Tuesday, July 26, 2016


I've had so many petite brides over the years and have to say one of the most important things for the vertically challenged to remember is scale. If you’re petite and in shape, you can wear just about any gown as long as you scale down to the right proportion. Also thinking vertically (up, up, up) it will be easier to figure out which treatments suit you best. For instance, choose a bodice and neckline that draw the eye up to your décolletage. Here’s some more to consider:
* a gown with a panel or seam(s) running up the front.  The unbroken lines give you height.
*Empire waists are one of your best options considering you go floor length.  You want to keep that 
vertical line going.
* A V or U-neck, it gives the impression of a longer neck.
*A mermaid.  If you’re slim and petite consider this style.  It’s fitted like an evening gown up top and has all the bounce and swirl of a ball gown below.
*An A-line.  Think of it as your very own scaled down version of a ball gown.

*Sheath and evening gown silhouettes, long and columnar; they will flatter you.
* length over volume in your skirt
*Sleeves that are long and straight. 
* Best proportion is a floor length gown with veil or train of the same length. 
*prints and laces as well as any motifs should be scaled down and worn on the upper portions of the body.  Busy designs below the waist  (even small ones) draw all eyes downward. 
*Soft and sheer fabrics like crepe and chiffon that drape to the body.

*any ball gown.  The volume in the skirts will consume you.
*heavy, elaborate fabrics like brocade or any print or design that is large. 
*Wide belts, sashes and cummerbunds interrupt the vertical lines you want to create.  If you do wear a sash or belt go thin (1-1 ½ inches) and as close to the shade of your gown as you can get.
*any design with big puffy sleeves or shoulder pads.
*Any train longer than a sweep.  

Wednesday, July 20, 2016


Alexandra Wallace Photography via Bride Chic 

Whether worn in a continuous circlet or sprinkled through your hair, flowers are a hot trend still burning like wildfire in the bridal fashion arena.   Florals and floral wreaths aren't new to complimenting bridal wear.  Queen Victoria wore a wreath of orange blossoms with a veil of Honiton lace back in the 19th Century when she married Prince Albert. In the 1920s, brides wore a wreath of florals and long flowing veils with shorter dresses.  The trending wave we're seeing now for these spectacular floral accents may have to do with how beautifully this topping-it-all-off accessory goes with Boho as well as styles reminiscent of the 20s-30s era.  Below you'll more than a few options for donning flowers on your wedding day

Ashlee Crowden Photography via Bride Chic
Lynette Weber Photography via Bride Chic
  Alexandra Wallace of AW Photography via Bride Chic

Monday, July 18, 2016


 Thinking about going green on your wedding day? First off, the Green definition is changing all the time. Going Green can mean many things . . . . . . ..wearing a dress in natural fibers: organic cotton, wool, linen, silk, and of course, hemp. It helps to have a knowledge of the natural dying process and thinking through what impact toxic dyes might have on the environment. Here are some questions to ask: Is that silk I love really its natural color? If it is tinted, was it done with non-toxic dye? Is that snow white silk taffeta chlorined? And was that cotton grown free of pesticides?  So where do you start if you're seriously pondering green-friendly alternatives on your wedding day and still want to look like a bride? It's a loaded question so we'll begin with what makes for an eco-friendly fiber.

1. Production of fabric follows fair trade practices (read: no prison contracted or sweat-shop labor involved)
2. Free or low on chemicals and pesticides
3. Eco-conscious land management practices
4. Sustainable farming
5. Animal friendly practices
                                                       OPTION #1 GO WITH DESIGNERS WHO USE SUSTAINABLE FABRICS Truth is, most designer/manufacturers have wised up of late reserving a portion of their collection for eco-conscious designs. The dress I created above was made out of  fair trade hand-woven silk. This means the fabric is hand-woven abroad (in this case Thailand) in small villages on old looms. There's a fair trade price paid out to weavers for their handwork. The sale of these fabrics in turn gives the needed additional income for the villages. Imagine this: no dye, no bleach equals sustainable. True, you'll find some slubs in the fabric (normal). Each piece varies, has its own character. This gown called, Flora is very basic, the perfect candidate for customizing with sashes and florals. 

OPTION#2  WEAR A PRE-OWNED GOWN You can either go to a gown site like Tradesy and order online or visit a consignment bridal shop. Now if the word 'consignment' conjures images of Maria Shriver's atrosity hanging amid other like models full of the usual 1980s pouf and paste, perish that thought. Most dresses in these places are actually cutting edge and stepping into one is more like going to high-end designer salon. Emerald City Gowns in Berkeley, California offers elegant, gently worn gowns in better shape than your average designer sample. In fact, the proprietors of these places can get real persnickety about what they take in—some only accepting top designer names in all natural fibers. In addition, once gowns are accepted they’re cleaned and pressed (Ask where though. More shops are specializing in environmentally safe cleaning). If you’re price conscious this is the place to shop. Gowns that retailed last season for $4000-5000 are typically half off but sometimes can go for as little as $800-900. More good news. You’re going to get very personalized assistance—the same as in a full service bridal salon. Though there will be re-altering involved, you won’t have to wait 4-6 months for your gown. Bear in mind once-worn gowns have already been pre-fit and altered to someone else’s body. Just make sure they’re once-worn; an over altered dress that’s been on more than one body could lose its original shape after a while. Ask how many and what kind of alterations the gown you want has had. Typically, if it’s gone through more than two brides, forget it. In addition to alterations your shop may offer customizing services (for a fee). Shops realize with previously-worn gowns, there’s a kind of possessive energy the new purchaser wants to create to make the gown her own. Therefore some shops focus on customizing. FYI: Naturally bridal consignment shops don’t stock set sizes like salons do. Small and larger brides might have to work closely with staff and keep a lookout locating a gown in their size. 
The dress and veil above are both authentic vintage--veil circa 1930s and dress, 60s.  Photo by Rob Marsden
OPTION #3 GO VINTAGE Here's another recycling option. You can draw inspiration for your gown and veil by borrowing concepts from ages past and fitting yourself into an actual vintage original. While these pieces are probably in a museum or private collection now there are rare finds out there similar. Check out Vintage textiles.com. Here you'll find an entire site devoted to collecting clothing from times past. If you're flirting with the idea of doing vintage and wearing that dress from your favorite era, here's the lowdown: Many vintage clothing stores stock actual gowns from by-gone eras as well as ‘retro-inspired’ selections that are brand new. The bride in love with a particular era of clothing usually checks vintage clothing stores first. Not all opt for an actual gown that survived her favorite era though. Some go for a newer style reflecting the period in natural, sustainable fibers. Why? Because that authentic 1916 Shiffli lace blouse may be so delicate, without proper restoration it could literally fall apart on you. Think of gowns belonging to the ages like you would certain antiques: some so precious to be considered museum quality. Depending on restoration, the rule of thumb is, the older the gown the less they should be worn. If you are set on wearing that 1910 dress find a specialist in restoration who can advise. At this point you may have to decide whether or not going green or wearing a repro Art Deco (possibly in synthetic or made in overseas sweatshops) is the more important. 
A custom gown I made from an array of upcycled laces//Photo by Ryan Chua

OPTION #4 GO CUSTOM Here you'll have complete leeway selecting any sustainable fabric your heart desires. So what defines a custom gown? It's made from scratch and will require more fittings than gowns ordered through a salon so you'll need to be open to the experience of watching your gown develop from the ground up. In addition, a custom designer or skilled seamstress puts many hours and a high level of craftsmanship into the creation of a custom gown. Working with fragile white fabric and delicate lace is an art form. Figure any custom gown crafted by a designer usually takes four to six months to complete from a listing of your measurements. As I mentioned above, the design process involved with a custom gown is more of a direct collaboration between you, so you'll have more input with decisions not only regarding fabric but silhouette and style. Custom gowns are typically 80-90% handmade. This means machines do some work like the side seams, cross seams, etc. There are however stitches on these one-of-a-kind gowns only expert handwork can touch in order to produce that exquisite finish. Since more brides are going custom or buying wedding wear in green-alternative boutiques, there's not only a need to know what materials go into the making of a dress but also who is making the piece and where. As one bride put it, "I couldn't stand up and make such an important commitment, knowing any part of what I was wearing might have been put
Above: Me in The GRETEL Dress, a custom collection piece created out of a hunk of cotton eyelet  my mother gave me.

OPTION 5: UPCYCLE Have a cut of great fabric just sitting in that trunk?  Love that sexy corset but can' t figure out what to do with it?..Trending and really catching fire are upcycled wedding and bridesmaid dresses. Thrift stores and flea markets are just two sourcing grounds for the designers who create these free form pieces--one of a kind dresses you just can't find anywhere else, making treasure from someone's cast off fabrics, trims and laces. Brides who wear these gems are pretty unique themselves, searching online for something different, playful, daring, sweet and sexy all at once. You'll be surprised to find salvage chic surprisingly affordable. The fabrics and trims have been rescued and any additions are usually inexpensive. Construction is more free than say a couture dress that requires hours of painstaking detail in the finest materials. Raw edges, as well as an overall tattered appearance are not only acceptable on upcycled garments but sometimes an integral part of the design. 

Tuesday, July 12, 2016


I have a few sample dresses to share with those brides-to-be out there looking for a dress pronto (like next week) or considerably marked down from the original price.  These lovlies range from the more Dioresque styles to Boho.  Not to worry for those of you who want one of these dresses--The sample may be gone soon but the design can always be created . . . .
The MADELYN Dress.  A little something in blush? How about a tea-dyed tulle and Chantilly lace hourglass dress with a square neckline. The bodice is shirred and pleated with motifs of Chantilly lace underneath and the skirt is five layers of tulle with China silk rose-beige skirt lining. Separate crinoline petticoat.Fits measurements Bust: 34 Waist 25-26 Hip 36-37 Skirt length from waist to hem is 37-38 inches Size 6-8. Ankle length on 5'7 and over with stacked heels. Floor length on shorter figures.Photo by Dominic Colacchio Photography
The GIGI Dress. You can't go wrong with an A-line.  This. ivory embroidered organza gemmie has a shot of ruffled lace underneath. Separate crinoline under slip. A long row of buttons graces the back of this dress.Size 6-8. Because it is a sample I only have one. Fits best on Bust 35-36
Hips 35-37
waist 25-27
Ankle length on 5'7 and over with stacked heels. Floor length on shorter figures
The APRIL Dress. For the Femme Fatale on her wedding day, This embroidered ivory organza ballerina length dress has a full crinoline petticoat and light gray silk/satin tie belt. Sabrina neckline and full skirt make this dress a perfect hourglass silhouette. Linings in silk habotai. Fits measurements Bust: 34 Waist 25-26 Hip 36-37 Skirt length from waist to hem is 35-36 inches// Size 6-8.
Ankle length on 5'7 and over with stacked heels. Floor length on shorter figures//Photo by Stephanie Williams Photography
The VALERIE Dress. Tea Dyed tulle and Chantilly lace hourglass silhouette with V-neckline. Five layers of tulle atop a rosey beige satin underskirt. Lined in China silk. Shantung buttons line the center back. Separate crinoline petticoatSample fits Size 6-8. Because it is a sample I only have one. Fits best on
Bust 34-36
Hips 35-37
waist 25-27
Ankle length on 5'7 and over with stacked heels. Floor length on shorter figures//Photo by Dominic Colacchio Photography

Thursday, July 7, 2016


Going through my special Pinterest boards with stuff that moves as well as inspires me, I just had to share this fabulous shot of a pouf veil by custom designer Harold Clarke from back in the 90s.  Hailing from a decade of pouf and pastie God-awfulness, this jewel proves every era has its creators who produce classics that never go out of style.  Sorry, I don't know who shot this but this designer sure deserves a place in the fashion artist's hall of fame . . . . .

Tuesday, July 5, 2016


Take a look at the black and white stripes, the damask and dots paired up with hot pinks and what do you get?  I'd wager Kate Spade is somewhere on the scene.  This styled shoot by William and Schellie of Six Hearts Photography at the Engine Room in Monroe, Georgia would be great for a big gathering yet the intimacy and originality captured here leaves me imagining the perfect venue for an elopement.  Think about an elopement if you will; it's a private and intimate wedding celebration  usually with just you and your groom though with all the adornments of a wedding including the cake, flowers, and in this shoot, even the sit down dinner.  Kudos to this inventive and highly talented team of wedding pros for creating all this fabulous inspiration . . . .

Photography by Six Hearts Photography
Purse by Kate Spade
Hair and Make Up by Bombshell Creations
Invitations by Wedding Paper Divas
Favors and Gifts by Kate Aspen
Lounge Furniture by Vision Expressions
Models: Nathan Theis and Lauren Taylor of The J Pervis Talent Agency

Monday, July 4, 2016


Fireworks and celebration, there's nothing like an Independence Day Wedding to stir things up.  Shelby and Seth's Farm and City Wedding a couple years back did just that.  Photographed by Todd Frame, this image I think says it all . . . .Have a happy and safe 4th.