Archive for the ‘Ask The Experts’ Category
Now that bridal shopping season is upon us, you may have many questions. Fortunately, bridal expert and owner Beth Chapman has compiled a list of frequently asked questions and answers that will help you out:
What is the price range of your gowns?
We have hand-selected a collection of gowns that are priced between $2,500 – $7,000. We have two designers with a small selection of gowns priced between $1,000 – $2,000: Jenny Yoo and Theia. These gowns are unstructured and tend to be for a less formal wedding. We also always have a selection of store samples that are discounted and being sold directly off the rack. *Please note that these gowns are generally sample size 10. View the Sample Sale Collection on our website.
Do I need an appointment to shop in your boutique?
Yes. We are by appointment so that we can provide each of our clients with our undivided attention. The majority of what we sell is special order, and many items can be customized. Working with a dedicated associate allows you to be educated on all of your options, as well as all of the unique services that the boutique has to offer.
How long will my appointment be?
Our appointments are 1½ hours in length.
Can I schedule bridal and bridesmaid appointments back to back?
We strongly recommend that you make separate appointments. Bridal appointments can be emotional and require making quite a few decisions. If your schedule allows, we recommend that you try to schedule separate appointments so that you can get the most out of each appointment.
We do offer Bridesmaid Soiree appointments where you and your bridal party can have 2 hours of exclusive access to chic by the shore, our bridesmaid atelier. You and your bridesmaids will enjoy cupcakes and mimosas while experiencing a private shopping appointment. For further details, check out the Bridesmaid Soiree page on our website.
What should I bring with me to the appointment?
If you wear a bra or shoe size that is especially small or large, your may want to bring your own. Otherwise, we have both to offer you during the appointment. You will be working with a dedicated stylist, so feel free to bring any photos of gowns that you admire.
When should I arrive for my appointment?
Please arrive at the time that your appointment is scheduled for. We often have appointments immediately before your appointment and (especially on a Saturday) will not be able to take you early. Furthermore, if you are late, this will cut into your appointment time. We also often have an appointment immediately following yours (especially on a Saturday) and therefore, we may not be able to extend your appointment time due to a late arrival.
Is there a limit to the number of guests that I can bring?
As we are a small boutique, we ask that you limit your guests to no more than 5. We understand that there are many special people in your life that want to be a part of this momentous decision; however, too many opinions can actually be detrimental. Try to limit your guests to those who understand your personal style and the overall look and feel of your wedding so that they can assist you in selecting a gown that compliments both.
If you feel that you want to make a big reveal of your decision for your bridal party or your extended family, we offer White Carpet Appointments. These appointments provide you with 3 hours of exclusive access to the boutique. You are treated to champagne and sweet or savory treats during your visit, and a photographer is present to capture all of the wonderful memories as they unfold. You will leave the appointment with a SWAG bag and a bouquet in the colors of your wedding. For further details, check out the Pricing Details page on our website.
Are photographs allowed?
They are allowed, but we ask that you refrain from taking them until the end of the appointment when we have helped you narrow down your choices to 3 gowns. Taking them throughout the appointment can be distracting and may not be the best use of your time.
We also ask that when viewing the photos to remember that our gowns are samples and may not be in the color or condition that your gown will be upon it’s arrival. Also, the gown has not been professionally fit to your body and therefore may not be lying exactly right.
Will you discount or haggle on price?
The only time we discount is during a special event or trunk show. For further details, check out the Discounting Policy page on our website.
We do offer a 5% discount on bridesmaid purchases from our couture bridesmaid designers (Donna Morgan excluded) if you purchase your gown with us.
What is a trunk show, and what is the advantage of purchasing your gown at one?
A trunk show is when a designer sends in an extended version of their collection. There is a discount or special offer that is provided during the event as an incentive to buy. Very often, the designer or a company representative is present at the trunk show, which allows you to fully experience the nuances and beauty of the collection.
What is the difference between an accessory appointment and your Styling Service?
Accessories Appointment – This appointment is an hour and a half in length. We will have you try your gown on, and one of our trained stylists will assist in selecting the perfect veil and accessories to compliment your gown.
Styling Service – This appointment is three hours in length. This service is for the bride who needs a lot of guidance or is overwhelmed by all of her options and wants assistance in editing her selections. Prior to your appointment, you will receive our styling questionnaire, which provides us with the overall look and feel of your wedding. During your visit, we will assist in styling all of your wedding day looks, from shower, to rehearsal dinner, to the wedding itself. You will also receive a beauty profile, providing hair and make up style suggestions. If you have style changes planned for your wedding day, we will communicate those to your photographer so that every detail is captured. To ensure that you are picture perfect and no hair, bustle point or accessory is out of place, we also offer a Dressing Service on the day of your wedding.
Bridal shopping season is in full swing. No need to stress, though! To make your life a little easier, owner, Beth Chapman, has put together a list of bridal gown shopping tips to assist you:
Selecting a wedding gown is often one of the first steps that a bride takes as she embarks on the journey of her engagement. Finding the perfect gown is an exciting, but often daunting task. Following are tips that will help to make the experience memorable, enjoyable and lead to the gown of your dreams.
Before beginning to shop for your gown, you should have your wedding date and venue secured. Your decision will be much easier to make if you can envision yourself wearing your gown in the setting of your wedding.
In creating your wedding budget, be sure to include a realistic budget for your wedding attire. Your budget should include an allocation for not only the gown, but accessories (bra, veil, jewelry and shoes), alterations and gown cleaning and preservation after the wedding.
It is very important to articulate your budget to the sales associate when shopping for your gown. You do not want to fall in love with something that does not fit your budget.
Prior to beginning to shop, research salons that carry designers that meet your taste level and budget.
Evaluate the stores in which you like to shop for your everyday clothes and be sure that you select the correct shopping environment for you. If you are a department store shopper, a larger bridal salon with a large selection of gowns may be the right fit for you. If you prefer to shop in small boutiques, then a smaller, more intimate bridal store would most likely be best for you.
Visit the salon’s website before calling to set an appointment to ensure that the selection and price range meets your needs. It is also helpful to read the bridal blogs to find out what other brides-to-be have to say about the stores that you plan to visit.
Call to schedule an appointment a minimum of one week in advance. By scheduling an appointment, it allows the salon to provide you with their undivided attention and have a sales associate dedicated specifically to you.
Keep in mind that it takes approximately 4-6 months to produce a wedding gown. You should begin shopping for your gown a minimum of 8 months in advance of the wedding to allow enough time for alterations once the gown arrives.
This is a momentous and joyous time in your life, so naturally you want to share it with your family and friends. Be careful, however, of bringing a large group with you to shop for your gown. Too many opinions can be detrimental to making a decision.
If you have bridesmaids or family members who insist on being part of the process, a suggestion might be to shop with 1-2 very close family members or friends who understand and respect your personal style. Once you have finalized your decision, then you can bring back other people to show them the gown that you have decided on.
The key is to remember to take opinions into consideration, but ultimately you know yourself best. Your opinion is truly the only one that matters. It is your day and you are the one wearing the gown.
Bring photographs of styles that interest you and articulate your vision and budget to the sales associate with whom you are working.
Don’t be afraid to speak up if you don’t like something. Who knows – perhaps there is something that can be done to the gown to make it perfect for you!
Before making the final decision on your gown, be sure that you understand the policies of the salon at which you are purchasing it. Ask about their policies for gown deposit and alterations.
Don’t use your wedding day as the day to make a fashion statement! Your gown should flatter your best physical assets, reflect the formality and overall aesthetic of your venue, and most importantly, reflect your own personal style. You want to still look like yourself on your wedding day…just an enhanced version!
Trust the sales associate with whom you are working. If they are good at what they do, they will listen to your vision and make suggestions of gowns for you to try on. Even if you do not like the way that a gown looks on the hanger, TRY IT ON!! It could be the gown of your dreams!
Bridal sizing is different from ready-to-wear sizing. In some cases, a bridal gown is 2 sizes larger than what you would wear in your every day clothes. Once you have selected your gown, the bridal salon will take your measurements. Those measurements will be compared to the designer’s size chart and the appropriate size will be selected for you. Keep in mind that a gown can be altered up to two sizes. Even if you are planning on losing weight, it’s best to go with the size that you are measuring at the time of purchase and alter the gown once it arrives. Never order a size based on the size that you plan to be!
Undergarments are called foundations for a reason! The proper undergarments truly make all of the difference in the fit of the gown. After your gown is purchased, take time to select the perfect undergarments. It is best to shop in a location that specializes in foundations so that you are sized correctly.
While selecting your undergarments it is important to take into consideration several factors:
Select a bra or bustier that has a lower back than that of the gown so that the bra cannot be seen.
Ensure that if your bra has lace, texture or boning, they are not visible through the gown.
If your gown is a column silhouette or made of a light weight fabric, ensure that your undergarments provide you with enough support and that there are no noticeable seams or panty lines.
Alterations are truly a process. It will take time to sculpt the gown to fit your body perfectly. When purchasing your gown, you should factor in a minimum of 2 months for alterations.
There a generally a minimum of 3 alterations involved in perfecting the fit of the gown. When purchasing your gown, you should inquire about the salon’s policies on alterations and their fee structure.
It is imperative that you have your shoes and undergarments selected when the alterations process begins. It is impossible to ensure a proper fit without those elements.
If you are planning on losing weight, you should not begin the alterations process until your weight is stable.
Selecting the perfect accessories to complement your gown is almost as important as selecting the gown itself. The accessories can make or break your wedding day look! You should take time in this process and schedule a separate appointment to choose your accessories.
When selecting you wedding day garnish, ask yourself if you want the accessories themselves to be the statement or if you want them to simply complement the gown. Either way, ensure that they reflect your personal style and the overall aesthetic of the wedding.
Although your gown is something you will wear only once, it is a precious garment that holds many memories, and it is should be properly cleaned and protected after the wedding. Research companies that specialize in gown cleaning and preservation – don’t simply rely on your local dry cleaner. Be sure to use a company that provides an anti-sugar treatment while cleaning and uses acid free materials in their preservation box. These processes will allow for maximum longevity of the fabric and ensure that it will not discolor or deteriorate over time.
The most important tip is to HAVE FUN!! How often in life will you be able to try on beautiful gowns and be treated like a princess? Enjoy every minute of it!
The key is to make sure that you are working with a bridal salon that maximizes your bridal shopping experience and allows you to feel comfortable in your buying decision.
1. Experienced Shoppers Only
Sample sales are not recommended for brides who have not shopped for gowns before. The point of a sample sale is to find the gown of your dreams at a bargain price! If you have never tried on gowns before, it is not possible to know what silhouette will flatter your figure. Sample sales are often overwhelming, and your first bridal shopping experience should be relaxed and shared with those closest to you. We highly recommend a regular appointment for first time shoppers.
2. Sample Sizes Are Not Universal
Generally, sample sizes are 8′s and 10′s and are made for a B cup. If you are under 5’5″ or over 5’11″ and are larger than a C cup, it is not recommended that you shop at a sample sale. We are able to customize our full price gowns for our brides to accommodate all shapes and sizes. If you are petite, well-endowed or have some other specific size requirement, it is recommended that you schedule an appointment during our regular business hours.
We do have a limited selection of gowns over a size 10 available at the sale. Check out our sample sale page for availability!
3. Bring Your Decision Makers
Sample sales are for serious shoppers and brides who are ready to buy! During a sample sale, you will need to make a decision very quickly. It is recommended that you bring 1-2 individuals whose opinions matter to you the most and who can aid you in selecting your perfect gown.
4. Do Your Research
An educated bride is our favorite bride! Before coming to the sale, be sure that you have tried on gowns and know the specific silhouettes and details that flatter you. Check out our sample sale page and have a list of the gowns that you would like to try on. Please note that not all sale gowns are listed on the site. Research our designers and know which ones you will target first.
The sample sale is by appointment only, so ring us at 860.669.4596 to schedule yours today! And make sure you bring a strapless bra and heels with you to the sale!
Get ready for a bargain, ladies!
We absolutely cannot wait for our ‘The Something Old Collection’ Accessories Trunk Show this Saturday, May 18th! Not only do our brides have the pleasure of viewing a large selection of gorgeous vintage accessories but they also have the opportunity to meet the curator of the fabulous collection, a woman who knows all about bridal- Bridget Kellogg.
We recently chatted with Bridget about how she got started in the industry and how her business of finding vintage pieces came to be! Read her recount below and then ring us for an appointment at 860.669.4596.
I began working in bridal as a fit specialist and stylist in the 1970′s and have always had a passion for bridal fashion. The collection was born 5 years ago. The love of all things vintage and the quality of the pieces made around mid-20th century were the perfect combination for a collection that I knew brides would love and would complement today’s styles–from victorian to the late 20th century. The collection is made up of approx. 1000 pieces mostly made during the height of the costume jewelry heyday just after WWII.
The jewelry that becomes part of the collection is the object of a constant search–everywhere and anywhere I can find it. A lot of the pieces come from estates, having spent the past 60 years or so in someone’s jewelry box or drawer. I look specifically for pieces that have been signed by the maker or fashion designer who commissioned it, or will buy an unsigned piece simply for it’s good design. Condition is a big factor in determining whether or not to buy. Early costume jewelry is a very collectable market and early pieces of good design in excellent condition are covetted by the collectors and therefore hold their value. The patina is beautiful real age, something that cannot be duplicated in new jewelry. The color of the metal is warmer, not bright, and looks better on the brides complexion. I love discovering a piece–perhaps findings I have never seen or superb castings–that I have never seen before. I have been in awe of the beautiful pieces I have found. Some of the designers came from a fine jewelry background and their designs reflect that (Marcel Boucher who worked for Cartier before he came to the US) Other pieces are signed by fashion designers, Hattie Carnegie, Elsa Schiaparelli, etc. These are among my favorites.
I have found that today’s brides appreciate having a keepsake that they will treasure and wear again. I tell them that it is the one part of their ensemble that they will wear again and again and will become a very sentimental thing. I wish I had a brooch or earrings from my wedding day that I could wear today. The idea of having something old is your reflection on the past and jewelry is the perfect way to express that. These pieces compliment today’s bridal gowns and can be combined with fine or new costume jewelry.
When I am talking about the pieces of the Something Old Collection you will hear me say “this is my favorite” over and over again! It changes minute to minute because when I hold a gorgeous, well designed, well made piece of vintage jewelry I fall in love with it instantly. My love of elements that were designed to specifically enhance the beauty of the woman wearing it has driven the collection and will continue to fuel my passion.
Q: “After doing a ton of wedding dress research online I have found I love lace- I’ll see you at the Lace Event! But with that said, I feel a bit confused by all the different types of lace out there. How many lace options are there and how can I tell the difference?”
A: Megan, great question! With the ever increasing amount of options and our Lace Event fast approaching we are sure you aren’t the only bride out there with this question! Below we have broken down each type of lace with a short description for each. Of course there are many different variations but these are the basic categories:
Chantilly lace is a handmade bobbin lace named after the city of Chantilly, France, in a tradition dating from the 17th century. Chantilly lace is known for its flat, outlined pattern, and abundant detail. Brides who are looking for a soft, romantic lace pattern will love Chantilly.
Alençon lace or point d’Alençon is a needle lace that originated in Alençon, France. It is sometimes called the “Queen of lace.” There is a raised cording throughout the pattern of the lace, and the cording follows the lace pattern underneath. Some but not all of the edges of the lace have “eyelashes”. Brides who truly want a traditional lace gown should look for Alençon !
Guipure lace (also called Venetian lace) is a firm, stiff lace with no net background. The pattern is made by a series of closely packed embroidery stitches and works well for the bride who LOVES texture.
Cotton Lace has a soft, less formal feel than more traditional lace styles. Perfect for a spring soiree or wedding on the water.
Laser Cut Lace
Laser Cut Lace is a unique and modern take on the traditional fabrication. It is perfect for a bride who loves the tradition of lace but has a more modern style!
We adore Awards season! It gets us inspired and allows us to get lost for an evening in gorgeous gowns, jewels and beauty! Last night were the Golden Globe awards and the red carpet was full of glamour! I am thrilled to share my 2014 Golden Globe Red Carpet Recap with all of you!
The hot colors of the evening were red, black and our favorite (white)!
The dresses were understated for the most part and were all about the gorgeous silhouette and beautiful fabrics. The jewelry was also very understated. We saw lots of stud earrings paired with a statement cocktail ring. The exception was Sophia Vergara in this glorious turquois statement necklace:
I was thrilled to see Sophia in a fuller silhouette and not her signature mermaid style. She was wearing one of our fashion icons, Zach Posen. Despite, the fuller skirt, the shape of this gown flattered her curves beautifully! I think this gown would translate beautifully into a wedding gown!
Overall, I felt that the hair on the red carpet was a little disappointing. It looked as though most of the starlets did their hair themselves. The exception to this was Cate Blanchette. Her hair style evoked old Hollywood Glamour and she was radiant, as always. She was among my top looks of the evening, which are listed below:
Cate Blanchette stopped everyone in their tracks in this gorgeous lace and organza gown by Aramani Prive. I loved it all – the lace detail, the femininity, the sleeves and the glorious plunging back (be sure to google it).
Taylor Swift is developing into quite the fashion icon in her own right. Her entire look, including her Caroline Herrera gown was stunning.
I loved the color blocking and the beautiful drape and flower in the back of this gown. She looked simply elegant.
Sandra Bullock made my list as well! First of all, her skin is flawless! She seems to get younger with age! I need to know her secrets, STAT! Her Prabal Gurung gown was modern, sophisticated and elegant. It was a risky look for the red carpet and it paid off!
Juliana Margulies looks radiant in this Andrew Gn gown with gold embroidery. The silhouette was simple, but the fit was impeccable and the embroidery gave it just enough glam! Adored the entire look!
Maria Menuonos wins for the best use of color! Her ‘Pantone color of the year’ inspired, orchid gown by Max Azaria was stunning! The silhouette was magnificent and the color really made a statement!
I adore Leslie Mann and had the same feeling about her lace peplum gown from Dolce & Gabanna. This would be a gorgeous silhouette for a wedding gown!
My all time favorite look of the evening, and quite possibly my favorite gown in several award seasons, was this clean, modern, CAPED (!), gown by Ralph Lauren wore by Lupita Nyong’o (a Yale grad)!
Below are the gowns that I felt could easily transcend the red carpet to the white aisle! They were stunning and wedding worthy!
Magrot Robbie in Gucci
Michelle Dockery in Oscar de la Renta
Naomi Watts in Tom Ford
Zooey Deschanel in Oscar de la Renta
As always, there were a few fashion mis-steps on the red carpet, but you all know who they are! We choose to focus on the pretty! Until the Oscars…….
*all images courtesy of Getty Images
Did he ‘put a ring on it’ over the holidays? Wondering what to do next?
Here is our suggested wedding preparation checklist involving many of the important, fashion related steps as you begin your journey down the aisle. The White Dress by the shore is your one-stop destination for all of the following, so be sure to give us a ring, as we would be delighted to help you with every last detail- 860.669.4596
For more information when beginning this process be sure to check out owner, Beth Chapman’s shopping tips here.