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I've imagined my own enchanted fashion moment ever since watching Cinderella's fairy godmother "bippity, boopti, boo" a ballgown out of thin air. I regret to say that my plus size clothing buying experience has made me yearn for some pixie dust. A fairy godmother of fashion is required!
Meet Curinne Polizzi, the "Curvy Godmother," a plus size bridal specialist, and the proprietor of Ivory&Main, the only plus size bridal shop in the state of New York. Curinne, a plus-size bride herself, found it difficult to get a wedding dress in her size without leaving her home state.
Curinne and her fiancé Paul decided to put off their own wedding so they could launch Ivory&Main. Curinne knew she couldn't be the only bride who struggled to say yes to selecting her wedding dress.
In order to provide brides larger than a sample size 8 with their own wonderful gown moment, Ivory&Main opened their doors in 2018 with forty plus size dresses in stock.
In May 2022, Ivory&Main has grown from its original location and now has more than 500 gowns in stock, including bridal, special occasion, and the Ivory&Main lingerie brand.
Beyond a store, Ivory&Main is a movement.
We met down with Curinne to talk about the future of bridal, the reasons brides travel to Ivory & Main, and what lies ahead for our "Curvy Godmothers."
Ans: Curinne! Let's discuss about Ivory&Main with its owner, a plus size bridal expert. Let's begin where we left off. When was the last time you searched for a wedding dress as a plus-size bride?
2017 Curinne Polizzi Since I was already engaged, I sort of avoided looking for a wedding dress out of laziness. As a plus-sized bride, I was afraid that nothing would fit me when I tried on clothes.
Since I was so anxious about it, I pushed off our engagement for years since I didn't want to go shopping. After that, I thought, "You know what, there probably is a plus size bridal shop, there has to be," and that's when I discovered there wasn't one in New York State. Then, in 2018, when we really started preparing,
Maryland was the nearest plus size bridal boutique to me.
You delayed your own wedding in order to launch Ivory&Main, then.
C: I told my fiancé Paul that there are no plus size bridal shops in New York when I went to see him. We really ought to start a bridal store that caters to bigger sizes. He said, "You're insane, we're not doing it," so I researched the market and created a business plan. It's absurd that there aren't many plus size bridal businesses in the nation considering that 65 percent of brides wear plus sizes.
As I dug deeper, Paul kept saying, "Okay, maybe this is something." We used all of the money we had set aside for the wedding, plus a little extra, to begin the process.
What transpired was that my initial plan called for opening the shop in a year. We really began discussing it in November or December of 2017, and by January 2018 I had already discovered the store's location. We were only conversing and then I signed a lease. I had zero knowledge of the sector.
I was working completely blindly.
It was extremely nerve-racking. On March 15th, we received the keys, and in May of 2018, we opened with 40 dresses. It was absurd!
Four years later, how many gowns are still available at the shop?
C: Nearly 400! That is only plus size wedding dresses. There must be well over 500 gowns in stock if you include mother of the bride/groom outfits and event dresses.
A: Ivory&Main is unique in that you serve even medium-sized weddings. Which sizes are available in your store?
C: Our sample sizes in-store are all in the mid-20s. Women in sizes 0 or 2 have been clipped into gowns.
A: Bridal sizes varies greatly. Do the majority of brides who enter the store seem to be aware of bridal sizing?
C: Size is meaningless. Bridal clothing is measured in inches. You are being fitted for the appropriate outfit. We could fit you in a size 26 bridal gown if your usual size is 22.
Who worries if the number sizes depart from conventional sizes? Nobody will ask your sister, "Hold on, what size are you?" at your wedding. Nobody is carrying it out.
The wedding gown is the outer shell, and it will be carefully tailored and taken in for your figure.
If a 28 is required, order a 28.
"Nobody is going to ask your sister, "Hold on, what size are you? " at your wedding. None of them are.
Q: People love following Ivory&Main on social media and visiting the business, I believe, because you keep things authentic. Because to your incredible social media presence, big Tik Tok fanbase, and expertise in plus size bridal fashion, people now travel from all over the world to see Ivory&Main! How far have visitors come to Ivory&Main from other places?
C: Individuals have come to us from Georgia, Florida, and Texas. We receive a lot of requests from abroad but cannot fulfill them all. People from Puerto Rico have flown here to visit us.
It's fantastic! Brides have traveled here from everywhere.
There aren't many plus size bridal businesses nationwide, so we have to share on social media, but I'm okay with being the only one in New York. The majority of brides find us on social media, and half of our business comes from outside the state.
I've read a lot of comments from ladies all over the world who are relieved that Ivory&Main exists because, like you, they felt they couldn't find a wedding gown they would adore in their size. The remarks are incredible. Beyond just a business, Ivory&Main is a movement.
C: Even if the girls choose not to visit our store, I understand that not everyone can go to Long Island to purchase a dress. We want to convey that there are locations where a plus size bride can go in order to obtain the dress of her desires.
Numerous individuals have been dispatched to Della Curva in Los Angeles. In Germany, there is a plus size bridal store. We want to reassure females that there are options out there; keep looking; you might have to travel a little; but plus size bridal boutiques do exist.
Many of the women who follow us are already married, and they frequently express their regret that we didn't exist when they were married since they struggled to locate dresses they loved in their sizes.
A: I feel like we plus-size shoppers usually get dumped. We seldom get to experience the situation where we have a ton of choices and say "Say Yes to the Dress." That is, in my opinion, why people travel to have an Ivory&Main experience. What exactly is the Ivory&Main experience, in your opinion?
C: It's crucial to us that our brides not feel coerced into making a purchase. Our top priority is providing excellent customer service. Because we ultimately want your bridal experience to be wonderful, we have had women approach us who don't end up making a purchase but instead leave us glowing reviews.
I never want somebody to leave our shop feeling worse than when they entered.
Ivory&Main was founded by me for other women like me, and I always want to keep that in mind. I wanted to support plus-sized women. Our main objective is to provide our brides a positive, confident feeling. People may not be aware of this, but being plus size, curvaceous, or medium is not a bad thing.
We want to support you in accepting and loving who you are because you are lovely.
What do you believe the future of bridal is, as the curvaceous bridal expert?
C: I want to state that all designers will accommodate all sizes. I don't believe that size and color are adequately represented in bridal. There is still a long way to go, in my opinion, as I see it every day in the designer lookbooks I receive for each new season's fashions or on the catwalk.
Bridal seemed to be making progress. I find it infuriating when designers only offer sizes up to a bridal size 24, which is roughly equivalent to a size 20. Not plus size friendly, that. The point is, I bring in particular outfits.
The fashion she wants comes in her size, so my bride is browsing Pinterest and publications. We provide plus-size versions of the same styles in bridal publications. I believe that is crucial.
"Women like me are the reason I opened Ivory&Main, and I always want to keep that in mind. I wanted to support plus-size women.
Q: Let's continue our discussion on "Curvy Godmothers," who have millions of Tik Tok views. The "Curvy Godmothers" series consists of what?
C: Cassidy Wilkinson and I, two curvy ladies, provide advice for brides on our blog, Curvy Godmothers. Whether it's something trivial like what not to do at your bridal appointment or something serious like what to wear as undergarments.
By the way, that actually did happen, so don't send a pizza! People assume we made this all up, but we're drawing on our actual experiences as two plus-size brides who work in the wedding business.
We're giving advice to girls while keeping it witty, lighthearted, and relatable.
A: Cassidy and you are the plus size bridal authorities. You two are plus-size brides, and Cassidy works at Ivory&Main as a former wedding planner turned bridal stylist. There are no two greater people than you to own Ivory&Main!
C: Cassidy and I frequently remark that we are soul sisters who feed off one another. Our Curvy Godmother videos, I believe, reflect how much fun we have together. People often think that we two are genuinely insane.
A: It's funny how Ivory&Main brides always want to stay friends, which is why so many former brides are hired for photo shoots, runway events, or shop jobs!
C: Cassidy is one of three former brides who now work at the salon as bridal stylists. When the girls enter, we become friends with them. It truly amazes me how many brides we keep in touch with and who end up becoming relatives. Girls are amazing, amazing. They are very important to us.
Ivory&Main produces breathtaking plus size bridal photographs on social media, all of which is original content. Was that really necessary?
C: It's crucial, in my opinion. We felt the need to produce it since it relates to what we previously said regarding diversity and representation in the industry. Outside of wedding photos and images from fashion magazines, it wasn't really there.
I believe that this contributed to why people followed us on social media as well because they thought, "OMG, that girl looks like me!" We wish to speak for our brides.
Girls must look in the mirror.
Brides can be of any size or form.
Ivory&Main has received offers for possibilities in periodicals and TV shows, and you recently announced that you will launch a podcast.
C: Indeed we are. We are so genuinely thrilled about this that it is crazy. Therefore, "Curvy Godmothers" will continue in the podcast. We will be hosting and discussing everything curvy bridal.
YouTube will also have this!
Let's do a few fire round inquiries. What bridal fashion is most in demand there?
What style would you like to see more brides try on in the store?
C: Mermaid or fitted
What is the most frequent query you receive in store?
When should I purchase my wedding gown?
Q: What is the timeline for bridal gown shopping?