This Bridal Boutique Caters Specifically to Plus-Size Women & It's Glorious


HauteandCo/Instagram

For brides-to-be, shopping for the perfect dress to wear while walking down the aisle is one of the most exciting parts of the wedding planning process. But for plus-size brides -- who are often given a limited stock to choose from, if any, when they enter a bridal store -- they often find that an otherwise happy moment can become kind of discouraging.

  • Chicago-based Shanelle Armstrong-Fowler was first introduced to this challenge when her size 26 friend was turned away from many bridal salons.

    At first, she was surprised. As a size 14, Armstrong-Fowler didn't have any trouble finding a gown for herself. But soon, she learned that there were few wedding designers who went over a size 18. 

    Women over this size are either discouraged from going to a salon, or told there might be one dress for them to try on. Sometimes salons try to accommodate these women by having them hold dresses up to their bodies to see how it would look, since they don't have the larger sizes actually in stock. The entire experience can be "embarrassing," Armstrong-Fowler told People

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  • She saw an opportunity to give plus-size women a place where they feel comfortable, and she called it Haute and Co.

    Located in Chicago, Haute and Co. is a bridal salon that opened in 2013 and caters specifically to women between sizes 14 to 32. 

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    Armstrong-Fowler and her team of stylists have a motto of "Style, Snatch, and Slay," which basically means that every client, no matter her size or body type, will be styled properly into a gown that will make her slay down the aisle, Entertainment Weekly reports. 

  • Women come from all over the country to shop at Haute and Co., and have been loving the experience created by Armstrong-Fowler.

    "At the store you didn't feel like you were being put in a different category," Mindy Rosen, bride and customer of Haute and Co., told People. "You walked in and you were treated like anyone else. They weren't saying, 'Oh here's your section over here.' My section was the whole store, which was awesome."

    Another customer of the store called it "so powerful and amazing" in an online review.

    The bridal boutique has been such a hit that Armstrong-Fowler is getting her own television reality series called The Perfect Fit. Obviously, it's about curvy ladies coming in to find their dream wedding dress without having to feel less than straight-sized brides. 

  • "My goal is to create a world where my business isn't needed anymore," Armstrong-Fowler told People magazine. "My dream is to have all stores carry all sizes."

    In fact, Armstrong-Fowler told Chicago Woman magazine that her goal is actually bigger than just finding a gorgeous gown: "It is not just about a wedding dress. It is about being the best version of yourself and falling in love with the woman in the mirror."      

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