Grace Kelly Fashion Inspiration: my thrift store wedding dress

Most girls dream about what their wedding dress will look like when they grow up... and the $ they are willing to spend on their dream dress once they get there is, to some, bordering on insanity. The national average is over $1400! That is a lot of money for a dress you are going to wear once, although I am all about unique life experiences so I can't begrudge any gal her one day of being a princess. 

That said, my wedding dress story is a bit different. You see, mine cost $30, and it was originally purchased to be a Halloween costume. 


One day my ex and I were strolling through a Goodwill in San Diego looking for a Halloween costume. We had decided to go as zombie bride and groom, so I headed over to the wedding dress section. The plan was to shred the thing to bits, do eerie makeup, and Voila! ... instant Halloween costume. Luckily, I found a gown that fit, and as I stepped out of the dressing room to show the prospective zombie groom, this woman walked up to me and said "Oh wow! Have you ever seen Say Yes to the Dress??? That looks amazing on you!"

I hadn't really thought about it that way, but when I saw myself in the mirror, I realized she had a point. And it did bear a striking resemblance to a magazine photo of my dream dress that had hung on my mirror for years and years back home. 

I took it home. Curious about its origins, a bit of Internet searching uncovered this: 

Whoa! This dress was kinda expensive, it turned out... almost $5,000! 

Ok, suddenly wearing it as a zombie costume didn't seem like such a good idea...

Okay, Now it is Time for the Actual Wedding

Several years later, when I got engaged, I told my fiancé (now husband) the story. At first he wasn't thrilled that my wedding dress was purchased whilst trolling a thrift store with my ex, which is understandable. But when he found out that the average budget on a NEW dress would be $1,000 (we were paying for our own wedding) he went along with it. 

I loved that on my wedding day I didn't really need to worry about the dress as I ate cake and trailed it through the dirt of the outer courtyard of our wedding venue. Which is a good thing, because the hem got completely trashed. 

Afterwards, the dress sat in a closet, and I wondered what to do with it... it was sure taking up a lot of space. 

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My Dress conversion a la Grace Kelly's Timeless Elegance in Hitchcock's Rear Window

I did some searching and found Y & Y Studios in Salt Lake, and I was amazed at the work they showed on their Facebook page. A mother and daughter team, their business is all about sustainability. We met and discussed how the new dress should look... I wanted a little bit of a Grace Kelly silhouette, like the one pictured below. 

Grace Kelly in promotional photo for  Rear Window.  (WikiCommons)

Grace Kelly in promotional photo for Rear Window. (WikiCommons)

A few fittings and a somewhat painful first cutting away of the silk, and my new dress was something I could wear on anniversaries. And it still made me feel like Cinderella!

I have had a few friends as me if I regret doing it and the answer is unequivocally no. The hem was beyond fixing, so my little girl (should I ever have one!) couldn't wear it anyway. And I think the new look is classic enough that just maybe, she can wear it to a school dance. The dress was beautiful before... and it is beautiful now. It was just a simple transformation that made it something I could wear on more than just ONE occasion! 

How about you? What have you done with your wedding dress (if you have one)? Did you keep it, convert it, gift it, donate it? Please leave a note in the comments below! 


looking for more fashion inspiration from the golden age of cinema? read on!