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LOVE/HATE: Architechtural Meets Ballerina


Okay, folks, what think you of this gown (named Parker) from Amsale’s Fall 2012 collection?

For my part, I find it rather confused. The bodice is satin with the currently trendy one-strap look and a geometrical crumb catcher. It hits nearly every major trend except for lace.

Then the skirt is simply a huge pouf of tulle.

I think how it really strikes me is unfinished. The lines, while not my personal faves, aren’t awful by any means. Each part has the potential to be kind of amazing… but there’s nothing holding this design together. Perhaps I would like it better if there were some form of embellishment that was used on both parts. Then again, I don’t think a major statement bodice like that can really use embellishing. I think what it needs is a different skirt. And an etherial skirt like that never looks quite right to my eyes with a highly structured bodice, so I think it needs a softer, more romantic top.

In short, I find this a little scattered, with each half having great potential if paired with something that suits it better. I have to go with hate on this.

What say all of you?

Something Other Than an Alarmist Headline for the Pregnant Bridesmaid

Seems like people make a lot of fuss over pregnant bridesmaids, and not in a good way. You get posts on blogs and articles with titles like “Dealing With a Pregnant Bridesmaid” (which makes it sound like the bride is looking for a way to rub her out) and “The Pregnant Bridesmaid Dilemma” (translation: can I ask her to get an abortion so she doesn’t ruin myyyy daaayyyyyy?) and “Another Pregnant Bridesmaid?!” (for the couple who’s wondering why those bridesmaids can’t keep their dang legs closed).

With headlines like that, you’d think that women everywhere are all just waiting until they’ve been asked to be in a bridal party to stop taking their birth control. You know, because there’s nothing more awesome when you’re knocked up than finding a non-sucky maternity bridesmaid dress and standing up for a 45 minute long ceremony while someone takes photos of your cankles. That in mind, here’s a treat for the pregnant bridesmaid: a bridesmaid dress from Amsale that will make you feel like a million bucks.

As opposed to, you know, making you feel like a million pounds. And the nice thing about Amsale is that there are various other bridesmaids dresses on offer that look good on the pregnant bridesmaid – see a real live pregnant woman in one here – without specifically being maternity bridesmaids dresses. So you might find a reason to wear it again after the wedding. You know, once that baby in your belly is old enough to be left with a sitter for a night and you actually feel like putting on something other than sweats.

Bridal Fabrics: From Batiste to Velvet

Wedding dresses are crafted in a variety of fabrics and fabric finishes, with everything from cotton to taffeta being fair game. Yet the last thing most brides-to-be are thinking about when they step into a bridal salon or log on to an online shop like House of Brides is fabric characteristics. Luckily, wedding dress designers and manufacturers make it easy for us all, pairing certain fabrics with certain styles to ensure that everything drapes and flows and rustles like it ought to.

bridal fabric glossary

Still, a little knowledge goes a long way when you’re searching for the perfect wedding dress! For example, knowing the difference between a fiber and a finish will ensure that you don’t unintentionally buy a wedding dress made of synthetic fabric when you have your heart set on natural fibers. The finish is what cloth looks and feels like once it’s woven – for example, taffeta can be made of silk or polyester, and it’s worth it to know which one you’re buying.

With that in mind, I’ve put together a short bridal fabric glossary that includes the fibers and finishes you’re most likely to encounter when shopping for your wedding dress and bridesmaids’ dresses.

Batiste
Made of cotton, wool, or polyester, this lightweight fabric is thin and opaque, but not nearly as transparent as organdy.

Charmeuse
A lightweight fabric with a satin weave that is softer and clingier than satin and less voluminous than silk finishes. Charmeuse, which is lustrous on one side and dull on the other, can be made with silk, polyester, or rayon. This is a slinky, slippery fabric.

Chiffon
This lightweight and slightly rough fabric is translucent with a soft drape. Made with either cotton, silk, or synthetic fibers, it is quite delicate and is usually thought of as a summer weight fabric.

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LOVE/HATE: The ‘Little White Dress’ Edition

We’ve all heard of the “little black dress,” but how about the little white dress? The little white dress might be a bride’s main wedding dress or it could be the dress she changes into before arriving at the wedding reception. Obviously the little white dress is best suited to weddings that are perhaps a tad less formal or at the very least a tad less somber. It is not, in other words, for the grand church wedding with the full Mass.

little-white-dress

Amsale seems to have pioneered the little white dress concept, or at least to have taken the idea to the next level by creating an entire collection of them in one place. Too bad all of the little white dresses are so much like other wedding dresses in that they have no sleeves, there are a lot of strapless necklines, and the bride would have to be quite slim to pull most of them off. Alas.

But even with all these strikes against them, I LOVE these little white dresses! They’re quite fun and fresh and a little cheeky in that they take the bride into the realm of the unexpected. That’s what I say — what say you?

(image via)

The Lightness Is the Rightness (For Some)

As much as I like the bold, bright bridesmaids dresses I featured in Inspiration for Ashley #5 — and as popular as they are right now — there’s still a huge contingent of brides-to-be out there planning weddings with predominantly pastel color schemes. And good for them, I say. While it’s not my bag, I support a bride-to-be’s choice to outfit her wedding party in any color, from black to neon green to white!

That said, if you favor a wedding color scheme that could be described as soft, pretty, and/or feminine, don’t think you have to go running straight to the bridal salon for your bridesmaids’ dresses. For the same money you’d spend at David’s Bridal or a similar shop for your bridesmaid frocks, you can outfit your best girlfriends in pretty Amsale cocktail dresses from Bluefly. True story. And none of the potential bridesmaids dresses below cost more than $180, while all of them promise to look beautiful on your ‘maids without needing all that much alteration.

Amsale wisteria sateen strapless cocktail dressAmsale sage pleated chiffon v-neck dressAmsale turquoise satin strapless dress
Amsale celedon satin strapless dressAmsale butter ruched chiffon strapless empire dressAmsale ice pleated chiffon v-neck dress

How about pairing them with slightly brighter bridesmaids bouquets similar to this one from One Source Weddings:

pastel-bridal-bouquets

Suggesting to my bridesmaids that they look outside of the world of weddings to find their dresses (I gave them some color and cut parameters but let them shop on their own) was something I really ought to have done. After all, I write about weddings for a living. Maybe, just maybe, they would have found their bridesmaid attire before the last possible second if they had realized they could have shopped online or at the mall.

(As always, click on any of the dresses for prices and availability)

A Quatro of Delightful Trios

Ack! Too many interesting newsbites has translated into too few pictures of pretty dresses! As you no doubt know by now, I’m a big fan of shopping for bridesmaid garb outside of the bridal salons because you can snag something lovely off Bluefly for not much more than you’ll pay elsewhere.

In fact, I had a look around Bluefly today — I know, hard work, right? — and found a bunch of gowns that would look fab on a bridesmaid or maid/matron-of-honor. From strapless to strapped, slim to poufy, I hope my choices will delight and perhaps inspire those of you who have not yet decided how your female attendants will be clothed on the big day.

From Vera Wang:

Vera Wang fuchsia gathered charmeuse halter dressVera Wang steel hammered satin asymmetrical dressVera Wang mauve satin velvet sash long dress

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Jenna Bush’s dresses by the numbers

I was deeply engrossed in Style Scoop when my little eye happened upon this intersection of the nuptial and the presidential:

Gosh, dontcha just hate having too many options?

Whether you give two toots about Jenna Bush’s May 10th wedding to Henry Hager (I don’t, oddly enough), it’s beyond cool to see all of the potential dress designs. As Style Scoop tells it, the first lady (hey, should I be capitalizing that?) asked twelve notable designers to submit sketches of the gown that may just clothe her daughter on said daughter’s special day.

The twelve designs sprang forth from the minds of the following designers (from one to twelve): Vera Wang, J. Mendel, Arnold Scaasi, Carlos Miele, Amsale, Carmen Marc Valvo, Angel Sanchez, Badgley Mischka, Nicole Miller, Lela Rose, Marc Bouwer, and Oscar de la Renta.

My personal favorite is number nine, but I have always fancied those Nicole Miller ruffles. Number one looks like it ought to be in the annual toilet paper gown contest. Three gets a big ol’ yawn from me, but all things considered it does look sort of right for a White House wedding. Eight is too daring for the same, and I have nothing to say about seven other than that the cartoon model looks entirely undead.

Which, pray tell, do you favor?

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