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New and nearly new couture from Encore Bridal | Manolo for the Brides

Encore! Encore!

Second hand and sample gowns aren’t for everyone — there’s always the risk of loose beading or a spotty hem or worse, the ghost of a failed marriage — but they are a great way to cut costs, especially when you want to wear a designer gown but you can only afford to pay off-the-rack prices. Encore Bridal is one site that’s capitalizing on the fact that many brides-to-be want to wear an unforgettable gown even if their budget doesn’t allow for it.

The site sells gowns on consignment, as well as a limited selection of sample gowns that come from upscale boutiques making room for new inventory. The pros are that it’s easy to navigate and you can buy your gown right there online. The biggest con, as I see it, is that you can’t visually inspect your frock before making the purchase. The good news is that Encore accepts returns, as long as you get in touch within seven days.

How sweet are the deals? The limited-edition Monique Lhuillier gown above was marked down from $5,700 to $2,590 by the seller. Size two and strapless, this asymmetrical organza number has been embellished with a unique botanical pattern in black and steel gray. If you have that kind of scratch — and that kind of body — it’s still available!

4 Responses to “Encore! Encore!”

  1. Twistie July 29, 2008 at 11:05 am #

    I think that would have to be the other question for me: what can I get in my size? Clearly, there wouldn’t be the selection in that regard. If, say, I fell in love with the gown pictured, there’s no way I could wear it. Even when I weighed a hundred pounds dripping wet, back when I was ooh, about twelve, I couldn’t have fit into that gown.

    Still, if you go in knowing that you’re not going to be able to special-order that gown in your size from this place (and remembering that bridal sizes run smaller than street sizes) it looks like you can get a heck of a deal.

    And as I always say, it’s nice to have choices, but you only need one of them to work for you.

  2. Pencils July 29, 2008 at 11:17 am #

    That is an amazingly beautiful gown!

    However, like Twistie, I am a larger size, and, more importantly, six feet tall, so it was impossible to find a full-length consignment or used gown that would fit me and my taste. And I did look, as I was trying my best to save money. I did end up saving money on alterations, as I didn’t need any, not even the hem. 😉

  3. Polka Dot Bride July 29, 2008 at 10:58 pm #

    Wow what a gown- I love it!

    It reminds me a little of a designer here called Lisa Ho who did some black and white gowns for celebrities. Stunning!

  4. La BellaDonna July 30, 2008 at 5:34 pm #

    It’s a beautiful gown! It is just the thing for my left leg!

    … Amen and again to what Twistie and Pencils had to say – although I think it is fantabulous that you didn’t need to change the hem length, Pencils!

    Although there was a brief point in my life (it was even my adult life!) when I could wear the occasional “size 2”, I was never the shape of the gown shown – it’s far more linear than I have ever been since I was nine.