Say "YAY" to the Dress with Dirty Fabulous!
This is an extra special blog post, as it was written by one of gorgeous customers, Muireann Ní Chíobháin. For anyone who wants to break from the norm and do their own thing on their wedding day, this ones for you!
Sit back, relax and read on.....
As a woman in my 30’s, I think I know myself, but also my style. In general I think of clothing as an expression of who I am, what I like, and how I feel about the world. I’m more Iris Apfel than Alexa Chung, but I’m proud of that, or at least I was until doubts crept in when it came to choosing a wedding dress.
When you get engaged, or at least in my experience, most people, with the best of intentions, assume you’ll wear white. It’s the done thing, the tradition, the thing people have dreamed of, the most elegant choice - or is it?
White became a popular choice after the marriage of Queen Victoria to Albert of Saxe-Coburg in 1840, when Victoria wore a white gown trimmed with lace. The Queen became a trendsetter and the white wedding gown tradition was born. For some people, white, champagne or ivory can give you a transformative feeling of elegance and romance that’s perfect for your wedding day, but for me, it just made my skin turn a particularly strange tone that only vats of fake tan would have solved.
I remember watching the Wizard of Oz as a very young child and whinging that it was in black and white, unlike the colourful cartoons I loved. I was urged to wait for something magical to happen and sure enough my jaw dropped as the screen saturated with colour and the land of OZ came to life! The contrast was huge and the transition spectacular. I was glued to Dorothy’s ruby slippers sparkling along the yellow brick road. It reminded me of the power of colour and I think my love for colour came from there. Getting married in yellow or red (which is the most popular bridal gown colour in China) or any other colour is nothing new. For centuries, brides who were interested in fashion have chosen bridal gowns in different colours.
The question was, was I brave enough?
Toying with the idea of wearing a coloured bridal gown, I trawled the Internet looking for people I could be inspired by. Always tagged under, ‘unconventional bride’ (which is a daunting a label to give yourself), I found Gwen Stefani, Poppy Delevigne, but finally Elizabeth Taylor, a style icon I could connect with. As we all know, Elizabeth Taylor got married quite a few times, but each time she did it in an elegant bridal style, in many colours, even in white on occasion, but always in her own unique and memorable way. I poured over photos of her gowns and veils and read her ideas behind the design of them all. All of them reflected who she was at that time in her life. She was telling her story and expressing herself in her bridal choices. The marriages may not have worked out, but her fashion decisions were flawless.
I knew I wanted to wear something from another era, something handmade, something with a story. I think clothes can help tell a story about ourselves, and some clothes are part of a long story that crosses decades of occasions, events and celebrations. This is why I love vintage. My vintage dress journey began and ended in Dirty Fabulous where I was guided by the expert knowledge and warm advice of the vintage bridal expert Caroline. I went alone and opened my mind to the possibility of wearing a wedding dress that wasn’t white. It was the best decision I've ever made. The small boutique is filled with beautiful wedding and occasion dresses spanning over a hundred years, each with their own little personality.
Caroline, their curator, is there to help you find just the right one for you, be it white, champagne, cream, red or blue. Choosing to buy my dress in Dirty fabulous and choosing to shop alone under the capable guidance of a vintage expert, gave me the freedom to try things I might never have tried if I had had an audience that day. It’s hard to listen to yourself when you are trying to meet loved one’s expectations of a bridal look. I tried on golds, greens, pastels and reds and it felt liberating and exciting. Caroline was honest when colours or styles didn’t suit and offered suggestions of how a given dress could be altered to suit my shape. When I tried on my dress, I twirled on the spot and exclaimed ‘Yay!’. It felt fun and it felt very me. Caroline put me in touch with vintage alterations expert Violetta in Fitz Alterations on Drury street, who customised the dress with skill and flair. I like to call her the dress whisperer. She reinforced seams, added boning and underskirts and gave the dress new life.
Meanwhile, back at Dirty Fabulous HQ, Caroline was painstakingly turning a Vera Wang veil I had been gifted, into two layer-able veils, dyed to match the dress and adorning them with fabric daisies to match my bouquet.
Going above and beyond is second nature to the sisterhood that runs Dirty Fabulous. They are passionate about clothing and style and Caroline was always there to help me bat away the doubts I had when people (meaning well of course) said ‘Are you sure you won’t regret not wearing white?’, ‘Will your fiancé be disappointed on the day?’. If you are thinking of wearing an ‘unconventional’ wedding dress, my advice is to go alone to try on dresses. Let yourself explore options and choose one like-minded soul to give you a second opinion once you’ve found a dress that speaks to you.
Once you’ve had the alterations done to have it fit you, you can then invite your nearest over to have some bubbles and try it on. I told a select few people including my now husband that I would be wearing my favourite colour on our wedding day. His reaction was the clincher. He said he couldn’t wait to see it and that he couldn’t picture me in anything else.
So I took the leap, followed the yellow brick road and sailed down the Liffey on my wedding day with the biggest smile on my face.
My dress and veil truly made me feel like the most wonderful version of myself on my wedding day, thanks to the vintage sisterhood of Dirty Fabulous. My dress was my cup of tea. I didn’t just say yes to a dress, I said YAY and I guarantee that’s all anyone can dream of for their wedding day.