Archive for the ‘Dresses’ Category

Will You Think Pink?

Sunday, October 28th, 2012

I assume all of you have heard about Jessica Biel’s pink gown that she wore when she married Justin Timberlake.

Pink wedding gowns tend to cause a bit of a stir, but they’re hardly something new.

After all, this wedding gown dates from 1877.

Just a month before my own 1993 wedding, I attended one where the bride wore bright rose pink.

It’s not for everyone, of course. I’m not a pink lady, and never was. But if you look good in pink, and you like it, and it feels festive to you, why not?

Trends From NYC Bridal Market 2012

Tuesday, October 16th, 2012

(Image via Love to Know Weddings where you can get some good tips on making your own gown)
So my little chickadees. For the past few days, NYC has been abuzz with the bridal collections shown for 2013 at Bridal Market 2012.

And the nice thing about seeing all those collections over the course of three days is that trends get easy to spot. Here are a few that are making the news in bridal this week.

Coming Soon to a Salon Near You: More Disney Tie Ins

Wednesday, September 26th, 2012

We all know that many brides are inspired by fairy tale ideas when planning their weddings. And when it comes to fairy tales, is there one that has inspired more weddings than Cinderella? I would suggest not. I’m guessing a lot more brides are basing their Cinderella weddings on the iconic Disney version than any other.

Yeah, not many couples do the Grimm’s version. Can’t imagine why. It only involves the bride’s stepsisters losing hunks of their feet, after all. It’s not like that one ended in dozens of dead bodies. For Grimm, it’s positively Disneyesque.

But I digress.

What’s the point of all of this? Well, next month Disney is hauling Cinderella back out of the vault for release on Blu-ray. At the same time, there will be bridal tie-ins from both Alfred Angelo and DSW. Alfred Angelo will release a limited line of blue wedding gowns inspired by the blue ballgown Cinderella wears in the film. Here’s a sketch of one of them that I found at Bride’

As for DSW, they’ll come out with a line of shoes based on the theme, too.

Okay, Okay, So We Can’t Wear It

Friday, September 7th, 2012

This lady is Ethel Dalziel, as she appeared on her wedding day in 1908 when she married Ronald Cooper in Glasgow, Scotland.

No, you haven’t heard of either. They were simply two people who got married, had a family, and eventually died. They did nothing that got them particularly remembered in the annals of history outside their own family.

As for the dress, well, there are a couple things interesting about that. No, not the design. No, not the materials. Both are pretty typical for a wedding gown of the period worn by a middle class bride. The Brussels lace is very pretty, but hardly unusual.

Now the fact that it has survived two bombing raids during WWII and still has all accessories (shoes, stockings, veil, and even wax orange blossom hair wreath) intact is a lot more interesting. It’s rare to find a gown of this era where provenance can be proven, let alone with the accessories.

And yet this is not the part The Daily Mail finds important, either.

Nope, their primary concern with this dress is that brides today are too darn large to wear it.

You see, Ethel’s granddaughter, Elizabeth Hoare, is auctioning off the dress. She tried at first to sell it to a museum, but there were no takers. She did tell the Mail she thought about wearing the gown for her own wedding, but it didn’t fit.

This is unsurprising. Not only was the bride precisely five feet tall, she was wearing a corset when she fit into this dress.

The Mail makes a big deal about how small the dress is, mentioning the eighteen-inch waist and the fact that it’s smaller than a UK size four multiple times.

Yes, the dress is small. It was made at a time when people were – on average – several inches shorter and some pounds lighter than they are today. And did I mention those corsets? Here’s one from roughly the same time period:

See how it affects the waistline?

Also, remember that the bride stood 5’0″ tall. The average woman is taller than that. In fact, the average British woman today is roughly 5’4″, or four inches taller than Ethel was on her wedding day. The Mail does not go into the question of how much taller the average bride is today, nor the corset she would have worn over a hundred years ago.

The average age of brides has also risen over time. In Ethel’s day, the average age of a first time bride 25.63 years. In an article in the Mail roughly two years ago, the reported average age of a first time bride in the UK was thirty and rising. Most adults do gain weight in their late twenties to early thirties.

In short, while the article seems to take issue with the fact that most women today couldn’t fit into this dress and seems to question why anyone who couldn’t wear it might want it, the reason women wouldn’t wear it for a wedding today isn’t that they’re too fat: it’s that they’re too tall, don’t wear corsets, are inclined to be older, and, oh yes, styles have changed drastically.

And of course there could be the reason that it’s a delicate thing that has lasted over a hundred years and two world wars completely intact, so one might want to preserve it simply because there are fewer and fewer of these typical gowns around. The fact that the accessories are also intact and kept with it would make it the highlight of many a private collection.

I don’t need an eighteen-inch waist to appreciate a thing that is beautiful and increasingly rare.

Besides, you folks know what I always say: it’s the job of the dress to fit you, not yours to fit the dress.

LOVE/HATE: Natalie’s Understated Gown

Wednesday, August 8th, 2012

The first blurry pics are available from Natalie Portman’s August 4 wedding to dancer/choreographer/baby daddy Benjamin Millepied in a moonlight ceremony in Big Sur. As you can see, the bride looks as happy as every bride should feel inside. As you can also see, Natalie went for a simple look for her outdoor wedding.

Opinion is divided on the dress, And I am nothing if not opinionated.

My take? I LOVE this dress. It’s the right sort of length and level of formality for an out of doors wedding. No train to get full of twigs, no flashy rhinestones to look just a bit out of place amidst Mother Nature’s bounty. Just a wreath of flowers and a short veil on her head, flat shoes on her feet, and nothing to distract from her brilliant smile. And yet there are some nice design details that probably looked even better close up (or at least with a better focused camera), such as the layering of the skirt and the contrast fabric used for the sheer sleeves.

But that’s my opinion. What’s yours?

The Thing About Bridal Sizing

Tuesday, July 24th, 2012

There’s one aspect of shopping for a wedding gown and bridesmaid’s dresses that horrifies an awful lot of women: the size tags in the dresses.

So let’s talk about that.

I’m guessing every woman reading this blog has at some time or another taken a piece of clothing in her usual size into a dressing room only to discover that it doesn’t fit correctly. Depending on the general cut and the vagaries of non-standardized size charts, you may find yourself unable to pull those pants over your thighs, let alone any higher! Or you may slip on that dress only to discover you could slip two of you into it.

Well, for some reason unexplained to the world, the sizing in bridal runs smaller than average… a lot smaller. As in two to three sizes smaller than the same size in an average line of clothing.

Wool You Marry Me?

Thursday, July 19th, 2012

If you’ve been reading this blog for more than two minutes, you know I’m a huge fan of DIY for weddings. Choose your projects carefully, give yourself plenty of time, and it’s possible to save big as well as add uniquely personal dash to your big event.

The lady shown above is an excellent example of How It’s Done Properly.

When Ash Pears asked lady love Lydia Taylor to marry him, she did try on some commercially made wedding gowns… but only for inspiration. She designed and made her own gown. In point of fact, she knitted it.

Watching as much bridal reality as I do, I know well that moment when the bride walks into a bridal salon and announces she has only two grand to plonk down on her wedding gown and accessories. They do their best not to react, but you can always see a flash of worry and an involuntary breath taken in on the part of the consultant. Bridal runs to big bucks.

But Taylor’s elegant knitted frock set her back less than two hundred pounds and needed no alterations, since it was made to measure.

Between knitting her gown, finding reception plates at garage sales and thrift shops, making her bouquet out of fabric flowers and a vintage brooch or two, creating her own favors by hand (pear shaped pin cushions) and doing her own decorations, Taylor and Pears kept their overall wedding budget down to around five thousand pounds… allowing them enough left over to have an eighteen night honeymoon in Bali and Singapore as well as a down payment on a house to raise a family in.

Would they change anything if they had had more money? Says Taylor:

‘If we had won the National Lottery the only change we would have made is a free bar for our friends.’

Fair enough. I have to say, I love that gown.