Thursday, April 30, 2009


Reinaldo Alverez
No matter how simple or paired down a gown can get, some women just can’t get into wearing a dress even on their wedding day. For this reason, pantsuits are becoming a stylish alternative. Pant legs can vary from slim cigarette widths to wide culotte cuts.

Jacket styles are key to characterizing your suit. Do you want the more open and romantic look of a 3/4 length coat or do you feel more comfortable in a man-tailored jacket? Below are some of your options.

Tailored Jacket-The classic. Either single or double-breasted, the tailored jacket ends just below the derriere and can have a notched or shawl lapel or no lapel at all.

Dressmaker Jacket-Shorter than the tailored jacket, this cut ends at the hip line and can be single or double-breasted. Like the tailored jacket, it has the same collar treatments. Tailoring usually has softer lines.
Nehru, Mandarin or Cossack Jacket—All are ethnic inspired. All have high turtleneck style collar. Typically tunic-length, each has its own ethnicity distinguished by trim or the fabric used to create it. For instance, Mandarin jackets are usually made out of brocade. The Cossack is made out of any type wool and has a row of trim around the collar, extending down the side front of the jacket.
Three-Quarter Length Jacket-Longer than the tailored jacket, this cut is usually worn over a straight or A-line style skirt. We're seeing more lately though paired with pants.
Eisenhower-Popularized by the General during WWII, this jacket crops at the waist and is typically double breasted. Eisenhower jackets had a revival period during the mid-70s and have continued to be a fashionable alternative. Usually wore with high waisted stove-pipe pants.
Bolero-A shorter jacket that crops above the waistline. Has curved front corners and no buttons

Christina Creations

Christina Creations


Accessorizing your pantsuit with a bridal touch is one of the ways you can customize it for a wedding. Everyday buttons on a jacket for instance can be replaced with fabric covered or jeweled ones. Your jacket can also have couture techniques such as hand-bound buttonholes. Shorter veils like cages or poufs of netting go great with pantsuits. If you’re not the veil type, consider a hat or headpiece that compliments. Hats and suits go together, especially a hat with some kind of veiling over the eyes. It takes the place of a blusher and offers a certain sophistication to being veiled rather than that symbolic ‘being given away’ business.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009


Pictured above and below are kiddie icons of the 1930s, Shirley Temple and the Royal Princesses of England, Elizabeth and Margaret Rose. Back then the press doted on Shirley with her dimples and blonde ringlets. She's the only kid I ever knew who got away with tap dancing across a banquet table and on top of a grand piano (see Curly Top 1934). Her dresses were adorable, ruffly little things just covering her bottom with matching panties.

I've finally a found a kid's source devoted to the simplicity and comfort of 1930s kids frocks. If you love the styles below, check out Grammie's Attic. The owner recalls one grammie "Fondly remembered dressing her own daughter in delicate little embroidered diaper shirts, no longer available in retail stores. I finally tracked down a dozen of them, along with some sweet little dresses, from an estate sale. Worn in the 1930s, they had been carefully laid away in grammie's attic to await future generations.I've always loved fine linens and was thoroughly smitten by these handmade garments and their lovely fabrics, exquisite embroidery, and careful craftsmanship. I continued to collect and restore these little treasures, adding bibs, bonnets, and baby linens, until my new hobby evolved into this web store. I'm very excited to see a whole new generation of babies wearing these special things! I love to see babies dressed like babies instead of mini-adults."


Retro-inspired, these little frocks breathe. The thing I like most about this web store is the fabrics. I don't like watching an uncomfortable child pulling and tugging at tight or heavy clothes with the scratchy inner structures like crinoline and weighty taffeta linings. Grammie's Attic has simple styles in fabrics like silk, linen and cotton.

The Shirley Temple Sailor Dress

Tuesday, April 28, 2009


After devoting so much time and energy to women's bridal fashion, it's time to address the grooms. Okay guys--Men's formal wear is as fascinating a subject as the men who set the trends. While women's design has always set fashion, men's dress set the standard. That's right. Your fiance's tie still dictates the formality of your wedding or lack thereof. Black or white tie determines just how formal an affair you're going to have. And though men's formal wear has been restricted to black, white and shades of gray for the better part of two hundred years, lately all that's changing. Like brides, grooms are breaking the traditional ticket to the once regulated arena of formal wear adding accents via pocket silks, tie, and even shoes. At present companies like Selix are even offering renditions of vintage zoot suits and other alternative dressing options for the groom.

From whence and where did that traditional tie and tails originate? And the tux? Did Lord So and So really back his butt up too far against the fireplace and burn up his tails hence giving birth to the tuxedo? Sorry folks, that one's a big myth. The tux was born out of the Victorian era's hunting jacket. Yes, once it was toned down in velvet from the classic tweed for indoor drinking and shooting billiards with the rest of the gents, it became known as the the smoking or lounge jacket. source
Looking at the elegance of Fred Astaire all decked out in top hat white tie and tails, you'd never suspect the origins of his chic derived from eighteenth century hunt regalia. But look closely, doesn't his waistcoat look like something a gentleman from the early 1800s would ride to hunt? Think red and beige and you'll realize that's exactly where it evolved from. Cut at the waist and spanning the front, the tails fall only from the back. On today's versions, the overcoat is still typically black and can be single or double breasted. A white pique shirt and white vest are worn underneath with white bow tie. White gloves and a pocket silk or boutonnière really complete an appearance. And what about the top hat? Chances are your groom won't wear one like his great grandfather, had he gone in for a formal to-do back in 1931. Once standard for evening and formal wear, top hats were actually early precursors to the crash helmet, again created by the English riding gentry. Today we see remnants of the top hat in traditional riding costume. Both men and women sport scaled down versions, lower in the crown of course.

H.R.H. The Duke of Windsor

The Duke of Windsor--aka Edward VIII who abdicated the throne--traded his birthright eventually becoming the foremost leader of men's fashion during the 20th century. As Prince of Wales in the 1920s-30s, he broke the fashion norms of the day, freeing men from the 'starched' look of earlier generations. Diana Vreeland, former editor of Vogue, when asked about the Duke of Windsor: ''Did he have style?'' came up with this answer: ''The Duke of Windsor had style in every buckle on his kilt, every check of his country suits.''

The Duke's personal wardrobe which spanned 60 years was auctioned off ten years ago at Southby's. He never lost his svelte physique thus was a something of a pack rat never throwing anything out.

Above: The Duke's dark grey worsted 3-piece morning suit. Jacket and DB waistcoat by Scholte of London, marked 9.6.31 Trousers by Forster & Son marked 10.6.31

Below: A midnight blue worsted formal evening dress suit, 1937. Jacket by Scholte of London, trousers by Forster & Son. The Duke preferred his evening suits cut from midnight navy wool instead of black. The details in a navy suit, he reasoned, registered more crisply in strobe-light photographs


The morning coat and trousers worn to the Duke's wedding, with a different waistcoat. Jacket by Scholte is a herringbone cashmere weave and is marked H.M. The King, 25.1.36. Waistcoat matches the jacket and marked same. The morning trousers are by Forster & Son and marked 9.6.32

Once the dinner jacket (tux) replaced tails H.R.H went on to introduce comfortable fabrics like silks, cashmeres and mohair. Turned down collars replaced the wing. By the mid-1930s not just the Duke but all men had the option of dressing for comfort. Thus, in an era of the visual, films cranked out by the hundreds became moving fashion catalogs. Variations on the tux evolved. Who can forget Humphrey Bogart as night club owner, Rick in Casablanca? Worn like a uniform, he's synonymous with that white dinner jacket and rarely seen in the movie wearing much else (except a trench coat in the final scenes on a fog swept runway). By the 1950s the white dinner jacket was a summer classic for evening wear and weddings.

There were some interesting variations on the tux and tails that never made it into classic or accepted 20th century formal wear but are stamped into fashion history nonetheless. If The Duke of Windsor set traditional men's fashion in the 20th century, I like to imagine Cab Calloway the way for radical chic. No, you couldn't have worn this all white tie and tails to a serious event like a night at the opera or diplomatic reception. The Cotton Club? Yes. Especially if you were a performer and Cab performed like no one else. Fast forward seventy years and it isn't uncommon for a groom to sport the above ensemble for full formal regalia. Thanks Cab . . . .

Below are some favorites from Selix . First image is Oscar de la Renta's 2009 rendition of Cab's original white. The classic white dinner jacket is still a favorite and the unusual zoot suit is also making a comeback.

It’s never been easier. Just point and click. Since most formal wear rentals are connected to nationwide chains, this means your groom can go online to register and shop for the look you want right on your computer. He enters his choice, clicks the store nearest you and they have all his information in their system within seconds. Then whenever he's ready, he goes in and gets measured. Ideally he should do this 3-5 months before the wedding. A couple days before the wedding is when the suit gets picked up. This is when minor alterations are taken if any are needed like pant legs taken up or jacket hem adjusted. Groomsmen follow the same procedure. But suppose his guys are scattered as far and wide as San Diego and Atlantic City? Not a problem. Since he's probably dealing with a nationwide chain, they can go to the nearest store and have their measurements taken. No store nearby? Again, not a problem. They get themselves professionally measured and fax or email those measurements into the store. A word here about taking measurements. Have your guy's groomsman find a professional tailor or pay a finer men’s store to do it. Having a friend or relative do it is not okay. Precision and experience is the key to fitting men’s wear.

Below are a few formal wear resources to get you and your groom started.


Check out this great over blouse and skirt by Siri. Most akin to 1950s detail here is the sheer blouse over a strapless bodice. We're seeing more of this design reinvented lately. It was once the hot look in bridal circa the early 50s. Brides wanted it both ways: to be demure and a hint of sexy at the same time . . .

The pouf or cage veil has many variations these days. This one is a hint net with chenille dots.

Monday, April 27, 2009


Just how much does the world of ballet influence bridal? A lot. Traditional ballet costume evolved in the era of the Johann Strass', a young Queen Victoria, and Giselle, an 1840s ballet by Aldophe Adam. Think classic corps de ballet in long white tulle and floral wreath. The 'Willis'--brides to be who had the bad luck to die on the eve of their wedding--wore this exact ensemble in Giselle. Also reflecting the silhouette of the ballet costume as we know it, Queen Victoria clinched the look when she married Prince Albert wearing yards of white lace and dressing her flock of attendants accordingly.

Stephanie James Couture
The most classic ballet-inspired silhouette is a ball gown, sometimes an A-line. Typically a tiny waist sits a top a full gathered skirt.
RS Couture
The ball gown is an hourglass and remains the most dramatic of all bridal The ball gown is an hourglass and remains the most dramatic of all bridal silhouettes. It is as romantic a confection as those seen in the corps de ballet, flowing in swirls of white tulle. The skirt and its under structure are both based on volume. Thus, sweeping skirts equal sweeping entrances especially awesome on brides who know how to work their strut.
Regardless of its formality, a ball gown seems to have flex when it comes to showing up anywhere and looking beautiful. While they go great in all the splendor of a full-blown cathedral ceremony, imagine an outdoor garden wedding where nature, big and diverse as a thousand cathedrals can be the perfect sanctuary.
Tall, slim brides carry this silhouette off best. Also if you’re medium to tall and pear shaped, you’ll benefit from the uber-volume in the skirts that camouflage your every imperfection from the waist down. Petite brides who want some gown drama might be better off going with the more modified A-line since the mass of a ball gown skirt will swallow you up.

Variations of the Ball Gown

Bouffant or Hourglass
-Fitted bodice with cinched natural or dropped waist atop gathered or pleated full skirt.
Bubble-Bouffant shaped skirt swelling out of a cinched natural or dropped waist. Skirt curves in a balloon like shape at the hemline.
Petal-Very structured over skirt. Imagine a fuchsia. A cinched natural or dropped waist sitting atop a full skirt with curving under structure that slits open in the front. Sometimes shows a bit.

RS Couture

An A-line cut is a more modified form of hourglass, bringing with it refinement and understatement. Fitted through the bodice, the A-line can have a slight to moderate flair in the skirt. Dubbed by fashionistas as “The Deb Dress” it’s been one of the most popular silhouettes for the reason it flatters just about every figure type.

La Sposa
Head chic that instantly comes to mind for ballet-inspired bridal is either the floral wreath or modified cloche cap of white feathers emulating The Swan Queen in Swan Lake. A tiara or single floral(s) attached to a bun is also considered a classic ballet touch.


La Sposa

Olga D’Gallegos

Sunday, April 26, 2009



Working with a lot of classy, creative people stokes me. I have to thank two very talented photographers, Shelah and Robin of Sweet Light Studios in San Francisco for shooting my gowns and headpieces with such an eye for that vintage feeling I like to create. Pictured here are model Elle W and I during our Friday shoot. She's in one of my new headpieces, a pancake/cocktail hat with a pouf of tulle that totally rocks with this classic Chantilly lace and silk dupioni gown. I get loads of comments from brides as well as fashion folks whenever I post alternatives to the traditional veil, including the birdcage or a net pouf like this one.

If you like the look of Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany's stick around. Up and coming I'll have an article on Savvy Scoop all about wedding day hair, including a few pics from this shoot highlighting some of the most beautiful hair jewelry offered by hair stylist/makeup artist, Christal Saville.
Here, Elle's Golightlyesque hair makes my gown look very Givenchy, n'est pas?

Saturday, April 25, 2009


Another idea for trashing the dress, this photo is titled, Bride on a Budget. Natalie Angela proves here you don't have to plunge into water or roll around in the grass to trash. A Juliet Nicole photo, with the amazing talent of Alaina Garcia and Makeup by Mina.

Friday, April 24, 2009


From left: Monique Lhuillier, Carolina Herrera, Oscar de la Renta
2010. I know it sounds pretty futuristic but it's the reality we're looking right at. Actually, Spring 2010 looks a bit like Back to the Future. Designers are time traveling through the 2oth century reviving trends that never made it past the gates of that once very regulated bridal scene. We're seeing still more color and interesting textures this season. Oscar de la Renta has brought out a stunning collection in optical whites. Showing short, chic cocktail dresses paired up with gloves and big white pouf cocktail hats, they’re reminiscent of mid-1940s film noir. In fact, most of Oscar de la Renta's gowns are accessorized with these festive hybrid hat/headpieces. Even the pantsuit toward the end of his show had one.


Thursday, April 23, 2009


inspiration board for B

Knowing how I love the 1950s, how could I not share this board? In fact this board is where I found Whirling Turban, a site devoted to Pin-Up style coutre. What I respect so much about the folks here is they post their client's dresses under construction (though they do look finished, don't they?). Customers can see their work in progress. This is a great place to check out if you're considering an alternative and/or smaller wedding with a theme.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009


Imagine either of these confections sitting on top a full tulle skirt? Or how about over a long, sleek satin?. Separates are an option I like. Something you can actually wear after the wedding. Whether you're the bride, bridesmaid or guest, admit it, you'd have no problem pairing these sweet little corsets with jeans. Great for summer evenings out and gala events.

Victoria's Secret