Thursday, November 12, 2009

Dress Shopping: Nicole Miller

As you may know, I'm not the biggest fan of salon wedding dresses.  I've figured out that, even apart from their price, they don't feel like me.  There are, however, a few exceptions to that rule, and Nicole Miller is one of them.  Something about the simplicity, the unfussy elegance, and the versatility of the bridal line (appropriate for the beach or the church) felt immediately yes-worthy.  I also loved the fabrics and creativity with metallics, texture, and general bridalness.  Once I saw the price range ($600-$1900), I decided I could afford a salon visit and I could even afford to possibly find my wedding dress here. And so, I visited the West Hollywood salon.

The Nicole Miller bridal line is ready-to-wear, which I found to be a very attractive selling point.  They have none of the made-to-order-but-you-still-need-alterations BS that plagues the wedding dress industry.  If you're a size 10, you order a size 10 and it arrives almost immediately (eloping and procrastinating brides take note!)  The dresses also come with a built in bustles (for the dresses with trains), which is a nice little extra touch/cost-saving measure.

At the West Hollywood salon, the bridal room is in the back of the standard ready-to-wear store, so it felt like a more organic shopping experience and not like they were prepping to rip me off.  All in all, it was a great morning.  The bridal consultant was knowledgeable, honest, excited without being gushy or patronizing, and didn't make me feel like a cow (even though she was a size 0 herself and the Nicole Miller clientele runs tiny.) And the dresses. Oh, the dresses. I fell a little bit in love with each of them and, for the first time, I felt genuinely excited about a white wedding dress (yay!).  Here were my favorite beauties from the excursion (with the official site images followed by my real-person modeling).  For reference, I was either an 8 or a 10 in all the dresses I tried and needed clips on most of them:

I loved this dress.  No two ways about it, I loved the color, the simple lines, the crinkle taffeta, the lightweight comfort and the elegance.  It's a little busty on me, but if I'd seen the styling from this Steep Street shoot (via August and After) before I went into the Nicole Miller shop, I might have bought the dress on the spot, price be damned.  The dress runs $1600, but I've seen it on various used dress sites for under $1000. 

What you can't see in this dress is the absolutely lovely brocade-silk sheen on this material.  And I LOVE the neckline, the drape, and the great little puddle train.  The folds are actually built into the dress, and only look odd because the sample was a size too large.  This dress felt amazing on and for the price ($1320) and great outdoor-elegant style I was highly tempted to splurge and get it.

This was the most traditionally bridal of the bunch, but I loved it anyhow.  The silk shantung felt and looked amazing.  Also, what you can't see are the stunning architectural lines on this dress (try and look closely for the v-shaped overlays on the neckline.)  I admit, I nearly caved on this one.  This dress made my mother cry and insist on buying it (I ignored her on that point, but still, Mom tears are powerful things.) Unfortunately, the dress was far out of my price range at $1900 and the versions I've found online have all been altered for people much shorter than myself.

As for the other dresses I tried on, they either looked awful on me or I forgot to take iphone photos in the excitement.  Even though I forgot photos, I'd like to give honorable mentions to two incredibly reasonably priced dresses (~$600) that I also loved.  Both had the same cut in different materials.  Both are strapless, but the bridal consultant showed me how easy it would be to modify either into a sweetheart neckline.

Given how much I loved all these dresses and given the reasonableness of the pricing, I left the store feeling great, knowing that I had a definite wedding dress possibility I could love at Nicole Miller.  I pretty much decided that, if no other dress worked out in my search, I'd (very happily) get married in this last $600 white dress.  Just knowing I had a definite wedding dress option helped calm me the heck down about my wedding dress anxiety and reminded me that yes, everything will indeed be all right. 

Nicole Miller Store
8633 Sunset Blvd
West Hollywood, CA 90069
(310) 652-1629
Bridal by appointment only


  1. I like the first one on you! And I have seen that dress several times on Once Wed's used dresses section. If you don't mind the idea, I bet you could score that one for a discount!

    Good luck with the dress hunt...

  2. It's so good to see those dresses on a real person! They all looked really beautiful on you, I think that no matter which one you choose, you will look stunning.

  3. seeing all those photos! I left you a little something on my blog today.

  4. It really does give you peace of mind to have at least one dress that you can fall back on that you really like. I am hoping to have mine purchased by the end of december. The prices of the dress you tried are really reasonable!

  5. You look great!! I really like Nicole Miller too and visited the La Jolla salon. I love the last one on you, I can see why your Mom cried.

  6. I love the first one so much, I want you to buy it so badly!!!

  7. Those are all really chic. Personally I like the second one best on you.

    Nicole Miller also makes really great non-bridal cocktail dresses. They would work great as bridesmaids dresses.

  8. Girl, you are adorable. I've had my eye on those last two NM dresses as back up plans. All the dresses looked AMAZING on you. Now I want to go try some on.

  9. Ooooh I tried on the second one...I LOVED that it was stretchy...only dress I tried on that had give! I love the Nicole Miller dresses on you!

  10. You know I love the first one, but I also love the 3rd one you're pictured in. Looks like it's made for you. So glad you're enjoying NM dresses! Can't wait to see which one you choose!


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