Forget the heavy fabrics, and especially forget the itchy polyester

I wore a rather heavy gown during my stint as a bride and I was comfortable outdoors on a May day in Florida. I do admit that it was an extremely blustery Saturday, which kept things just cool enough for comfort. I could have gone with something lighter and airier, but I just love heavy, full, princessy gowns and there were plenty out there to be had.

When I was shopping for the perfect dress, I found myself faced with a great many extremes. There were the heavy, multi-layered formal frocks guaranteed to keep your legs warm even if your upper body is freezing. And there were the sexy, slinky sheaths that would have highlighted my “lady lumps” in the worst possible way. What was lacking was that “something in between” that would be princessy enough to tickle my particular fancy yet light enough to be wearable in a variety of weather conditions.

It’s not going to weigh you downBut you might just heat things upThe fabric of our wives?

That’s why I’m in love with Chris Kole’s collection, The Cotton Bride. No, the gowns are not all cotton — in fact, most are linen, and some are silk — but they are all natural, hand-sewn, made to order, and designed to be comfortable. The best part is that prices start at $1,800, which is high-ish but not unusually expensive for a piece of clothing with the word “wedding” in its descriptor.

I do feel like these dresses take some getting used to…they’re not particularly shiny and we tend to associate shine with formality. My personal favorite, in case you were wondering, is the dress in the middle. How about you: would you eschew bridal satin in favor of cotton or linen?

10 Responses to “Forget the heavy fabrics, and especially forget the itchy polyester”

  1. JaneC March 31, 2008 at 11:36 am #

    My First Communion dress (originally made for my mother by her grandmother in 1957) was white cotton eyelet, and I think I’ve considered it a perfectly acceptable summer-formal fabric ever since. If I had been married in the May or June rather than in November, I would have been perfectly happy for my wedding dress to be a sized-up version of that simple, old-fashioned First Communion dress, short sleeves and Peter-Pan collar and all.

    As it was I went for simple and old-fashioned in heavy satin–and somewhat regretted it, because though it was November it was 70 degrees in Los Angeles.

  2. Never teh Bride March 31, 2008 at 12:08 pm #

    You know, eyelet fabric is one of those things I always forget about…until I’m reminded of it and I remember how much I adore it. I’m just now learning to make my own clothes, so next time I’m buying fabric, it’s eyelet time!

  3. Melissa B. March 31, 2008 at 12:41 pm #

    I love it! The dresses look feather-light but aren’t too clingy or nightgown-y like so many “informal/destination” gowns.

  4. Never teh Bride March 31, 2008 at 1:34 pm #

    You’ve hit the nail on the head, Melissa B.! While some of the sleeker, slinkier gowns are very pretty, too many of them look like something that one ought to be changing into after the wedding is over and one has arrived at one’s “private afterparty.”

  5. BunnyBlue April 2, 2008 at 1:14 am #

    I’m having my dress made in cotton! ^-^ i like the feel , also I will probably dye the dress after the wedding and wear it again. I’m super psyched about my cotton dress. it’s patterned of a vintage 50′s sun dress with a super full skirt.

  6. Nantoling April 2, 2008 at 7:22 am #

    I love the idea of a natural fiber dress — although probably not linen, because who wants to have big wrinkles across the back of their wedding dress after the first time they sit down? But I wouldn’t get one from The Cotton Bride, because I couldn’t get past the last-century website design. A splash page, then a Flash intro, and then cheesy music? I fled before I got to the dresses.

  7. Never teh Bride April 2, 2008 at 8:38 am #

    You just described about half of the bridal designer web sites out there, Nantoling…gah, I hate autoplay music.

  8. Melissa B. April 2, 2008 at 9:41 am #

    Photographers are the worst offenders. I’ve been surfing photography websites of late, and Every. Single. One. has autoplay music. I’ve had to mute my computer to protect my sanity!

  9. Pencils April 3, 2008 at 5:07 pm #

    My sister really, really wanted a Laura Ashley linen wedding gown back in 1989, but I think it was just too much money. I love the one in the middle too. I’m glad I didn’t see these last year, i would have been tempted and they are more than my budget was.

    Similar to someone above, my Confirmation dress was a beautiful soft white cotton. I’m not sure what the fabric would be called, it had a faint pattern of scrollwork in stripes. My mom made it, she’s a talented seamstress. It was a sundress with a separate short jacket for church, and my mom embroidered multi-colored flower patterns down the facings of the jacket and across the bodice of the dress. I thought it was the most beautiful dress ever. Because of that, I think that cotton would be lovely, if it’s the right cotton.

    I think we get stuck sometimes because you see the same things over and over in the bridal magazines. A young woman I know is knitting her bridal veil out of incredibly fine thread, I think wool. It’s a beautiful object, I can’t wait to see what it’s going to look like with her otherwise traditional gown.

  10. Blake April 6, 2008 at 1:11 am #

    Wow, at first glance these are right down my alley. By that I don’t mean “my highest aesthetic ideals if I had a body like Iman” but I mean what I would really be likely to walk down the aisle in, and feel good about.

    Good find!