Planning a wedding can be rather exhausting, but finding the perfect gown is well worth the stress. Vintage gowns are rare and less trendy, while consignment gowns will save you a fortune. Rethink your idea of beautiful and try on a vintage or used gown.
1901-B Mount Vernon Ave.
Alexandria, VA 22301
Make a bridal consultant appointment at high-end bridal consignment boutique Fabulous Frocks in Alexandria. This shop specializes in once-wed, sample and never-worn gowns that originally retailed for $2,000 or more, and are less than five years old. Fabulous Frocks carries a wide range of top designers: Vera Wang, Monique Lhuillier, Anne Barge, Anna Maier-Ulla Maija, Modern Trouseau, Rivini, Reem Acra, Carolina Herrera and more. New gowns arrive weekly and are posted to the store’s Facebook page. Most gowns are consigned by individuals. Fabulous Frocks suggests brides stick with the classics and they will never go wrong.
15932 Luanne Drive
Gaithersburg, MD 20877
The selection at I Do I Do is like no other in the area. The inventory includes over 800 consignment gowns. Consigned gowns are directly from designers, including haute couture pieces, retailers or individuals. Gown conditions are excellent and prices are extremely affordable. All gowns are cleaned and repaired before they are put on the floor. Currently the most popular silhouette is a fit-and-flare gown, which provides a great curve in the waist through the hips but adds fullness through the legs. The average savings at I Do I Do is 25-percent to 90-percent off retail cost.
PollySue’s Vintage Shop
6915 Laurel Ave.
Takoma Park, MD 20912
PollySue’s has about 25 vintage wedding gowns in stock at any one time. Most gowns are not designer, as vintage wedding gowns were produced more by the shop they came from than a particular designer like they are now. So PollySue’s carries high-end department store labels such as Bergdorf Goodman, Best and Co., Saks Fifth Avenue, Lord and Taylor, Garfinkels and other regional stores from the South and Northeast, many of which are now closed. A lot of marriages took place in the 1940s, so shoppers can find heavy satin gowns with long trains from this period. There were also many weddings in the late 1950s, when gowns were wide skirted with a narrow waist, and early 60s, so those periods are also well represented. Most of the gowns have been professionally preserved and are in great condition. “Vintage bridal is a wonderful alternative for many reasons. It is completely unique. No one else will have this dress in any wedding in America. It is low cost, with the average new wedding dress costing in the thousands,” said PollySue’s co-owner.
Elinor Coleman Vintage Mirage
117 S. Columbus St., Suite 201
Alexandria, VA 22314
While Vintage Mirage sells breathtaking vintage wedding gowns, the vintage wedding accessory collection is extravagant. From lace gloves and delicate hats to crystal crowns, the choices are ladylike and great complements to any gown.
La Bella Bridal Boutique
313 Mill St.
Occoquan, VA 22125
Make a day of it and visit La Bella to sift through its vintage and designer consignment gowns. Consigned gowns are no more than three years old. View the La Bella collection online prior to your visit to get an idea of what you can find.
Kelly Johnston is a freelance writer living in D.C. She graduated from the University of Alabama with a degree in Fashion Retail and Merchandising and a minor in Journalism. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.