First of all, I can't imagine traveling 2,000 miles to go to any dress shop unless you're shopping couture. Something doesn't add up there. The shop is NOT in a ""bad area"" of town - it is off the service road to the highway in an basic building that is crammed to the ceiling with all kinds of dresses, from sexy to very conservative. Mobile is a HUGE formal wear market, thanks to our profusion of Mardi Gras balls (plus the balls in New Orleans) so the inventory at Rosie's turns over often. I can't imagine anyone saying that the dresses are from the 70s - that's just bunk. In the few weeks after Mardi Gras, the selection is probably slimmer since Jan-Feb are the big months for dress shopping. Also, the building doesn't smell at all - that's just silly. It is just a no-frills, low ceiling building with several large rooms and fluorescent lights. It's not Kleinfelds but you're not paying the overhead for a fancy dressing room and silk curtains either, know what I mean?
I have bought 2 dresses from them and both times were a delight. I'm almost 40, so I don't want something that makes me look like a floozy prom queen OR like my grandmother. I also am rather picky about fabric - it's getting harder and harder to find a silk gown instead of poly or rayon. Both times, I have been able to find really elegant beaded gowns that are age appropriate AND made out of silk. The first one was around $175, the second was $150. Try finding those prices on any of the online bridal/formal ""superstores."" They have huge selections in all kinds of sizes - remember that formal wear is usually several sizes above your regular sizes so a lot of us move up into ""plus"" sizes. I have probably looked at over 100 dresses online, but have found exactly the perfect dress at Rosie's instead.
Both times I have been there, the service has been excellent and friendly. I'm sure when the shop is packed with people wanting to try on multiple dresses, the staff can't give everyone as much attention but they are still nice. They are polite but candid - if you ask them what they think, they will tell you. Frankly, I'd rather have the lady at the shop tell me to go buy myself some control top panty hose than to go out looking all bulgy, right??
The stock is geared towards beaded gowns and ball/evening gowns. The selection of wedding gowns probably isn't as large as a traditional bridal store, so if you're in the market for bridal you might need to search a little (although they do have nice gowns there, don't get me wrong). But for formal wear (and I HAVE shopped in Baltimore, New York and Atlanta) Rosie's can't be beat.
Pros: Large selection, helpful staff, ever-changing inventory
Cons: Wish they carried spanx and other control garments!