So are both of these.
Rosa Clara’s latest line features a slew of gowns that are mostly strapless with sheer boleros on top. BASILEA is unique in that it features spaghetti straps and a more imaginative jacket with French cuffs.
Me? I LOVE this one. I like the clever nods to a man’s formal shirt combined with lacy, feminine details. I also rather love the elegant wedding dress yet stripped down ballgown underneath. And the pockets? Make me smile. I love pockets.
What say all of you? LOVE it? HATE it? Something in between?]]>
There’s nothing like a winter wedding. Snow (if you live in an area where it’s common) makes a pretty backdrop for a wedding. And since winter is a far less popular time of the year to marry than spring or summer, it’s quite possible to get extra good deals on halls, catering, and flowers. And with all the decorative items on sale for Christmas, Hanukkah, New Year’s Eve, etc. it’s easy to get all kinds of pretty sparkly things to make your day beautiful on a budget.
Of course, there are some practical issues to consider, too. Weather is more likely to be stormy. One unexpectedly heavy fall of snow could spell the difference between a full house and lots of empty pews at your ceremony. Since many people travel for the holidays at this time of year, it’s also possible that you’ll wind up with less guests than you’d hoped due to family obligations or used up vacations days that won’t allow people to come out your way.
Once you’ve looked over the pros and cons and decided to set your wedding in the winter months, here are a few ideas to make it extra pretty and seasonally suitable.
If you’ve found love in a cold climate, chances are you’ll want a pretty jacket, coat, cloak, sweater, or shawl. Even with the slow but steady return of sleeves to bridal couture, the fact is most wedding gowns are not designed to keep you warm in the great outdoors. This is festivewear, not survivalwear. Even if you only need it for getting from the limo to your wedding site and perhaps a few pre-ceremony photographs, it’s a good idea to have something that will keep you from turning into your something blue.
Looking for bridesmaids’ gifts? Matching shawls or sweaters would make a pretty and practical idea.
For your feet? Maybe pretty Victorian boots would be a good idea to keep feet both attractive and dry.
Go with the season!
Remember that there are less flowers in season during the winter months. That means that using a lot of bright flowers will cost more than it might in another time of year. So choose what’s in season to make your bouquets, centerpieces, boutonnieres, and corsages. Use a variety of pretty evergreen sprigs like in the bouquet shown, decorate tables with poinsettias or tiny living evergreen trees, or go blatantly and fabulously fake with sparkly brooches or festive pinwheels.
And don’t forget the season when picking your menu! Looking for a good signature cocktail? Try a mulled wine or eggnog. Consider gingerbread for your wedding cake. Want a delicious, popular, and satisfying main dish? Think about lasagna, roast beef and mashed potatoes, or a mac and cheese bar.
Don’t ignore the obvious decorations!
If you’re planning a wedding for next winter, I would heartily recommend hitting the stores for the post-Christmas ornament sales. Bowls of Christmas balls filling a glass bowl would make great centerpieces for your wedding. Strings of lights will make your hall all the prettier. Wired ribbon can be lovely tied in bows on pews. Linens in rich colors will also be on sale in preparation for the lighter spring colors coming soon.
As I said before, winter weddings can be lovely in a very special way. They warm our hearts in the cold months, and give us one more reason to celebrate. So use your imagination to bring the best of the season to your wedding day. Everyone – including you! – will be glad you did.]]>
Going shopping for a wedding gown can be an intimidating and confusing process to start. After all, how many of us have tried on a formal gown since Prom? A tiny minority, that’s how many. And then so many women go in with a Vision – complete with a capital Vis – that may or may not have anything to do with the shapes of their bodies, or their usual style.
So how to figure out before you get to the salon with an hour long appointment that maybe mermaid isn’t your best look? Or that ballgowns drown you? Or that strapless does precisely nada for your bosom?
Well, one thing you can do is go to the Bride’s website and check out their virtual dressing room tool. It’s free to use, and can give you good idea of how different sorts of wedding gown styles are likely to look on you. You simply upload a photo of yourself (tips included on how to best do that for the tool), and use over four hundred photos of real wedding gowns to see what your best and worst bets are. Save the pics of the best and worst looks for easy reference. Oh, and one feature I really loved? It tells you whether the gown you’re looking at is available in plus sizes or not. But even if you fall in love with a gown that doesn’t come in your size, chances are someone out there makes one in a similar line that will fit you.
Don’t feel like handing over your email? That’s okay. They also have a series of generic pictures that you can use. Pick the one closest to your body shape, and you’ll still get some valuable winnowing done. You can’t save those photos for later reference, but you can always take another look.
Obviously there’s no substitute for actually seeing gowns on your specific body in real life. No matter how good the program is, it won’t be the same as a three-dimensional, moving, breathing experience. Still, it’s a handy tool to start with if you’re confused about what is going to look good on your figure.
And do try a bit of everything. You never know what surprisingly good look there might be for you.
Besides, if one of the experiments looks bad, who’s going to see it? Just you. Isn’t that better than you and the salon consultant and your entourage?
Yeah, that’s what I thought, too.]]>
In fact, I knew precisely where I had seen it before.
That’s right, it’s a very slightly reworked version of the wedding gown Austin used as the big finale of his collection for Project Runway All Stars season 1!
Clever lad! I always said he was one of the most resourceful and imaginative designers ever to grace the Project Runway stage. He may have ended up the bridesmaid twice now, but his career was the first one of all the designers ever to appear on that show not to be captioned with the fact he was a reality show contestant.
And yes, when I saw this gown I said straight off the bat that he could sell the look like pancakes. Here’s hoping he does!]]>
An article by Sandy Malone was published by HuffPo the other day. In it, she tells the harrowing story of a client of her wedding planning service and what happened to her when she went shopping at an unnamed bridal salon in Waltham, Mass.
According to Malone, the bride informed the salon of her size (though I have to say I’m puzzled as to why an ‘average sized’ woman should have to do that) and was told it would be ‘no problem.’ I should certainly hope there would be no problem fitting an average sized woman in a reasonably well-stocked bridal salon. And while samples rarely fit brides precisely, there certainly ought to be a few gowns in a size close enough that a woman can try some things on to get a general idea of how they might look on her.
Apparently, this was not the case.
It seems that what the salon did instead of putting an ill-fitting dress on the bride and asking her to use her imagination as to how it will look when it is properly fitted, the consultant took the gown and began pinning it to the bride’s undergarments in front… in a tiny room with mirrors on three sides and only a flimsy curtain on the fourth wall. This process, apparently, is called ‘paper dolling.’ To add insult to injury, when the bride’s friends wanted to see what the consultants were oohing and ahing over in that tiny cubicle, one of them simply threw open the curtain, exposing the bride’s panty-clad backside to all and sundry without warning.
The bride, of course, was pretty traumatized by this experience, as would be any right-thinking person. Paper dolling sounds pretty useless. After all, a dress needs to be seen in three dimensions to get the full effect, and wedding gowns in particular need to be seen from the back, because during the ceremony, chances are that’s what your friends and family will be seeing the most of. Most bridal couples do stand facing the officiant who faces the witnesses.
On top of that, the sudden and completely insensitive near-indecent exposure of the bride was appalling. You ask first whether the bride wishes to show off the dress she’s trying on, and if it’s not actually on her, this is an extra vital step.
Malone winds up the article with a warning to all brides to shun this pernicious practice, which is excellent advice. I, too, would counsel brides not to allow a salon to ‘paper doll’ them into a dress.
But here’s the interesting thing. When I googled the term and several variations on it… I got only Malone’s original article from two days ago, and a whole lot of articles about making or collecting actual paper dolls. Is this one shop in Waltham the one place in the world that does this? Is there another reason the term might not get a lot of hits in bridal terms?
Has anyone out there heard about this anywhere else? Known someone subjected to it? Survived the experience themselves?
Curiouser and curiouser.]]>
This is the late Amy Winehouse on her wedding day. Note the anchor printed cotton sundress she wore.
It’s been stolen.
That and a Moschino newsprint cocktail dress she wore in an appearance on the Jools Holland show were both stolen from the late singer’s Camden home.
How low does one have to stoop in order to steal a dead woman’s wedding gown?
To make matters worse, the wedding dress was scheduled to be auctioned off in New York next month to raise money for the Amy Winehouse Foundation. It was expected to sell for pretty big bucks, too, considering its purpose in Winehouse’s life.
To whomever did this: shame on you! You’ve just taken away a lot of funding from a charity to help people overcome addiction. And always remember: karma runs over dogmas.]]>
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?]]>
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.
Statement Headpieces. The bridal runways had lots of drama up top with headpieces like this one from Reem Acra featuring bandeaux, or large fascinators. If you love a great headpiece, this is going to be the season for you.
Illusions. While there’s still plenty of strapless being shown, more and more gowns are featuring straps, sleeves, and illusion overlays, like this gorgeous gown from Lazaro. Whether decorated in lace, jewels, sequins, or left plain, illusion is a big story right now in bridal.
Soft/subtle color. After a couple seasons where designers vied for stronger and stronger colors, this soft moss green gown by Claire Pettibone was one of the strongest colored on the runways. Even Vera Wang showed all white this time. But fear not, colorful gals! For those who like a dash of color, it’s still to be found in more subtle hues and smaller dashes. Most of the color was in the pastel range and limited to either a bit of embroidery, a belt or sash. All the same, color is not going away anytime soon.
Lace Overlays. As illustrated by this gown from Alfred Angelo’s new Disney collection, lace is on top as bridal gown decoration.
The great thing, though, is that there is plenty of variety being shown. Long and short, mermaid and ballgown, strapless to long sleeves, ruffled or sleek, even prints! If you’ve been dreaming of it in a wedding gown, chances are somebody showed it.
And as I like to say, trends aren’t orders. If you don’t love what’s in the salons, seek alternatives. Find the gown of your dreams and wear it with joy.
That’s how to be a beautiful bride.]]>
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’s.com:
As for DSW, they’ll come out with a line of shoes based on the theme, too.]]>
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.]]>