Friday, January 19, 2007

Off the Rack Bridal at BHS -- Oxford Street

When my sister was preparing for her wedding, I went bridal gown shopping with her. We hit several fancy wedding boutiques in San Francisco. At these boutiques, the bride-to-be, dressed in the appropriate bridal underpinnings, stood on a platform in a vast changing room while an attendant fetched and carried gowns and accessories, and helped my sister try them on. Mum and I sat in the chairs provided for the bridal party and other hangers-on, and watched our own private fashion show, mouths agape at the prices, which ran into the tens of thousands. I can see how anyone who ever had young-girl fantasies of being a princess could be sucked in to the faux couture of a beautifully made wedding gown, shown in a beautiful setting.

My fiscally responsible sis did not buy a gown at one of these boutiques. She ended up finding a very pretty dress in some off-price place in Santa Ana or Long Beach. It wasn't fru fru, layer cake, or overly shiny. She was a beautiful bride in a simple age-appropriate design that did not look bargain-basement.

Ten years later, on the way to indulging in one of my favorite breakfasts at British Home Stores, I walked past the bridal section. There was nothing like this in America when my sister was looking for a dress, rows and rows of bridal off the rack, including gowns, bridesmaids dresses, tiaras, the lot. I can't say they were nice, but they looked a lot better than the prom dresses at Sears. A bride-to-be on a budget can buy a whole ensemble, a dress, a veil and shoes for £200, now that's chavtastic.

252-258 Oxford Street
London , W1C 1DL

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