

Rachael Larimore: I know there must exist at least a few women who would eat ramen for a year to afford a $4,000 dress, but something tells me that most women looking for such a dress can afford the cool trips IN ADDITION to the dress.

Amanda Marcotte: I suppose the way to do it is to ask whoever is going to alter your dress for advice and take it. Personally, I had hoped this recession would reintroduce the concept of the small, humble wedding.

Hanna Rosin : No, never. The whole arc of the wedding narrative is fantasy interrupted. You dream up something and then life-in the form of wilted flowers, nervous groom, bossy mother-in-law-ruins your dream. This is the premise of more than one reality TV show. And Gilt-all of Internet shopping, in fact-plays so perfectly into that. You know what I'm talking about: Zappos shoes that squish up your feet. A Bluefly sweater that sags off your shoulders. The dresses might look beautiful online, but God knows what they'll look like on your body. Save your money.

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