An $8.99 Wedding Dress?

So, this is how it started. I got engaged, and thought it might be fun to stroll around Craigslist (in multiple locations) and offer people a fraction of what they are asking for a used wedding dress (and not exceeding a $100). I found that given my [granted, not lucrative] offers, most people are hanging on to the dresses.

It’s not that I don’t think some dresses are worth a lot more. I’m inclined to believe they all are, especially the beady ones. But I don’t want to pay more, so my offers are more of a.. 'I’ll take it from you for $this much, but I understand if you really want to get a certain amount of money for it'. *gasp* they usually do want to get a certain amount. Shocking.  Although, I have only sent out offers to two people, so it’s not a fair market sample, I guess.

I am estimating that the number of dresses being thrown up on craigslist is larger than the number of people looking for one. I am making that up, of course, but it makes sense to me, even though my ‘market research’ goes against that, and I just can not understand why I am not being showered with $50 dresses.  

I frequent thrift shops for random things, or even just to stare.  It's excellent for retail therapy as well as a spectator sport.  If you find you've gone overboard, you're still probably only $10 in the hole.  About a month ago, at Newport Beach Goodwill I saw a two piece wedding dress. It was horribly dirty, tangled up, and featuring a tiny bustier with giantly padded cups. Very little beading, if at all. Yawn. I tried it on and made a face for a picture.

Few weeks later, in another trip to a different shop, I spotted the Beady 80’s Dress. I wanted it, to cut short, or may be made into a tube top. Jesse was horrified that I had put it on, and we left dress-less. Later I decided I MUST have it (reinforced by positive blog comments), if for the beads and Swarovsky crystals alone, went back and it was gone. GONE! Who else but me would purchase a 30 year old wedding dress?! Clearly these people must exist. It was $99, with a half off offer.

Since the beady fiasco, I would regularly check out the fancy end of the dress rack, looking for more beady spectacular-ness. I never came close, but I DID come across some respectable wedding gowns. Usually between $30-$150 dollars. I noted mentally, that if I ever needed to get married quick like, a decent dress can be had. I was sort of hunting for a Cinderella Dress Giraffy and I spotted at David’s Bridal. I searched for the gown V9539, and failing to find it for under $300, I just looked around for similar dresses – beady top, beady bottom, skirt pick-ups.

At a shop by my work, there (still) hangs a really pretty sparkly Demetrios (?) dress. It is a size too small, and comes up above my ankles. If it weren’t for that, I would have had it. No pick ups, but beads were super sparkly. I’m an easy, festive creature. That day, it occurred to me, that really pretty dresses can be had at thrift shops.  It came with the cleaner's tag, a shawl, and a detachable train.  Did I mention sparkly?

But, short.  And small.  And tight.  I looked a little like 2 days fresh out of a boob job. 

This last weekend, on our way from the mountains I saw that Beautiful, But Too Large gown. It was perfect. Beady top, check, beady bottom, check, pick ups, thrown in as well. It was also half off $99. It would no longer be low maintenance if I had to take it to a seamstress, so I let it go. (Well, Jesse dragged me away).  I took pictures to document the search, but Picasa is telling me stuff it or upgrade my storage, so, pictures will have to wait till I address that.

Meanwhile, Tesday, at a shop by work, I found this:

It has no pick ups, and it’s decidedly UN Cinderella like. But it had these bunches of sparkles along the boob area, and a tiny little train, and it was $19.99. The very original, Dirty Padded Two Piece is still there, and sporting a $29.99 tag. (but I’m sure the staff can be talked down..)

I wanted it to dye purple and make into a short dress (the usual..) but Jesse thought it would make a beautiful beach dress. And since I want to drag a dress all over the world to take pictures, this might be a perfect dress for it. It passed the armpit check (super clean) and the bottom check (not a smudge). I don’t think it was worn. It fit me perfectly (even with yoga pants underneath), and is a size 6 Galina dress from David’s Bridal. It looks like they still carry it.  ---------------------->

The 19.99 tag wouldn’t scan into the system, and I smiled the most seductive smile you can manage at a thrift shop clerk when you're checking out with a wedding dress and your fiance next to you, and suggested to the cashier, may be it’s a sign of a half off dress? ( I have NO shame, really). He, in return, told me he will just sell it to me as a regular dress.  o.o

I was reminded of the time Thrift Store Mama got teary eyed in a Value Village over a severely marked down Doll House. A wedding dress? For $8.99? I think I will.  Naturally, I dragged it home.. 

I am still on the look out for the Cinderella dress, but I'm really expecting one to fall in my lap for about $10.  It might take a while. 

What do you think?  And - what was your coolest find ever? (If thrift shops make you feel faint, Craigslist, Ebay, and clearance retail purchases qualify)


  1. Your wedding dress hunt absolutely fascinates me! I am sure your Cinderella dress is out there :) In the meantime, your new dress is beautiful AND a bargain!

  2. Great deal on a great dress. And since more than half the fun is the treasure hunt, you can still keep looking!

  3. It looks beautiful on you, Snorky!

  4. Thanks guys! I wish I had just wee more boobs for this dress. But it's SO pretty. :D
    Q of 50, the hunt IS the best part of the whole deal. And trying stuff on at thrift shops is pretty awesome - nobody is hovering over you, and if you get bored, there's probably a book rack or a china shelf near by. :D

  5. pretty dress. I think you should seriously consider this one.

  6. Ooh, ooh - I almost teared up for you on this one !!!