Archive for the ‘Ask The Experts’ Category
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 9 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.
Recently, our friends at Donna Morgan asked TWD owner and stylist, Beth Chapman to style one of their jumpsuits for their blog. Beth stepped in front of the camera to show us how versatile a jumpsuit can be by styling a fabulous one six different ways. Scroll through the looks below and see what she has to say about accessories, wardrobe staples, bridesmaids dresses, and more!
Jumpsuit- Donna Morgan, Shoes- Nine West
Look 2 (Sunday brunch): Jumpsuit- Donna Morgan, Necklace- Aquinnah Jewelry, Belt- ASOS, Shoes- J.Crew, Clutch- Vintage
Look 3 (Out to Dinner): Jumpsuit- Donna Morgan, Necklaces- J. Crew, Belt- ASOS, Motorcycle Jacket- Tahari, Shoes- Vince Camuto
Look 4 (Off to Work): Jumpsuit- Donna Morgan, Necklace- Aquinnah Jewelry, Sweater- J. Crew, Bag- Hermes, Shoes- Nine West
Look 5 (Bridal Shower): Jumpsuit- Donna Morgan, Floral Jacket- Target, Shoes- Two Lips, Sunglasses- Ray Ban
Look 6 (Cocktail Party): Jumpsuit- Donna Morgan, Earrings- provided by stylist, Beaded Striped Jacket- Ann Taylor, Shoes- Nine West
Donna Morgan: We love how cleverly you styled your Donna Morgan jumpsuit for so many occasions! What makes an item versatile? What should we be looking for when shopping for a versatile piece?
A versatile piece is one that can easily work with many other items in your wardrobe. It is something that can be dressed up or dressed down depending on the occasion. People think that a versatile piece has to be a basic staple or a solid color. That is not necessarily the case. The rule is that if you can wear it with at least 3 other items in your wardrobe, than it is versatile!
Donna Morgan: Accessories are key to any outfit transformation. What are the five ‘can’t live without’ accessories in your wardrobe?
I LOVE accessories! They can transform the entire look of an outfit. I don’t think I can pick just 5! My ‘can’t live without’ accessories are always changing depending on the season! For fall/winter they were my animal print flats, my fur vest and my camel colored leather booties. For spring, I am currently loving my neon pink heels, anything printed and floral and my leather motorcycle jacket.
Donna Morgan: From a fashion house executive in NYC to a business-owning wife and mother of two, how has your personal style changed? What aspects of your personal style have stayed the same?
I have always had a classic/preppy sensibility (a hybrid of Kate Spade, J. Crew and Carolina Herrera). I love to get dressed up – in fact, I am known for being overdressed. But, my motto is that you can never be too overdressed! I think as I get older and I am busy with the kids, the boutique, and styling, comfort has become more important to me. I tend to gravitate more toward wedges and flats vs. 4” stilettos!
Donna Morgan: Entering the professional arena, many women find themselves needing a whole new wardrobe without a large budget. What are the ‘must have’ staples? What are your secrets for saving on style?
The basics that I think that every working woman should have in her wardrobe are:
- A great white shirt
- A black pencil skirt
- A great pair of black or neutral pants
- A colorful cardigan
- A little black dress
- A beautiful black pump
These pieces can all be mixed and matched with each other and dressed up or dressed down depending on the occasion. Of course, I like every woman, love a good deal! So keep your eyes out for sales. The beginning and end of each season are the best times to get discounted prices. My biggest tip is that when you are investing in wardrobe staples, be sure that they are good quality. These are items that you will have for years and that you will wear over and over again. The majority of your budget should go to these items. Spend less on trendy items, as you will only wear them for 1-2 seasons.
Donna Morgan: As your daughter becomes a teenager, does she place importance on personal style? Have you influenced her style in any way?
For a while she was all about sweatshirts and yoga pants and I was sweating it out! But, thank goodness those days are behind us! I encourage Lindsay, and all women, to identify her own personal style and dress according to that. Of course, she has been influenced by my style. But, as she is getting older it is so fun to watch her own unique style emerge!
Donna Morgan: You are the proprietor of one of the country’s top bridal salons, the author of a book on wedding inspiration and a mentor with The QC School’s Styling Program. As an expert, what advice do you have for a bridesmaid wanting to get another wear out of her bridesmaid dress? Black and Navy are easy, but what if the dress is a bright, bridesmaid-y color?
Wearing a bridesmaid dress again is a challenge for sure, as you don’t want to look like a bridesmaid! I think the key is that it needs to be a short dress and you need to style it with accessories that don’t look like you just stepped out of a wedding! If is a short structured bright colored dress; perhaps pair it with a complementary colored bright pair of colored heels and a fun statement necklace. It is a soft flowy dress; perhaps a strappy wedge sandal and a long gold necklace.
Donna Morgan: Obviously, the bride is the star of the show…but what can a bridesmaid do to ensure she looks her best in her dress on the big day?
I love that there is trend toward mis-matched bridesmaid dresses and allowing bridesmaids to select a silhouette that flatters her figure. My best advice for bridesmaids is to know your body type and find the silhouette that is most flattering on you. Also, be sure to wear the proper undergarments, as they make all of the difference in the fit of the dress. A supportive bra is key!
Donna Morgan: I know it’s hard to choose… but of the six looks you created with your Donna Morgan jumpsuit, which is your favorite?
Oh my gosh – such a hard choice!! Because I am so looking forward to spring, I think my favorite look was the floral printed jacket, neon shoes and sunglasses! And the best part of that look is that the jacket and shoes combined only cost about $65!
Earlier this week, TWD Owner Beth Chapman appeared on WWLP’s Mass Appeal where she highlighted Spring 2015 bridal trends.
Below is a recap of Beth’s top trends:
We are seeing two extreme trends in bridal fashion right now – very classic and very non-traditional.
The neckline of the moment is the back neckline. Designers are taking the plunge with very low, very open backs, and brides are showing a lot of skin on their wedding day! The gown in the segment by designer Augusta Jones is a little more on the conservative side, as it is has illusion .
On the more conservative side, long sleeves are back en vogue! It is wonderful to have an alternative to strapless. Kayla modeled a gown from CT based designer, Modern Trousseau. It has 3/4 sleeves and a very interesting lace patterned bodice with a romantic tulle ball over skirt.
For accessories, the trend of the season is gold and rose gold. The segment features accessories by Haute Bride. We are seeing more gold and rose gold accessories emerge as an alternative to silver. They work beautifully with all of the blush tone gowns that are being shown.
Speaking to the unconventional trend, Paige modeled an adorable lace romper from Watters. Jumpsuits and rompers have become popular in ready-to-wear and now we are seeing them make their way into bridal. The romper is a great option for a civil ceremony or as a second look for a reception! It is also a perfect choice for wedding related events, such as a shower or the rehearsal dinner.
We can’t forget bridesmaids! We are seeing two trends for the bridal party – mismatched dresses where all of the attendants are in different dresses, as well as metallics. Metallics – particularly gold – are a predominant trend in wedding decor, and now also in maids attire. The dresses in the segment include a metallic dress from Jenny Yoo, an all over beaded dress from Adrianna Papell, and a beautiful chiffon dress with a metallic lace bodice also by Jenny Yoo. The different dresses play off each other beautifully and create such a unique story.
We are very much looking forward to our Kate McDonald Bridal and LulaKate bridesmaids trunk show February 26-28! In anticipation, we asked Owner and Designer Katherine McDonald a few questions in regards to her fabulous collections.
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1. What made you decide to separate the Kate McDonald bridal collection as its own brand separate from LulaKate?
I wanted the bridal gowns and little white dresses to have their own identity. LulaKate is known for fun dresses in bright colors. I wanted the bridal gowns to be known for elegance, details and romance. I thought it was important for the two brands to have different looks since essentially they are different customers. Bridal is all about romance and love and bridesmaids should be about celebration and happiness for your friend (the bride).
2. How would you describe the aesthetic of your Kate McDonald Bridal collection?
Romantic with a touch of whimsy.
3. Where do you find inspiration for your designs?
I love old movies, old fashion photographs, fashion icons.
4. What is the inspiration behind your 2015 collection?
When we found the hand-painted fabric that we used for the McLeod dress, we starting putting all of the other fabrics and details in place. We selected other complimentary fabrics like the ones used for the Alston and Drayton. We also wanted another show-stopper piece so we redesigned the Beatrice to make her more dramatic and just as stunning as the McLeod.
5. Do you have a favorite gown in the collection?
McLeod – but the Waring is a close second. I love how the Waring’s train “floats” behind the bride as she is making her entrance down the aisle.
Here are some beauties we love from the bridal collection that will be here for the trunk show:
Join us for our Kate McDonald Bridal and LulaKate trunk show February 26th to the 28th by giving us a ring at 860.669.4596 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. This will be your last chance to take advantage of LulaKate’s 20% off sale on all bridesmaid dresses in any color or fabric!
Can’t get enough of LulaKate? Check out this photo shoot The White Dress by the shoreowner Beth Chapman recently styled for Style Me Pretty.
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.
Please remember that a sample sale environment is quite different than a regular shopping experience with us. Be ready to share dressing rooms, make fast decisions and to have fun! And make sure you bring a strapless bra and heels with you to the sale!
Get ready for a bargain, ladies!
*Image courtesy of Steve DePino
Over the next several months, we will be hosting a variety of trunk shows! And lately, we have been receiving a lot of questions about what a trunk show actually is. Fortunately, owner Beth Chapman has the answer! Scroll below to read her article “Tackling Trunk Shows,” which has been featured on numerous blogs and in various publications!
Trunk shows can provide the perfect opportunity for a bride to find the gown of her dreams. But what is a trunk show, and what are the benefits for the bride to be?
Beth Chapman, owner of The White Dress by the shore, an upscale bridal boutique located in Clinton, provides this explanation: “A trunk show is an event hosted by a bridal boutique where a broader representation of a designer’s collection is sent to the store.” According to Chapman, “There is often a representative from the company present or in some instances the designer themselves attend the event. There is almost always some type of discount or special offer that is provided during the course of the trunk show if a purchase is made at the event.”
Store owners are generally not able to purchase a designer’s entire collection. A trunk show allows an extended version of the collection to be sent to the store, and oftentimes, designers will send new styles to the event that are not yet available in stores. One of the primary benefits for a bride is that she is able to work directly with the designer or company representative to learn about the intricacies of the line and make custom changes to create her own, one-of-a-kind gown. Notes Chapman, “We recently hosted a Modern Trousseau trunk show and customized almost every gown we sold. Trunk shows are the perfect opportunity for a bride to work with a designer to create her dream gown.”
The designer benefits from the trunk show as well. They are able to watch brides try on their gowns and listen to their comments. It is an excellent opportunity for them to get direct feedback from brides that they can apply to future collections.
Generally there is a discount or special offer associated with a trunk show. It is commonplace for a bridal store to offer a 10% discount during a bridal gown trunk show. Chapman notes, Trunk shows are not recommended for a first-time shopping experience. In order for a bride to fully benefit from a trunk show, they should come into it knowing the types of silhouette that they are looking for. Having this knowledge will allow them to receive the benefit of the discount and the opportunity to work with the designer to customize their gown.”
A trunk show is an excellent time to purchase your gown. If there is a particular designer that you are interested in, a trunk show will allow you to see the full breadth of the designer’s line and allow you to purchase one of their gowns while receiving a discount or special offer. But, be sure to book an appointment early. These exclusive events book up quickly!
Check out our Events page to view the upcoming trunk shows! If you are interested in attending one, give us a ring to make your appointment!
This year’s Golden Globes Red Carpet provided so much inspiration for the white aisle! Many of the looks were easily translatable to bridal! The outstanding trends of the evening were metallics, white and classic silhouettes. Below is a recap of our favorite looks:
Dakota Johnson in Chanel
Diane Kruger in Emilia Wickstead
Ellie Kemper in Naeem Kahn
Jennifer Lopez in Zuhair Murad
Julianne Moore in Givenchy
Reese Witherspoon in Calvin Klein
Of all of the white gowns that graced the carpet, these were our favorite!
Emily Blunt in Michael Kors
Kate Hudson in Versace
We are firm believers that classic NEVER goes out of style. These timeless silhouettes had us swooning!
Amal Clooney in Dior Haute Couture – the gloves were controversial, but they made the outfit for us!
Katherine Hiegel in Zac Posen
Felicity Jones in Christian Dior
Our all-time favorite looks of the evening are below. These are our vote for The Golden Globes Best Dressed:
Emma Stone in Lanvin- we adore a jumpsuit! This one was chic, youthful and had a bow! What could be better?!
Chrissy Tiegen (Mrs. John Legend) in Zuhair Murad- we adore the blush color and this incredible bead pattern. We would LOVE to see this look on a bride!
Until the Oscars!
images provided by: Getty Images, Vogue, E-online