Skip Bridal Stores If You Want To Find A Unique Wedding Dress

Even though I have no plans to get hitched myself at the moment, wedding dresses are very much on my mind right now. Our blogger Nina is presently searching for one, as is my dear friend Courtney, and another pal is actively not searching yet because she’s too intimidated by the entire process. Another, erm, “acquaintance” who has settled on a fiancé but not a gown is Chelsea Clinton, whom Hillary said (in a recent CNN interview) wasn’t quite there yet.

Why is the search so damn frustrating? Maybe the problem is with the bridal gown market in general. Here’s one solution.As someone who has done some research on their behalf (my friends’, not Chelsea Clinton’s), I’ve found that the offerings at most of the mainstream bridal boutiques are pretty boring, if not downright offensive. They’re either super cookie-cutter or terribly un-chic, frothy cupcake styles that belong in a pretty princess Easy Bake oven, not a grown woman’s ceremony. I recently put together a few options for the more fashion-forward bride, and while that was a decent starting point, I’ve come to the following realization: If you want to find a more unique option, you should search for white evening gowns at your favorite online boutiques–the ones you go to for work clothes and cool shoes–for inspiration. If you like the store, you’ll agree with the buyers’ tastes, and you’d be surprised how many formal and semi-formal dresses come in white and cream and/or could easily work as a bridal dress instead of for a fancy party. Although, at the same time, isn’t a fancy party basically what a wedding is (albeit a very meaningful one)?

Another great source for finding gorgeous, dream dresses that could be used as templates for one you want to get made (or if you’re willing to splurge), starting Feb. 16, Net-A-Porter will open its much-anticipated bridal shop, and you can bet there will be nary a cake dress in the house. Good luck! [CNN and Net-A-Porter]