Custom made gowns… a reality check!

With the proliferation of internet to every corner of the world and in an era where information is just a click away, the way people live and think has evolved and has undergone a paradigm shift. The effects of internet have percolated in each and every sphere of life, be it food, lifestyle, language and the most visible one fashion. The way people dress has undergone a sea change in the last decade. Change is evident not only in the routine daily dressing but also in our marriages. This change though is more evident in the case of girls.

Brides these days have evolved from saris to wedding gowns. The tradition of having just flower girls accompanying the bride has now given way to bridesmaids wearing coordinated dresses. Being a fashion enthusiast, I would say the change has been for good. With the modern day bride having a bigger say in her wedding planning, internet will be her go to place for research and planning. Every bride wants to look like a princess on her wedding day and dreams of her own version of royal wedding. Living this princess dream, a large number of brides wear wedding gowns these days and an even bigger number want to wear one.

How do brides in our country get a good gown? Girls do extensive research on the internet, comparing various styles for inspiration and shortlist gowns that look good. The final decision on which style to choose is done jointly with the bride’s parents and in-laws. Given our Indian culture of getting sari blouses and salwars stitched, the natural choice and thought process will be that a custom gown made to the bride’s own measurements will be the best option. There are tailors who offer to do made-to-measure wedding gowns. But is this the right way of doing it?

Every girl will surely have had at least one experience of cutting or stitching gone wrong for something as simple as a salwar. Given the complexity of a wedding gown and the importance of the occasion, would you really want to take a chance on the one dress that is most crucial in realizing your princess dream? Even when a tailor is extremely good at his job, how sure are you that something which looked good on a reed thin supermodel will look good on you? Our Indian, especially Malayali built need not necessarily look its best on the umpteen wedding gown styles that internet is flooded with. Falling in love with an unattainable gown you found online without knowing if it suits you is being foolhardy. How sure are you that you will be comfortable and confident wearing the gown? Do you think that if your fiancé found an elegant wedding suit online, he will then approach a local tailor to get it made to measure? A gown with all its layers and wide variety of styles is much more complex than a suit, why then would you want to take the risk on your wedding gown?

In most cases, the shops offering made to measure gowns lack wedding gown samples in different styles that can be tried out by the bride to help her be sure that she’s picking the best style for her physique. Most brides end up spending a big sum on the dress only to realise much later and too close to the wedding that this was not the best gown for her body type. By then it is too late to have the style changed or get a new gown. Add to this the stress and mental trauma that the bride goes through in the 1-2 months tailoring period, worrying about how her dream dress will turn out. Is this what a bride deserves? No, not at all!
What is it that the bride supposed to do? Before making a final decision on any particular style or colour or design, the bride is to try out different wedding gowns and choose one that looks good on her. The best option is to then do minor alterations on the gown that looks good on her. This way the bride gets to know how she will look on the day of her wedding and not in for a shocking surprise when she sees the stitched gown after the long wait. As a bride, you cannot take a chance on how you look on your happiest day. My previous statement – will an Indian especially Malayali built girl look good in a western wedding gown – is critical here. Yes they do! the gowns look extremely pretty on a bride provided it is chosen based on actual look after trying it on rather than going by assumptions. Even in the western world where every tailor’s expertise is in stitching dresses, the brides go by the try and then alter mode to choose their dream dress.

Is there an option for Kerala bride to pick their gown the way it is supposed to be? Yes, there are but just a few of them. Most boutiques prefer to get a gown stitched as it is more lucrative for them. There is many a thing that needs to be kept in mind while making a wedding gown. For the boutiques promoting made to measure wedding gown culture, they can reduce production cost by customising a gown as they can cut back on critical things like number of layers, boning etc which are crucial in getting the gown and bride look perfect, but may not catch the eye of a bride who has just started her research.
Your wedding day is a special one and you should look your best on that day. Do choose what you wear very carefully.