Navigate / search

Budget Bridal Attire

Dear Cheap JAP,

I’m going to be getting married in a few months. Everything about it is completely non-traditional – a justice of the peace sorta thing. I need your advice on good websites to find cute dresses. It doesn’t have to be white – I’m looking for an amazing dress under $300 that I wouldn’t have an excuse to wear otherwise (I live in the particularly unglamorous hills of Western Pennsylvania). I’ve tried, Anthropologie, Urban Outfitters, J. Crew etc. I’m looking for something slightly dressy – but not prom dress territory – something you would wear to a holiday party. Any suggestions?

Thanks, love the site!

Firstly, a big fat Mazel Tov to you and your beau! I’m uber impressed by your low-key approach to the whole wedding thang, and seriously honored to help. Based on the stores you mentioned, I’m guessing you want something in the under $500 range, yes? I’m also guessing said stores’ cocktail dresses were missing that attention-grabbing, special occasion-esque quality; I don’t care how big or small the wedding is, EVERY bride deserves to feel like the star of the show whilst tying the knot. What you need is a retailer that specializes in stunning, one-of-a-kind pieces at decent price points.

One word: The “formal dress” category is chock full of unique, beautifully crafted pieces. Here’s six to get you started.

Both the Cream Couture Dress and the Key Lime Couture Dress are by Julia Lovan Designs ($350 each). I think it’s totally badass that you’re not tied to wearing white, hence the inclusion of the lime number. A fantastic alternative to the standard color scheme, methinks.

The Ruffle Dress ($290) is a bit more casual, but I think the stunning cut and ruffle details make for a glorious fusion of cocktail wear and bridal attire. The pearl and lace dotted neckline on the Silk Taffeta Wedding Dress ($265) scream Victorian mini. Awesome. I’m skeptical of whether or not said neckline can accommodate a bust above a B-cup, but it’s a stellar option if you’re on the small side.

The gathering on the Peaceful Afternoon Dress ($515) is TO DIE. And I know you said nothing long, but I had to include the Eco Chameleon Wedding Gown ($360) anyway. Why? Because it can be tied into three different styles! Amaaaaazing!

The obvious question here is Do They Have Your Size? Yes. How do I know this, in spite of the fact that I don’t have this information? Because EVERY SINGLE DRESS pictured is MADE-TO-ORDER, i.e. you send them your measurements, they send you the dress. The exact turnaround time varies for each designer; most dresses are finished within three to five weeks.

Do keep us posted on your final decision. That I’ll be needing pics of you in your custom-made dress should go without saying. ;)


Cheap JAP

Austin Thrifter Snags Marc Jacobs Tote for $25

I snagged this Marc by Marc Jacobs shopping tote yesterday at Buffalo Exchange in Austin, Texas for only $25.

I knew if there was one person I could share this find with, it was you!

I often have awesome luck at Buffalo, putting in at least an hour each trip to search the racks. It is always worth it, as I have scored Burberry, Polo, DKNY, J. Crew, Zara, Stella McCartney, and more.

Keep up the thrifting, I love seeing what you will score next!


Wardrobe Pickles

Wardrobe pickles prompt style queries over a vintage silk sheath dress and ankle booties. How to modernize vintage dresses and rock unconventional shoes.