Monday, January 24, 2011

White Toronto

As I detailed in Saturday’s entry, my sister has selected the Simple Silhouettes line for me and her four other bridesmaids to wear. While a great-looking line, it’s not a very popular one, at least not in Canada, and as a result, only one place in Toronto carried: White in Yorkville.

Now, if you’ve ever been a bride in Toronto, you’re probably familiar with White. For the rest of you, I’ll explain that  it's considered to be one of the city’s better, and pricier, bridal stores.

I was a Toronto bride but since I preferred not to look at things I couldn't afford,  I never went to White (well, that and I bought with my dress with my mom in Alberta). But I was always curious about it and because of that, I was happy to have an excuse to check it out.

Located in an old Victorian on Hazelton Avenue, it should be made clear that White is no Kleinfields. It’s a small place with a suitably small selection. But the dresses they do have well, they are certainly stunning. Maybe a little too stunning.

Let me explain…

While I’m sure White stocks at least a couple sleek, simple gowns, most of the ones I saw are elaborate creations full of lace, beading and sparkle. While some were more “traditional” looking, many had a definite high-fashion look to them and the detailing on both types was truly amazing.

While these dresses aren’t necessary big in size (though they do have those), they are big on impact and honestly, I don’t think most women could carry them off. Besides requiring the right body type (long and lean but not skinny), they also require the right attitude. For many women, a wedding day is about being a princess but these dresses, even the ones with tulle, say “supermodel” more than “princess”.

Then there's the issue of cost. With dresses by such designers as Badgley Mischka, Monique Lhuillier and Oscar de la Renta, yuo can safely assume that this is not the place for the bride-on-a-budget. While I did see I think at least two that are three thousand-something, most of the price tags I looked at were above the $5000 mark with many dresses costing over ten grand. And no, that cost doesn’t include alterations (oddly, White doesn’t do alternations).


The selection of bridesmaids however, is both more varied and more practical. Again, the selection isn’t huge and neither is the overall “bridesmaid loft”, which is located at the top of the house. I’m pointing this out because while I was getting my dress, a bridal party with 12 (yes, 12) maids showed up and things got pretty cramped pretty quick.

Also, the lighting’s not the best in there so if you can, get colour samples that you can take out and look at in better light.

The service however, is excellent. I had my own clerk who was friendly and helpful, offering useful and honest advice and opinions. I was measured for my dress by a different woman who was quick, professional and also offered her honest opinion on exactly what size I should get. And I have to give my admiration for the woman who was dealing with mega-bridal party. Despite their noise and uh, stupidity (multiple members weren’t wearing underwear), she was calm and organized.

I was less impressed with the fact that I paid more for my bridesmaid’s dress than my sister's other maids, who are buying theirs from a shop in Calgary, but I guess that Yorkville rent’s gotta get paid somehow.

Appointments are a must-have at White and because the selection is on the small side, I would check with them and make sure that they carry the designer/specific dresses that you’re looking for. And seriously, if you don’t have the budget for a pricy dress, don’t even walk in there.

Would I buy this again: A bridesmaid’s dress yes but the only way I would have bought a wedding dress from there was if I had won the lottery (and even then I don’t know…).
Should you buy it: If you’ve got the budget, the body and the confidence, get your wedding dress from White. Otherwise, only check this place out for bridesmaid dresses.

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