Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Shopping for a Pale Anti-Bride

Hey East Side Bride,

I need some style help! I'm a low key, not traditional but pale as hell gal putting together a not so wedding-ish wedding this spring (i.e. a morning wedding in an open space park, followed by a luncheon, only 30 of favorite people invited...no bridal party, no cake cutting, no dancing, no garter, no bouquet, no veil). I am not "a bride-y bride" by any means but for some reason the dress process is stressing me out and making me act insane! Poor UPS guy has been delivering and picking up items daily for weeks. 

For one, have I mentioned I'm pale as hell? Yes, I have Irish skin and most dresses wash me out. 2.) I can't bring myself to go to a bridal store. I've made 5 appointments at numerous places but canceled each one because the thought of a bridal store makes me nauseous. 3.) I would love something with character but is timeless...and isn't strapless. Not dissing the strapless dresses but everyone wears strapless, 4.) I don't want to spend over $500 (I know, I know). 5.) I only have a few months to find something so it would be easiest to pick off the rack rather than find something custom made. 6.) I don't want it to look too cliche bride-ish.

I know, long list for a "low-key" gal but the rest of the uneventful event is planned...the dress is just looming over my head. Any bit of style guidance would be so appreciated!

"Naked pale anti-bride"


Dear NPAD,

For fair skin, what you need is an ivory or champagne, yes? No bright white.

How about this ivory Thakoon Addition?

Minus the stripper heels, pls. (Loubs are a bit much for a morning wedding.)

I also like the See By Chloé One Shoulder Dress, which is decidedly off-white.

Also styled with incredibly ugly shoes, which are giving me a nineties flashback and NOT in a good way.

Image via Charles Hall (Does he ever sleep?) via SEBASTIAN


  1. these are decidedly non-bridey looking, what great suggestions!

    @amanda i agree! if the anti bride is open to it, wearing your favorite color- or your favorite color to be in- should also be encouraged! :)

  2. From another very pale Irish-skinned girl, I concur about no bright white. I vote yes on ivory, but personally, champagne is not good with my paleness. I bet it depends on your coloring, though. Both things ESB picked are good for pale, especially the second--get the ivory as far away from your face as you can. Also pick a foundation with yellowy, rather than pinky, undertones (helps w the flash photos). Good luck!

  3. I went to a non-wedding wedding a few weeks ago, and my friend (also a nearly translucent Irish girl) wore a beautiful cocktail dress that was shimmery and purple and black and silver and totally rad. She was, hands down the most beautiful "bride" I've ever seen. So don't be afraid to just pick out a dress that you love love love, no matter the color, and by nature of wearing at your wedding--bam, it's a wedding dress.

  4. @Amanda @Miss K you guys are making me look bad.

  5. and i really hope the bride sends you pictures.

    (WHY don't more Dear ESB people follow up? WHY?)

  6. I'm pale as hell too and I wore an ivory dress with champagne accents.
    You def want to stay clear of bright white.
    What about a silver or grey? Or a pretty light blue like Amanda said?

  7. Also, I agree with Jamie - ESB can we ask for follow ups on previous entries? It'd be interesting to see what choices people make after asking for advice.

  8. fair skinned lasses look stunning in gray.

    example 1: http://pinterest.com/pin/1549642/

    example 2: http://pinterest.com/pin/3615402/

    example3: http://nymag.com/weddings/album/2008/winter/dinnerparty/ (click to view the slideshow)

  9. http://www.edressme.com/silk-dresses-ed.html (see the back here: http://shop.kirribilla.com/collections/kirribilla-classics/products/tinsley-dress)



    http://www.hautelook.com/product/1526791 (Sue Wong - Short Blouson Flapper Dress)

  10. I think blue would be great. In Ireland, brides wore blue dresses instead of white back in the day.

  11. Please wear that ivory Thakoon. And send ESB pictures! kthxbye

  12. More pale girls wearing pretty dresses: http://vanessajackman.blogspot.com/2011/02/paris-fashion-week-ss-2011louise-and.html

  13. I'm wicked pale too and tend to go blue in my lower extremities if I stand around for too long. Check out cocktail dresses. You can get away with white if you're pale, just make sure it's a warm white (more yellow and NO blue tones) :D

  14. I too am very pale. I did a second dress for the reception. (I know, I know, but my hubs and I are swing dancers and I didn't want to dance in a long gown nor get married in a short dress.)

    For the reception, I got an ivory dress from Nordstrom's. They have a great return policy, as long as you keep the receipt. I just ordered ivory dresses, kept my favorite, and returned the rest. I have a pretty good idea of what colors look good on me, but trying on the different shades was eye opening.

  15. I'm super pale, super not into wedding dresses, and at my wedding next week, I'm wearing a purple, tea-length dress I bought at Nordstrom for $200. I tried the champagne look, but it wasn't for me. Just like @Miss K said, wear whatever color you want, whatever dress you feel awesome wearing. Don't worry if it's not "bridal" or even some derivation of white. No one will care but you. Promise.

  16. @Amanda, @Melissa - yes! Blue! See: One of my favorite weddings (via Mouse): http://www.sourismariage.com/2010/08/look-brides-if-youre-having-photo-booth.html

    A few pretty blue dresses:







  17. Naked pale anti bride speaking here...THANK YOU ALL for all the help! This is incredibly resourceful for me. I promise to send the ESB photos after the uneventful events in May so you can see what I come up with (assuming it all comes together ok, ha!) I love the idea of wearing a dress in a different color...and am with you with all the short dresses (just wish my legs were not the absolute whitest part of my body). For some reason I'm still drawn towards an ivory/champagne dress simply because I'll most likely never wear these colors in my life but if the ivory/champagne dresses don't pan out I'll seriously consider a grey or maybe soft pink. UPS dude...if you read wedding blogs you'll probably be delivering a Thakoon dress within days, ha!

  18. i vote wear your favorite color to wear.
    (ok....maybe not black, but you get the gist.)

  19. @Ali - I previously voted blue, but after reading your comment, this soft pink number (on sale) would be amazing:


    Congrats & good luck! xo.

  20. i think i'm going to find my wedding dress THROUGH posts like these, esb. especially because everyone pipes in (besides abernackys pics, i think she mixed her meds today or something....) keep em coming.

  21. The SS 2011 La Petite Salope collection is magnificent if you could wait for that to hit? Some lovely greys there.

  22. You guys are all hysterical, I am WAy past my bridal days and for some reason I LOVE hearing all of the advice and snarkiness. Keep it up.

  23. I've bought the Jenny Yoo Norah dress for myself in the bridal style (white,) but I toyed for a month with getting it in one of the lighter coloured alternatives, like fawn. If you're a red-head, it would be a beaut:

    And the "bridesmaid" styles are reasonably priced - $400 bucks for one (although it would probably be about $480 - 500 with tax & shipping, etc.)

  24. holy god, those brown 90's mules ARE hideo.

  25. This might sound odd but have you actually tried on anything in the dreaded bright white yet? I found that all the dresses I tried on in ivory/cream/champagne - ie, just-off-white - simply blended with my just-off-white skin. When I tried pure white, it made some contrast and I was surprised by how well it worked! The key is the type of fabric. I ended up with a tea-length dress in pure white but made from soft materials - silk georgette with a tulle overlay. The softness took away that 'bright' factor.

  26. i'll take one for the team and wear that ivory thakoon around for a while if the bride-to-be isn't into it.

    i'm with team grey up there, and i also think silver would be boss. did you know that according to the eastern european astrological calendar, 2011 is the year of lamé? true story.

  27. Thank God COLOUR!!!! Yes I am so glad to hear other people enthusing about colour!

    Also - if you have Irish genes, how about green - usually looks good with your skin tone. Do you have red hair too :) Then you just need a forest to prance around in and some daisies.

    I too have celtic pale skin and will definitely be wearing colour for my own wedding - just because it's so much more interesting, unusual, fabulous, and less virginal than white.

    I SO want more brides to wear colour. The white thing is strange to me.

  28. omg, @nicole. that pink dress is to die for. i think it would be perfect for a wedding dress! simple, but still special.

  29. I think the best way to combat being washed out, is ti add sparkle/metallic elements. It pops.

    Maybe something like this:


  30. I'm super-duper pale and I wore hot pink: http://lillianandleonard.blogspot.com/2009/09/danae-and-douglass-boness-wedding.html

    Green would also be super-amazing, as would a blue, which is also a very traditional wedding colour. Duck egg blue would look so gorgeous! Go for some colour, and rock your pale gorgeousness!

  31. This: http://www.net-a-porter.com/product/103107