All you need to know

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If you’ve started shopping for wedding dresses, you’ve probably discovered that the process is more like shopping for high fashion than buying a pair of jeans. In most traditional bridal salons, instead of plucking your size off a rack and going out with your garment on the same day, you will be cut in a sample, then wait months for your dress to be made to order and tailored to fit. the perfect fit. Another unique element of the wedding dress shopping experience? The show of the trunk.

What is a trunk show?

A trunk show is when a bridal salon has a fuller or more complete line of sample dresses from a specific bridal designer. Styles can often be purchased at a discount if purchased at a trunk show.

“A trunk show is a great opportunity for someone who loves a certain designer to see a wider range of their styles,” says Ivy Kaplin Solomon, owner of a bridal salon. “Having said that, this isn’t the best first date for someone who is starting from scratch.” Here, Kaplin breaks down everything that happens on a TV show and its tips and tricks for making the most of the experience.

What happens during a trunk show

A crucial part of understanding why trunk lounges are such an integral part of the bridal salon business model is understanding how the bridal salon inventory works in the first place. “Let’s say a designer makes 15 new dresses per season,” Kaplin explains. “Usually, a store will carry 5 to 8 of these models in their store. If we like a certain style, we will get a sample of this dress. Customers try on this dress as a sample in store, and then we order their own dress in their own size. ”

In a contest, a designer will send in samples of their entire collection or line – sometimes up to 30 dresses! – at a salon for a set period of time (usually a weekend), giving future brides the opportunity to try out a wider range of the brand’s styles. The collection will likely include the most recent styles from the bridal Fashion Week catwalks and, if the designer offers them, may also extend to reception dresses (otherwise known as ‘second looks’) and bridesmaid wear. It is generally believed that the term “trunk show” is derived from the trunks in which these collections were sometimes shipped.

Every now and then an internal brand representative – or even the designer himself! – will also be present during the Trunk Parade to offer style advice and, in some situations, discuss dress customization options.

Chest shows vs. traditional clothing purchases

Besides having more dresses to try on, a bridal salon visit at a trunk show differs very little from a standard salon visit. You’ll make an appointment, browse the shelves, and try your favorites. (Yes, you can try on dresses from the trunk and the collection in the salon’s store.)

The buying process during a trunk show also remains the same – customers won’t walk out of the store with a dress, but instead place an order for style – but what can be different is the price. A purchase for a trunk show usually comes with a discount (the industry standard is 10%) and, thanks to commercial contracts between design houses and the bridal shops that carry them, discounts are only made. not common in this sector.

“I am contractually obligated to respect a designer’s prices, otherwise I could lose that designer in my store,” says Solomon, who notes that a trunk show is the agreed opportunity to lower the prices. All that to say: if you are more determined to wear a certain designer, a trunk show is a great time to buy.

Ten percent may not seem like a lot, but when a dress costs $ 2,000, that $ 200 can be spent on other crucial items in your ensemble, like, say, shoes or a veil.

Buying Tips for the Trunk Show

Don’t make it your first visit to the salon.

Because trunk shows focus on a specific brand – which likely has a specific aesthetic – they’re not necessarily the best option for a first-time buyer looking to try out a wide range of styles. But according to Kaplin, if you’ve ever been to a salon and found that your few favorite dresses are all from the same designer, that should be your cue to focus on that designer – and a trunk show will be the best way to go. see the most brand options at once.

Do your research.

After you’ve figured out which designer you want, your next step should be to head over to their website to see when a trunk show is coming to your area. Many brands will post them, but if yours doesn’t, check which retailers they have in the areas of the country where you plan to shop. From there, you can contact individual salons to see if they have any plans. to host a trunk show for that designer in your storefront. It can take you beyond the trade shows you originally planned to visit, but that’s totally okay.

Make an appointment as soon as possible, but with the others in mind.

The number of appointments a salon can accommodate during a trunk show is generally the same as it would take on any other weekend. This means that you will be competing with regular buyers and other fans of the designer for a slot machine, so you will want to make an appointment as soon as possible.

On the other hand, if you’re only lukewarm about a designer, or their prices are way beyond your budget, Solomon suggests holding back. “If you don’t have a good idea of ​​what you want, you probably shouldn’t make that date with someone who does,” she says.

Make the most of an on-site appearance.

Maybe you like the skirt of one dress and the top of another and wondering if there is a way to combine the two. The designer, or a direct representative of the brand, will have the best insight into what’s possible when it comes to altering a dress style, so if either is available for the trunk show, now is the time to speak.

“Don’t be afraid to ask the Creator for something,” Solomon says. They might not always be willing to accommodate you, but you won’t know unless you find out. (Feeling nervous about making such a bold request? Solomon suggests first asking your stylist if the designer is open to customizations or not.)

Of course, you shouldn’t feel like you have to ask lots of questions if you’re not really curious. “Sometimes it’s just nice to have someone there to help with the fitness,” says Solomon. “A designer has seen her dresses on a lot of people, so they can suggest accessories or how to wear your hair.”

Prepare to make a purchase.

Because a trunk show is one of the few times you can shave $$$ off your major clothing expenses, be prepared to officially say ‘yes’ to the dress – and know that means you should have your VIPs. to the trailer. “If you know you can’t make a decision without a friend or family member, or the person paying for your dress, this is the date to bring them to,” Solomon says.

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