goodwill bride.

You may not know this, but Goodwill sells wedding dresses. You can see where this entry is going already, can't you?

I have known about the small bridal section for a while, just because it's hard to miss the mass of white lace hanging next to the regular dresses. I never looked very closely at them, because I had no need. But now, I do, and so I've been making a point to flip through the rack every time I go in. And I've been trying on a few. The sizes are not always labelled, and so I've dented my self-esteem a bit by attempting to get into dresses that would never fit a woman with my hips.

I still have months and months to go before I actually need to wear a big white dress, so the slim pickings don't bother me much. Plus, this is the essence of secondhand shopping - it takes time. Having spent a couple of weeks actually paying attention to the selection, I am surprised to find that it does change. People are buying these dresses, and other people are bringing more in. As long as there is turnover, then I have a chance to find something. And if not, I guess I'll go to the outlet center in Burlington with my mom like a regular person.

I felt doubt about a Goodwill dress the first few times that I tried on things that didn't fit. While I had no doubt that I would eventually find something, isn't your wedding dress supposed to be more than "something?" You know, The Dress? Even with my natural contrariness, I am not immune to that kind of advertising-based brainwashing. The dresses that I tried on were lovely, but they weren't necessarily ones that I would pick if given a whole store full of dresses. They were dresses I would pick off a rack of six dresses, five of them being from the puffy sleeve era.

I shoved my doubt aside, because I knew that I was smarter than the myth of The Dress. Hadn't I already proven that I was above the myth of The Ring? Whatever dress it is, it will be The Dress the second that I decide it is. I am the bride, I grant mythical status around here. Plus, I do believe in the principles of secondhand, one of which says that there is no such thing as perfect, but there are lots of good enoughs.

This past Thursday, I decided to try on a dress that I'd passed by a couple of times, mainly for the fact that the skirt was all bagged up in a plastic bag to protect it and I didn't want to bother with it (see how committed I am to finding a dress? I am thwarted by loosely-tied plastic bags). I always feel self-conscious taking a dress into the fitting room because they are so cumbersome and ostentatious. There's me, carrying about fifty pounds of floofy stuff, trying not to be conspicuous. It's a silly thing to be self-conscious about. I should be throwing a parade. That's right, bride coming through here. I'm going to go try this on, and I WILL LOOK LOVELY IF I CAN ZIP IT UP BY MYSELF.

Trying on this dress made all my doubts about Goodwill wedding dresses disappear. Forget lovely, wedding dresses have the magical power to impart radiance. It fit perfectly, and thanks to all that boning in the torso, I somehow looked thinner and bustier at the same time.

I did not buy the dress, though I did take some pictures of myself wearing it while making a stupid face. It was $99. I've noticed that some of the dresses have crossed-out prices (this being Goodwill, prices are written in Sharpie on the inside of the dress). I have time, and so I want to keep looking. I would happily get married in that dress or maybe I'll get married in a different one that I like better. Whatever. I'll find something.

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