Loehmann’s is Closing! Luckily I Just Snagged My Wedding Dress There

I hope my latest post detailing my bond to ostriches successfully invoked the flightless muse. Shifting gears, I’d like to take a moment now to pay tribute to a beloved — and disappearing! — designer discount shop.

Disclaimer: Tilda Swinton does not, as far as I know, explicitly endorse or patronize Loehmann's stores.

Disclaimer: Tilda Swinton does not, as far as I know, explicitly endorse or patronize Loehmann’s stores. Hey, maybe that’s why they’re closing!

Last year, while shopping at one of my favorite stores, Loehmann’s (R.I.P.!), I spotted two orphaned wedding dresses hanging amidst the couture clutter of the Back Room. The Beverly Hills Loehmann’s flagship features a wildly haphazard store layout, in which sizes, styles and price points are hopelessly commingled. The selections are so random and impractical that you have to wonder who buys half the stuff. My best guesses are a) nobody, or b) Tilda Swinton, arriving under cover of night (daytime shopping is for peasants) to pick up the perfect bejeweled farthingale.

Eagle-eyed tag-spotters may note that this is a photo from Saks Off Fifth, not Loehmann's. But same idea. Also, I'm not gravid -- but bargain hunting apparently gives me a stomachache.

Eagle-eyed tag-spotters may note that this is a photo from Saks Off Fifth, not Loehmann’s. But same idea. Also, I’m not gravid — bargain hunting apparently just gives me a stomachache.

It’s impossible not to come away from Loehmann’s with the adrenalin-charged impression that anybody who wastes her time re-racking cast-offs is missing the true point of the experience. To wit: When at Loehmann’s, gather ye designer goods while ye may and buy anything that could possibly work for you in any universe.

Has the Y been properly licensed for sale at Saks Off Fifth?

Has the Y been properly licensed for sale at Saks Off Fifth?

With that in mind, I grabbed both dresses and took them to the communal fitting room. Anybody familiar with the Beverly Hills Loehmann’s communal fitting room will surely emit a PTSD shudder upon reading the phrase “Beverly Hills Loehmann’s communal fitting room.” It’s a boxy cell that impressively induces simultaneous claustrophobia and agoraphobia with its combination of funhouse mirrors, close proximities and a stunning lack of curtains.

Again, Off Fifth, but only because the Loehmann's dressing room is completely open, à la narcotics assembly room. This is a French Connection-faux-Hervé Léger bandage dress. I didn't buy it because I felt like Kermit at a costume ball. Mistake?

Again, Off Fifth, but only because the Loehmann’s dressing room is completely open, à la narcotics assembly room. This is a French Connection bandage dress inspired by the Hervé Léger originals. I didn’t buy it because I felt like Kermit at a costume ball. Mistake?

The effect, I’m sure, recalls the heady vibe of working on an illegal narcotics assembly line. On both the production line and in the Loehmann’s dressing room, you’re naked in public; prim overseers ogle your entire body with a suspicious glare; and the intoxicating fume of dangerous possibility (in one case, heroin; in another, a sub-$1,000 Valentino silk gown) hangs flagrantly in the air.

Ha! This is not it. This is an alarmingly toga-like jersey dress that was retailing for $16.99 or so. So no. But my point is that in the nuptial glut that characterizes most people's late 20s/early 30s existence, wedding garb can mush into a whole "All Look Same" experience anyway. Should I just have bought this cheapie?

Ha! This is not it. This is an alarmingly toga-like jersey dress that was retailing for $16.99 or so. So no. But my point is that in the nuptial glut that characterizes most people’s late 20s/early 30s existence, wedding garb can mush into a whole “All Look Same” experience anyway. Should I just have bought this cheapie?

Pile o' clothes: 2 Laundry by Shelli Segal doily dresses, 1 French Connection bodycon dress (in the palatable shade of "Elmo," not "Kermit"), 2 striped French Connection cotton dresses (I ditched one as a compromise to Deepak, who noted legitimately, "You already have like 5 of those!" Per Kermit, I'm building my rainbow connection/rainbow collection.)

Pile o’ clothes: 2 Laundry by Shelli Segal doily dresses, 1 French Connection bodycon dress (in the palatable shade of “Elmo,” not “Kermit”), 2 striped French Connection cotton dresses (I ditched one as a compromise to Deepak, who noted legitimately, “You already have like 5 of those!” Per Kermit, I’m building my rainbow connection/collection.)

When I tried on both Loehmann’s wedding dresses, only one fit. Each was a different size. Of course, the one that could barely clear my bottom rib after a month-long juice fast was the one whose design I loved. In fact, the other dress — which was two sizes larger — fastened easily and seemed to look fine on me. I was immediately bored with it. Its non-straining zipper promised no exciting future iteration of me — one who had single-digit body fat percentage and ran 9 consecutive sub-7:00 miles daily. Back to the Back Room it went.

This, of course, is not it either. But it is an illustration of a hilarious faux Yale letterman's jacket, which for some reason was being peddled in Off Fifth's men's outerwear section.

This, of course, is not it either. But it is an illustration of a hilarious faux Yale letterman’s jacket, which for some reason was being peddled in Off Fifth’s men’s outerwear section. Brand dilution or improvement? Also, the peace sign was a poorly conceived attempt to throw up a “Y,” not a nod to my AZN roots.

And while my eye was drawn first to the clearance sticker on this Loehmann’s wedding gown, and then to its pleasing (albeit miniaturized) silhouette, I finally saw the most important thing — it featured ostrich feathers!

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