October 7, 2009

A love affair with J Mendel

Posted in Fashion tagged , , , at 6:37 pm by Elizabeth Nixon

J Mendel Crystal Blue Gown Spring 2010

J Mendel Crystal Blue Gown Spring 2010

Sigh. Isn’t this dress to die for? I wish it could be an affordable bridesmaid dress instead of a thousands-of-dollars designer dress. And it’s in my color, too! Because I can’t get enough of the thing, here’s Kate Walsh in the dress at the Emmy Awards:

Kate Walsh wearing an ice blue gown from J Mendel's 2010 Spring Collection at the 2009 Emmy Awards.

Kate Walsh wearing an ice blue gown from J Mendel's 2010 Spring Collection at the 2009 Emmy Awards.

My favorite bridesmaid dress color is the oft-misunderstood seaglass, a cousin to the color every bridesmaid dreads: seafoam, which Mastercard ever-so-memorably paid tribute to here.

Searching for a bridesmaid dress in sizes ranging from 2 to 22 has proven to be one of the most hair-pullingly frustrating experiences of my bridal career. Why, oh, WHY must you stop at size 16, J. Crew? And, oh, your size 18 is so close, Ann Taylor, but no cigar!

It’s left me with very few options that are affordable, and by affordable I mean in the $150-ish range. There’s David’s Bridal and Alfred Angelo, but I just don’t love the colors/styles. Same with Alexia, Aria, and the multitude of others whose websites and salons I’ve scoured. It seems the colors I love are elusive and found in a select few places, read: J Mendel, Priscilla of Boston and Melissa Sweet, among a few others. Here are the colors I lust over, “dream” and “seaglass”:

Melissa Sweet bridesmaid dress in dream

Melissa Sweet bridesmaid dress in dream


Priscilla of Boston bridesmaid dress in seaglass

Priscilla of Boston bridesmaid dress in seaglass

But unfortunately, after trying on the 20+ styles from MS and PB that come in those colors, I could not find one that would be very flattering on a plus size figure. The fabric was either too clingy or too stiff (taffeta or silk faille) that it ballooned away from the body, which would make even the skinniest stick figure model appear preggers.

The one style that would be flattering doesn’t come in my color, so it would mean going to a seamstress to custom make the dresses, a time consuming and rather unpredictable endeavor.

What about you? Have you have any difficulty outfitting your ‘maids? Any success stories or recommended websites for a wide range of sizes?

Photo credits: J Mendel, E! Entertainment, Priscilla of Boston

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