But I just had to force myself to look past the over-the-top hat styles, because Kate Middleton's wedding gown couldn't have been more of a fashion triumph! I thought it was just incredibly beautiful! I love the long lace sleeves she chose to wear, so reminiscent of those on Grace Kelly's iconic dress from her 1956 Monaco wedding.
Sometimes when I see a glowing bride like Kate Middleton (or my beautiful daughter-in-law) on her big day, it makes me wish I'd put more thought and effort into transforming myself into a princess for my own shining moment. I was a very young bride in 1980--22--and at that point, I could count the number of weddings I'd attended on one hand. There was no such thing as the Internet (so no theKnot.com to go to for ideas, no on-line shopping), and our small town had exactly one shop specifically dedicated to bridal wear. I hadn't given a whole lot of thought to what my "dream dress" would look like; I only knew that the two or three I tried on at the local bridal shop (both extremely poofy, made out of snow white satin, and covered with pearls that may have been glued on rather than sewn, as a few of them fell off in the fitting room!) looked dreadful on me.
|My wrinkle-resistant, washable Qiana dress.|
As my wedding day drew near, my mother offered to sew some sequins and seed pearls on the bodice of my dress to jazz it up, just as her mother had done for her; I thought about it, but decided that I liked it the way it was and wanted to keep it simple. Years down the road, I sometimes wondered if I'd made a mistake about that. A little extra shimmer and bling could never hurt a wedding gown; why had I insisted on such simplicity? And why hadn't I had my hair done at a salon, instead having my sister-in-law--who was only 12 at the time!--get out the curling iron at the last minute and do my hair for me? And why did I skip wearing mascara, worried that I would cry and look like a raccoon in pictures? (Actually, I did cry reciting my vows, so that was probably a good call.)
My husband pooh-poohs my second guessing, telling me that he about had a heart attack when I walked down the aisle as it was. (What a sweet-talker.)
I remember my mother-in-law, who was very knowledgeable about fashions and fabrics, told me that the Qiana fabric out of which my wedding dress was made would date it, so that it wouldn't be as timeless as if it had been made from silk or some other natural fabric. I sometimes wondered if I'd made a big mistake when I chose it. But you know what? I've had it hanging in the back of my closet for over 30 years, and every time I take it out to look at it again, I realize that I love it as much as I did when I tried it on at that store in the mall and my sister-in-law assured me, "It's perfect--you should get it!"
And you know what else? I've decided that I'm okay with the fact that the synthetic Qiana fabric dates it. Do you know what that means? It means I own a vintage wedding dress. And you know how much I like anything vintage!
Anyhoo, I went on-line yesterday to do some research about wedding dresses from the 70's and 80's, and first I searched for and found the web definition for the knit fabric known as Qiana: "a silky nylon fiber first developed by DuPont in 1968; initially intended for high-end fashions, it became a popular material in the 70's for men's shirts..." That's right, the fabric out of which my wedding dress was made was also used to make those shiny, long-collared shirts that were worn with tacky-looking polyester double-knit leisure suits by John Travolta wannabes when they hit the discos in the 70's! Yowsah! How embarrassing.
|My favorite thing: the three-dimensional venise lace appliques.|
I was no Kate Middleton on my wedding day, but I love my dated, bargain basement wedding dress all the same. In fact, if I could go back and do it all over again, even knowing what I know now I wouldn't change a thing. I'd still pick that Qiana dress...and I'd still have my sister-in-law work her magic on my hair with a curling iron.