Monday, January 30, 2017


The backdrop for this styled shoot put together by a group of super talented San Francisco Bay Area wedding pros is simply drop dead gorgeous!  Point Reyes National Seashore boasts a rustic coast and  shoreline that has to be seen to be believed.  Captured beautifully by These Decisive Moments, this series of images is a treasure trove of pure art.  Kudos to MaKenna Stevens of Perfectly Planned Moments et all for these very special wedding touches.  Here's what MaKenna had to say about coordinating this fascinating project into reality: 'As a wedding planner I wanted to showcase my vision for a wedding through a styled shoot that harnesses the talent of various friends in the wedding industry  It was wonderful to work with these people to create and capture our artwork . . . . "

Photographer:  These Decisive Moments//Event Planner: Perfectly Planned Moments//Signage: ChalkWhimsy//Model:Joseph Wiebe//Model:Julia Nichols//Floral Designer: Newark Flower Shoppe//Bakery: U Had Me At Cake//Submitted via Two Bright Lights

Monday, January 23, 2017


Lately I've been using Alencon lace for some pieces in the collection.  Typically my dresses reflect light airy laces like Chantilly and Peau d'ange, proffering a 'fly away like an angel' effect.  Alencon (pictured above) has more of a crusted or three-dimensional quality ideal for more sophisticated designs.  This new gemmie I'm calling, Corey
Mixing two very diverse laces enhances Corey's look here.  I added a cotton cut work lace bolero over the intricately beaded Alencon lace bustier.  Don't ask me why this juxtapose works but it does. The skirt is yards of white tulle lined in silk Shantung. Absolutely love the workmanship and elan this ensemble gives off . . . .

Wednesday, January 18, 2017


This gem of a hat and gown called FLEUR sprung from my love of the idea of the cocktail wedding--an intimate afternoon gathering in a lounge or art gallery with a city chic aspect. The dress is formal length with a brush train out of soft crepe back satin/charmeuse. The halter bodice is Chantilly lace cinched with a cummerbund with pearl buttons up the front. White, ivory or candlelight (shown). Matching hat available

Tuesday, January 17, 2017


From a designer’s point of view, sleeves can be one of the most creative components of a gown. For me, a well-designed sleeve is a work of art; it combines fabric and adornment into the overall image of the gown. I also think sleeves are the most satisfying part of a gown to work on—the actual stitching, manipulation of fabric and trim—the real character of the gown. There are probably more variations of sleeve than any other component and once you’ve decided to go with sleeves realize your possibilities are never-ending.

Besides looking beautiful, the right sleeves can add bodice appeal as well as keep your skirt or sloping shoulders in proportion. Although not foremost, keeping arms warm could be another option for wearing sleeves. Once upon a time etiquette dictated the length sleeve you could wear during winter months or time of day you got married. Fortunately these restrictions were lifted long ago. Nowadays, you can go for long sleeves in summer, short caps in winter if that’s your desire. Be realistic though. Just make sure you have a decent wrap or stole in New York for your December wedding. As for long sleeves next July in Palm Springs, go for them. Ever since Vera Wang popularized the detachable sleeve that ties and unties from your gown’s bodice, brides still opt for them.

When choosing a sleeve, think of them in terms having their very own silhouette within the outline of your gown as a whole. Because of the vast variation there is on sleeves, I’ve listed only the basic sleeve silhouettes from which many other styles derive.   
Above: Gauntlets on The ROCHELLE Dress

Cap: Tiny sleeves that barely cover the upper portion of the arm.  
Flounce or Flutter: Usually cut on the bias this resembles an open bell sleeve with a hem falling diagonally, sometimes falling into a deep-V back.
Puffed: Short sleeve gathered at the armhole into a puffy top.  The cuff is also puffed giving a ballooned shape 
Petal or Tulip: curved ar hem and overlapping to give a petal-shape.  Aka a tulip      
Short: Longer than a cap sleeve, you will find examples of these on t-shirts
Three Quarter: Hemmed at the upper forearm
Long: Set in and fitted sleeve extending from shoulder to wrist, offering the classic bridal look
Bell: Set in smoothly at the armhole, flaring to a straight across hem
Bishop: Long, full sleeve set in smoothly to the armhole, gathered at the wrist.  Always is fuller at the wrist than
Juliet: A long, fitted sleeve with a puffed shoulder.
et: A long, fitted sleeve that is put on separately like a glove and not attached to the bodice or dress in any way
Dolman or Batwing: A set in sleeve tapering from an oversized armhole, fitted closely at the wrist.  Seen in many dresses harking back to the late 1930s.
Leg of Mutton: Wide and puffed at the upper arm, narrowing from elbow to wrist

Clockwise: Photo 1--Long and fitted sleeves of Chantilly lace//Photos 2&3--Three Quarter sleeves with a flounce//Following Page: Shirred gauntlet sleeves.
Header Photo; Flutter sleeves on the COSETTE Dress//Above Clockwise: Photo 1--Long and fitted sleeves of Chantilly lace//Photos 2&3--Three Quarter sleeves with a flounce

Monday, January 16, 2017


Below are just a few of the highlights you'll find in Bride Chic's new look book that's out on ISSUU.  I love putting together these look books that are a product of the shoots we do for this blog and for my business.  Also on the horizon is the completion of Bride Chic: The Book, a comprehensive bride's guide of fashion and putting your look together on your wedding day.  You'll find everything from choosing fabric, dress style and lots of tips on accessorizing from a real pro like yours truly . . .
Above:Images from The Pursuit of Simplicity Shoot, photography by Shannon Grant///Below: Diaphanous blouses from The Bridal Blouse Shoot 
 Above; Images from An Autumn Champagne Tea In The Woods with photos by LaKeela Smith Photography//Below; The UNION Shoot with images by Nathan Larimer of Winter Tree Studios

You can also catch back issues of Bride Chic Look Books on ISSUU but believe me, they carry timeless fashion and photography ergo as fresh as the newest stuff . . . .

Friday, January 13, 2017


When it comes to bridal wear, silks rule. Made from the cocoons of silkworms, around 2500 B.C. the Chinese discovered and developed the process of weaving it into fabric. China is still the largest producer and exporter of 80% of the world’s silks. Most silk weaves are luxe, opulent and suggest a certain formality ideal for the bridal gown. Tightly woven silks like duchesse satin have a luster and are ideal for structured silhouettes, whereas loosely woven silks like charmeuse and crepe lend themselves to drapery. Choosing the right silk depends on the style of your gown in addition to time of day and year your wedding takes place. Here are a few of my faves


Brocade-Heavyweight fabric used in structured silhouettes. The elaborate patterns of this fabric are created by mixing muted and glossy yarns in matching (sometimes contrasting) colors. Most bridal gowns made out of brocade have a surface design of florals though I once saw a gown with some interesting geometric patterns. Brocade molds perfectly in sheath and A-line silhouettes. A fall/winter fabric, brocade is an excellent option for bridal suits.

Charmeuse (aka crepe-backed satin)-Lightest weight of all the satins. This fabric has a glossy finish that clings and drapes the body beautifully. No other fabric evokes the image of the white, bias-cut evening gown quite like charmeuse. Works best in evening gown and slip dress styles. 

Chiffon-Lightweight and transparent, the delicacy of this fabric makes it best for billowing sleeves, cowl draped necklines, ruffles, ruched bodices and long, airy trains. See-through dresses worn over slips can be made of chiffon. Full skirts in chiffon are ethereal and can be layered. Be careful if you’re planning on dressing your bridesmaids in full skirts of pastel chiffon. Unless you have a stylistic eye they could come off like they’re auditioning for The Lawrence Welk Show. 

Crepe (aka crepe de chine)-Lightweight and drapey, the crinkled surface is achieved by a hard-twisted yarn process. To get a sense of what crepe is like, look at the subjects of any Maxfield Parish painting. Though it’s available in wool, cotton and rayon, silk reigns the favorite due to its incredible swathe and drape effect.
 Damask-Lighter weight than brocade, damask is a jacquard fabric with woven designs thorough out. Best for structured silhouettes.

 Duchesse Satin-Medium weight satin with a glossy finish. A staple of traditional bridal wear, it has versatility whereas it works for strait as well as full silhouettes.
 Dupioni-(Above) Made from thick uneven yarns rolled from double cocoons. Has irregular slubbing and lustrous texture. Ideal for fuller silhouettes yet I have used this continually in sheath and modified A-lines with excellent results.
Faille-Medium to heavy weight, cross-ribbed fabric with a tight weave. Structured silhouettes.
Gauze-Lightest weight transparent fabric. Since it’s lighter than chiffon it has an airy
quality perfect for light trains, veils and scarves. 

Georgette-   Lightweight and sheer fabric made from twisted yarns. Somewhere between chiffon and crepe, it has a crinkly appearance surface. 

Marquisette-Very light mesh fabric. Drapes like chiffon and georgette. A very hard fabric to find. 
Mikado-Medium weight twill weave with beautiful luster. Ideal for both A-lines and full skirts. Used by more and more designers in recent years, brides love the surface sheen of this fabric.
Moire-A treatment of watermarking given to fabric, leaving an undulating, watery finish. Most moiré is either faille or taffeta. 

Organza-Light, springy and transparent fabric. Once considered suitable only for summer, organza is now year-round and widely used in gowns requiring full skirts, A-lines, trains, veils, drapes and overlays.
 Peau de Soie-Heavier-weight satin with dull finish. Structures well in either straight or full silhouettes. Ideal for tailored gowns and suits. 

Taffeta- (Above) Stiff, crisp, lightweight cross-rib weave. Taffeta can have either a slight luster or muted finish. It can be shaped, adding volume without bulk and weight, making it an ideal choice for A-lines and ball gowns. Nice in a sheath silhouette providing it has some kind train preferably of the same fabric with some degree of fullness.

Tulle-(above) Fine mesh netting with hexagonal pattern that comes in silk or nylon. Tulle is standard material for bridal veils. Also used in bouffant skirts proffering that layer upon layer ballerina look Vera Wang popularized a few years back. While the big tulle skirt is classic, edgier versions of late suggest special effects like draping, ruching and pick-up treatments over more modified skirt silhouettes.
 Velvet- (Below) Heavy-weight, napped fabric. Perfect for the winter bridal suit. Pictured below is a cut velvet ensemble.
All Dresses by Amy-Jo Tatum
Header Photo by Strotz Photography
Chiffon Photo: Shona Nystrom of Studio 7teen Photography
Dupion Photo: Hayden Housini
Organza Photo: Pixamage
Taffeta Photo: Winter Tree Studios
Tulle  and Velvet Photos: Scott Williams Photography

Thursday, January 12, 2017


    Okay so you’ve been browsing the net to gather ideas. You  could easily look at up to three thousand gowns in one night, not to mention the main stream designer and mass retailer sites.  Suffice it to say you’ve narrowed down your search—decided you like the evening gown look but you’re not absolutely, positively, 100 percent sure an A-line is out of the question.  Next you actually get up from the computer and physically go out shopping.  You hit every salon within a twenty-mile radius, gone through racks and racks of gowns in all kinds of fabrics you never knew existed.  You’ve tried on more than a few in every shade and texture of white imaginable.  And while you feel like you’ve had a crash course in Bridal Gowns and your dreams feel like Act II of Giselle every night, still nothing out there’s grabbed you.  Then, a week later this picture of a gown finally comes together in your head—the neckline you found in Weddings; the sleeve on a dress you tried on in the salon combined with the sweep train you spotted last week in the Film Noir.  Once all this gets put together you’ll have a custom designed gown, something one of its kind and only yours like no other in the world. 
    It’s finally in your head.  Now all you need is help from a skilled designer or dressmaker and the savoir-faire to know the difference.

     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 white lace is indeed 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.  Since the design process involved with a custom gown is more of a direct collaboration between you, you’ll have more input with decisions regarding fabric, silhouette and style.
                                                                             STEP 1 
    Every first consultation begins by asking questions about the actual wedding itself.  You’ll look at and evaluate all the factors involved in optimizing gown design; the scale of the ceremony, the nature of its backdrop, your use of tradition, even right down to the surfaces on which you’ll be walking.  With respect for cleaning and preservation, sometimes even post-wedding plans are made for the gown.
    If you’ve collected any photos, magazine clippings (digital or hard copy), sketches or swatches of fabric, these are discussed, usually with the designer running a few of her own ideas back to you.  Choices and cost of materials, fabrics and a few other details are usually explored.
    If the designer has a small sample collection, this is usually when you can begin trying gowns on to see what the fabrics are going to look and feel like with you in them.  This is the time too to look over how well the samples are made.  Don’t worry about whether or not you know haute couture techniques here—just pull up a hem or look at the inside of one of the garments and you’ll know if its cleanly made and as beautiful on the inside as out.
  STEP 2
     Eventually, a gown is in the making.  After a final sketch is approved, a written estimate follows, complete with fabric swatches and your measurements are finally taken.  For every gown order, a paper pattern is made.  Think of the paper pattern as a blueprint, a record with all your dimensions on it.  From this, most designers (some dressmakers too) work out a muslin.  The muslin is an actual cotton mock-up and ‘living pattern’ of the gown design, fitted exactly to your body.  Now, think of the muslin as the foundation work—laying all the necessary groundwork upon which your dress will be built.  This is where most of the fine-tuning is done to get the perfect fit before one cut or stitch goes into the true gown fabric(s). 


After your muslin fittings (there may be two of them), the muslin is unstitched and laid out on the
actual fabric and the gown is made up. Since most of the fitting is worked out on the muslin, second and third fittings usually follow up with finishing touches on the gown like, final hemline, closures, remaining design details, etc. Be prepared for more than three fittings though. A gown made from the ground up is a work in progress and each step along the way is painstakingly taken, checked and rechecked.
Keep in mind you want your gown delivered at least a month before your wedding. Yes. You need to synchronize your calendars on this one. You want to be able to relax and deal with all those other last minute details involved in your wedding, not still fussing around over hemlines.