Screaming Toward a Bridal Shop



I began my months-long journey into the world of current fashions, endeavoring to be creative with my search for a wedding dress. I'm drawn to intricate Arabic and Indian design patterns (Celtic and Nordic too, but not what I'm after for the dress). I thought I had the bright idea to start with a string of sari retailers on University Ave. in Berkeley. Note, "thought" is the operative word here. Sari Palace had one high-riding strapless corset/bustier-type piece that was gorgeously beaded hanging on the wall. I wanted to see it simply to see how a high riding corset like that would fit and feel. But when I asked to see it, they claimed not to have anything like that. Bust size issue? I was just after style, perhaps I could have them make something in the lavender on the left. Honey, will you kill me if I set you up with some coat tails that look like this? :o
 
I admit, I'm not sure whether I bring the issue to the table or whether it was there but I think my skin color vs. the rest of the clients, plus the fact that I didn't speak Hindi may have accounted for their flaccid interest in me. In the third store furthest east on University, I saw just the right color skirt in lovely silk with gorgeous horizontal beading. Note, "horizontal" is the operative word here. The lady asked if I wanted help so I pointed to the skirt and she said, "Those are petites, they're for smaller women. We have larger sizes I can show you." But I nodded and chose to not pursue- it's true, any beadwork or embrodery needs to be vertical, rather than horizontal for my figure.

Heading off to Berkeley's 4th street shopping district, "flirty" "updo" spring skirts were peeking out at me from windows. I perked up and trotted in- maybe I would even get lucky and find something unusual that I could have customized. I was accosted by the swirl of beige, nude, dusty teal, off-white and black in store after store. A friendly store clerk at Shoka took me under her wing when I told her I was miffed there were no spring colors. She said for 2006, no spring pastels had been set by the design world. (Jesus, I didn't know I'd be able to find that link so FAST- but lavender is there- ok, maybe it's coming?).

I asked her what entity sets "the colors" for each season and how they all "know." She says the designers eat together, go jogging together so trading insights on what they're new season lines will be is natural. No one dares rock the boat and for fear it won't go with the colors all the other designers had put out. So, a herd of sheep to influence what women wear and nobody has the balls to rock the boat- though Anthropologie had a nice wide (though still very muted) palette that seemed to shout, "I'm outta' here girls, the women are going to rebel when they see this crap you're offering for spring." It's like the White Queen has enshrined the industry in winter pastels- we're frozen for spring!

The average price of any shirt or sweater at Shoka was typically $350. I saw a few pieces over $500 each. I worry that David doesn't understand that what it costs to rent the Brazil room for an extra hour for our wedding next year, won't even buy a sweater in some of the shops in this area of Berkeley. I wonder how much he knows about the cost of women's fashion. He's lucky I largely ignore it in my daily life. Alas, it seems I will need to drag myself out to a bridal shop to begin to find something. I also think I have contracted the "wedding disease," the notion that all of a sudden I am personally responsible for a discernable percentage of the gross domestic product. I want to buy everything- and things way out of the realm of my means, too! It's wedding disease and I've caught it!

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