For sure I’m the same girl who loves her Chanel and those sexy sexy toe cleavage Louboutins.
But I’m also all about a bargain – a good deal – a TREASURE.
When tugboat man proposed and we set a date, (yes, Dr. Laura, I had a ring and a date) — it was time to commence the checklist and countdown to becoming Mrs. Tugboat Captain.
I didn’t expect to find the perfect wedding gown at the DAV (that’s short for Disabled American Veterans) but I was getting desperate.
I had visited all of the local wedding shops, tried on a lot of gowns that didn’t feel right for me – not for a second marriage — and they didn’t speak to me design-wise.
Remember, it was 1994. Not as bad as the eighties, but still…light years before “Say Yes To The Dress”.
It was January; the wedding was the following month and I didn’t have anything to wear.
Not quite time to panic, well, yes, time to panic.
I would have been a Bridezilla if I wasn’t the one who was doing all the planning.
As a last resort, I was going to sew my own dress – but there wasn’t a whole lotta time.
One day I was aimlessly driving around and thought what the heck, I’ll try the thrift stores, whaddid I have to lose?
I stopped at the DAV on Coast Highway in Oceanside. It never smelled fresh, and that was a turnoff for sure, but I’d had luck there previously when I was looking for a vintage Hawaiian shirt.
Dejectedly, I dragged my feet over to the “fancy” dress aisle. It was an exercise in futility, but I wanted to be thorough.
I certainly didn’t expect to find the perfect wedding gown here — although there were lots of graduation-type dresses that looked like they had seen their one and done status and that’s how they ended up in the rack of last resorts.
And there it was.
Smashed and smooshed between two hideous body-deforming shiny blue taffeta trashed bridesmaids gowns or quinceanera dresses…
…my little jewel of a a wedding dress sang her sweet song of lace and froth.
Not too much; just right. Oh so right.
Lace tiers and sheer long sleeves and a nipped-in waist. SO ME.
A slightly Victorian feel or something that wouldn’t be out of place at Highcleer Castle. (Downton Abbey reference)
I didn’t even bother to try it on in the (ick) sketchy“dressing room” — really just three dirty blankets hung from a partition.
Cost? It was $10. TEN DOLLARS. I’m not sure of the designer’s name — whatever label had been attached was removed, but someone cared. There was LOVE in the stitches.
One thousand pennies.
What if it didn’t fit?
As soon as I got home, I tried it on and it was a perfect fit. Perfect. Like bespoke. Like so perfect I got teary.
SO meant to be, just like my tugboat man.
Although it was as immaculate as if it had never been worn, I always feel the need to add some embellishment. I went to the fabric store and bought twenty yards of chiffon for a belt/sash and then I decided I wanted to give the gown a slight vintage feel. I filled my tub with ten bags of Earl Grey tea; dipped and soaked the gown just until it was tinted a faintly champagne-ish color.
May I present Mrs. Tugboat Captain in these old and scanned pics.