Archive for the ‘Ask The Experts’ Category


Ask the Experts: Organizing your closet for the new season

It’s that time of year!  Time to embrace the new season and change over your closets.

Bethany Frankel's closet image courtesy of Pinterest

Bethenny Frankel’s closet image courtesy of Pinterest

 

Even if your closet does not look like this, it doesn’t mean that you can’t have an organized closet!  Keeping things tidy and organized and planning your outfits in advance will save you time and ensure that you always look great!

Below are some of my tips for organizing your closet for the new season:

1.   Out With The Old!

As you take out last season’s clothes, if you have not worn an item more than 3 times in a season, then get rid of it!   Consider donating it or if it is an excellent condition and a brand name, bring it to a consignment shop or sell it on eBay.  Or, have some friends with your girlfriends and plan a clothing swap!  As they say, “one woman’s trash is another woman’s treasure!”

2.  Store Clothing Properly

As you wont’ be wearing some items for up to 6 months, be sure they are hung and stored correctly.  Invest in sturdy, non-slip hangers.  I always love matching hangers, as visually it is appealing when you walk into or open your closet door.

-White clothing should not be kept in dry cleaner bags.  This can discolor the garments.

-Make sure that clothing is hung on appropriate hangers.  Jackets should be on sturdy hangers, pants on either pant or clip hangers and tops on non-slip hangers.

-Any dresses with a high percentage of Lycra (particularly maxi dresses) or bias cut skirts and dresses should be folded over a pant hanger rather than hung, as they can stretch.

-Cotton and wool sweaters should also be folded in order to avoid stretching.

-Put aside anything that needs to be mended, repaired or cleaned and have it done now, so it is fresh and ready to go for next season.

3. Take this time to organize

-Separate clothing out by type (pants, jackets, skirts, dresses) and within each category organize by color.  This will make dressing in the morning that much easier.

-Put shoes in clear containers or on a shoe organizer so that you can easily view them.  Some of my closet organizing favorites can be found at The Container Store.

4. Photograph some of your favorite outfits for the coming season

-When you are having one of those mornings that you can’t think of what to wear, or the next time you are going to out for the evening, this will be a great reference.

-Don’t forget the accessories!  You may want to take two pictures of each outfit with different accessories so that you can change up your look the next time to you wear it or take a look from day to evening!

5. Identify your needs

Make a list of the garments that need to be replaced and what items you want to fill in your wardrobe based on current trends.

- For all of you working women out there, check out my post on the Working Wardrobe Essentials that every woman should have in her closet.  These season-less, timeless pieces never go out of style and will always ensure that you are looking fabulous!

-If you are intrigued by a current trend, but not sure if you want to make the investment in it, try renting it first!  My favorite rental website is Rent the Runway.

6.  Plan for vacations

If you have a trip to a warm location taking place during the winter months, set aside or make a list of the clothes that you are thinking of bringing with you now…this will make packing so much easier when it is time to travel!

If all of this sounds too daunting, hire a professional stylist to assist you.

 

xoxo,

Beth

 

Beth Chapman, owner of The White Dress by the shore, is an author, stylist and mentor for QC School’s Styling Academy.  She has over 20 years of experience in working in fashion and retail and is recognized as an expert in her field. 



Ask the Experts: Beth Chapman’s Bridal Gown Shopping Tips

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:

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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.

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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.

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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.

do_your_research

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.

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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.

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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.

communicate

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.

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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!

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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!

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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!

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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.

understand_the_alterations_process

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.

creating_the_look

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.

protect_your_investment

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.

enjoy_the_experience

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.

HAPPY SHOPPING!!

xoxo, Beth

 


Sample Sale Shopping Tips

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Don’t miss our upcoming sample sale from Tuesday, September 16th to Saturday, September 20th.  Before you join us, here are a few tips to consider:

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!

xoxo, TWD


Ask the Experts: Bridget Kellogg from ‘The Something Old Collection’

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.

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Image by Kat Harris

 

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.

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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.

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xoxo, TWD

 


Ask Beth: What are the different types of laces?

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?”

-Megan

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

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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

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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 !

Gupiere Lace

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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

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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

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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!

xoxo, TWD

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