by Emily Kovach
If the thought of walking into a David’s Bridal makes you want to break out in hives, fear not. There are so many other ways to seek out the article of clothing that feels just right for your wedding day. If that is a more traditional white dress or black tux, consider shopping for a vintage or gently used version, which comes at a serious discount to you and is a bit kinder to the planet. And if a white dress or black tux is the furthest thing from what you want to step out in on your wedding day, or you’re seeking that one special detail or accessory, Philadelphia has no shortage of vintage shops and boutiques, which carry a rotating stock of incredible clothes and are staffed by enthusiastic and patient clerks who want to help you find exactly what you’re looking for.
Yes, wedding gowns and suits off the rack can be tailored and tweaked, but nothing will ever fit like a custom piece of clothing. Located in Ardmore, Janice Martin Couture brings over 25 years of experience to wedding couples who desire truly unique clothing for their wedding day. Natural fibers can be used for “green” gowns, and other custom-designed fabrics, often with hand-finished details such as beading and painted designs, are sourced from small ateliers. Found an amazing vintage gown that needs some restoration? Janice Martin also specializes in restoring and reinventing heirloom gowns, so if you’re planning to repurpose a relative’s dress, Martin will make it work.
A graduate of Philadelphia High School for the Creative and Performing Arts who comes from a line of seamstresses, Philly native Ayasa Afi designs gorgeous, high-end wedding gowns that are anything but standard issue. Lace, clean lines and luxe fabrics can be found in all of Afi’s ultra-modern bridal silhouettes. If a white gown isn’t your thing, her other collections offer chic, creative options for the fashion-forward set who want to make a statement.
If finely curated vintage menswear is what you’re after, stop at this unassuming storefront on 7th and Girard for a chat with owner Erik Honesty. Racks of dapper vestments await the intrepid shopper who firmly believes “they don’t make them like they used to.” The accessories game here is strong as well, with ties and tie clips, belts, pocket squares and shoes from coveted designers such as Hermés, Ralph Lauren and Louis Vuitton.