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Secondhand Wedding Dress Shopping? It’s a Buyer’s Market.


Beverly Yip had all the time envisioned getting married in a robe from a bridal line like Monique Lhuillier, Berta or Casablanca. The former proprietor of a rental enterprise that supplied linens, glassware and different provides for weddings, Ms. Yip, who bought that firm in 2017, had recognized favourite designers by being attentive to what different brides have been carrying.

By the time she turned engaged in February 2021, “I by no means thought I’d be the bride,” Ms. Yip, 44, mentioned. Another situation she had by no means imagined? Purchasing a robe secondhand.

Her hunt for a marriage gown started at a Monique Lhuillier retailer close to her dwelling in San Francisco, the place she discovered the expertise considerably intimidating. “It was like that ‘Pretty Woman’ scene — nobody even supplied to let me strive on a gown,” she mentioned. “I assume I didn’t appear like I may afford it.”

Appointments at different shops, together with David’s Bridal, adopted. But Ms. Yip, who now works in software program gross sales, couldn’t discover something that justified spending 1000’s of {dollars}. She quickly expanded her search to secondhand retailers, beginning with the web site Queenly, the place she had beforehand resold a proper gown. After days of looking, she ended up shopping for a pre-owned Jovani robe from the web site for $500 to put on at her June 26 nuptials.

The strapless ivory gown, which has a pointed sweetheart neckline, a crystal embellished waistband and a excessive leg slit, “appears like me,” Ms. Yip mentioned.

“You can discover a gown that makes you are feeling stunning on a finances — it can save you 1000’s of {dollars},” she added. “You simply need to be prepared to perform a little digging.”

Lately, at many secondhand retailers, there have been extra — much more — wedding ceremony clothes to dig by than in previous years, providing brides like Ms. Yip an excellent higher likelihood of discovering robes that match their model and finances.

Nikki Pak, 36, an unbiased enterprise and profession coach in Hamilton, New Zealand, drove two hours to select up a gown she had bought on Still White, a web site that focuses on promoting pre-owned bridal robes, in February 2021.

“I used to be 5 months pregnant on the time,” mentioned Ms. Pak, whose nuptials occurred the next month at a winery on Waiheke Island. “I organized the marriage in simply three months,” she added.

Ms. Pak paid round $370 for the gown by the designer Stella York, which had retailed for $2,500, in line with its itemizing. “I didn’t wish to spend 1000’s on a gown,” she mentioned, “as a result of I used to be pregnant. We needed to get married shortly.”

“I truly obtained on very well with the girl I purchased it from,” Ms. Pak added. “I even despatched her a photograph of me carrying it on my wedding ceremony day.”

At Vestiaire Collective, a luxurious resale web site, the variety of listings for wedding ceremony clothes between March 2020 and March 2022 elevated by 527 p.c compared with the two-year interval between March 2018 and March 2020, mentioned Amber Lopez, a model partnership and affect manager on the firm.

Purchases of wedding ceremony clothes from Vestiaire Collective, which has no itemizing price and earns 12 p.c of every whole sale, have elevated by 480 p.c when evaluating those self same two-year durations, Ms. Lopez added.

Still White, which prices a $20 itemizing price however takes no fee on gross sales, at present has greater than 60,000 wedding ceremony clothes out there for costs that vary from $10 to $60,000, mentioned its founder, Ingrid Szajer.

Kate Atkinson, who owns Bridal Reloved, a sequence of secondhand retail shops in Britain, has witnessed a surge in stock, too. Ms. Atkinson, whose firm additionally has an e-commerce web site, says the sorts of clothes flooding the resale market are completely different from what she has ever seen. Typically, the robes being introduced into shops, or listed, could be three years previous or extra. Nowadays, they’re comparatively new.

“It’s truly actually unhappy,” she mentioned. “Brides are choosing up their clothes from the outlets and bringing them straight right here to us within the baggage. They haven’t even been touched.”

“In our business there are all the time extra clothes than the demand, however by no means like this,” Ms. Atkinson added. Her firm earns a 40 p.c fee on in-store gross sales and prices a price of 25 British kilos, or round $30, to listing clothes on-line.

Many robes are being resold by individuals who bought them to put on at weddings that have been canceled or postponed due to the pandemic. Others are coming from brides whose plans haven’t modified as a lot as they’ve. “The motive they’re promoting them is, principally, as a result of they’ve gained weight in lockdown,” Ms. Atkinson mentioned. “There have been numerous infants.”

Jenna Wolf, 34, a stay-at-home dad or mum in Bloomfield, Mich., purchased a “Vera” gown by Lee Petra Grebenau to put on on the vacation spot wedding ceremony she was planning to carry in Miami in May 2020. When the pandemic arrived, she at first stored her fingers crossed for the dream occasion she thought may nonetheless occur. “I used to be optimistic, however then Miami shut down,” she mentioned, “and the venue canceled our wedding ceremony.”

That spring, Ms. Wolf and her husband ended up marrying at a courthouse in Los Angeles, the place they lived on the time, largely as a result of he wanted to be on her insurance coverage plan. Then that they had a baby and now, she mentioned, “I’m pregnant with No. 2.” The wedding ceremony robe she had bought for $7,500, she added, is “not going to suit me.”

Unworn, it’s at present listed for $6,000 on Still White.

“The gown was the second largest expense after the venue,” Ms. Wolf mentioned. “I used to be type of unhappy” to listing it for resale, she added, “and there have been just a few weeks the place I simply cried. But the thrill of the newborn helped.”

Oke Oghene, 31, who lives in Astoria, Queens, mentioned she initially bought two clothes to put on on the wedding ceremony she was planning in Brooklyn in 2020: “One for the ceremony and one for the reception.”

When that occasion was canceled due to the pandemic, “I ended up having the marriage in a convention room in a Marriott, in Long Island,” mentioned Ms. Oghene, who works as a paraprofessional in a public faculty. “So I simply wore the reception gown for that.”

The robe she didn’t put on, which was speculated to be for her ceremony, got here from Vera Wang and retailed for $1,000. Ms. Oghene, who mentioned she purchased it on sale for $600 at a time when shops have been slashing costs due to the pandemic, is now promoting it on Still White for $800.

“I don’t really feel unhappy about promoting it, as a result of I by no means wore it. There’s no emotional attachment,” she mentioned. “The gown I did put on, I’ll maintain ceaselessly.”

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