Fashion Forward: Secondhand and vintage wedding gowns—a shopping guide
Tags: Annie Creamcheese, DC, Goodwill, I Do I Do Wedding Gowns, Labella Bridal, PollySue's, secondhand wedding gowns, vintage
Earlier this month, I asked you dear readers what you thought about vintage and secondhand wedding gowns. The overwhelming response here on the blog and on Twitter is that a used wedding dress is as good—if not better than— a new one!
Along the way, I received several requests for a DC-area guide to shopping for used wedding gowns. Here are some suggestions from me to you, savvy brides!
- Labella Bridal in Occoquan offers new gowns and contemporary gowns on consignment. They only sell gowns that have been professionally cleaned and no more than two years old. Labella also runs a small online consignment shop where dresses older than two years are offered.
- I Do I Do Wedding Gowns in Gaithersburg has a large consignment section with wedding gowns and other formalwear. With a few exceptions for petite and women’s sizes and couture gowns, most dresses are less than two years old.
These stores offer options for brides who would like to sell their once-worn dresses, but be aware that consignment shops can be picky. Nor is the sale of your dress (and therefore cash in your pocket guaranteed. If you can suggest a shop that buys or consigns wedding gowns, leave a comment or email me (email@example.com) and I’ll update this post.
- The store I alluded to in my first wedding-related post is PollySue’s in Takoma Park. On the basement level, look underneath the stairs to find a whole rack of wedding gowns from the 1940s through the 1970s. Most of the gowns are in very good condition, and come at some serious bargain prices. There are also party dresses throughout the store that would suit the vintage-minded bride. I don’t think there’s a dress in the whole place that would cost you more than $200, leaving lots of wiggle room for any alterations or extra cleaning you might need.
- Annie Creamcheese in Georgetown stocks a variety of wedding gowns. Turn left when you enter to find everything from voluminous dresses of the 1950s to the poofy-armed gowns of the 1980s. Gowns are more expensive here, but often come with big-name labels.
For a good cause:
- You didn’t think I would leave out our local Goodwill locations, did you? You can usually find a smattering of wedding gowns at each of our stores. You’ll find modern and vintage gowns at fabulous prices. Save your money for cleaning and alterations—and spend what’s left over on your honeymoon!
- Small thrift shops for churches and charitable organizations may have gowns—and they’re likely to be vintage. For some reasons, the smaller, hole-in-the-wall charity shops tend to attract donations from brides who have held on to their gowns for a long time.
For the super-bargain bride:
- Hit up your mega-mart thrift store for the lowest prices around. The quality of the gowns and the number of options will depend on the day and time you visit, but you’re likely to find vintage and contemporary gowns. @FrugalAndrea advised that Village Thrift in Woodbridge usually has some gowns, and noted that one recently caught her eye.Thrifty bonus points: The gowns you find at a thrift superstore may not be in great condition, but they’re perfect if you can sew or have some DIY chops. You don’t have to hesitate experimenting with a gown that cost you $12!
Can you help me add to this list? Don’t be shy, fashionistas—offer up your favorite spots to buy or sell wedding gowns and formalwear!