Bridesmaid Gowns – Long or Short?

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What dictates the length of the bridesmaid dress? It’s not the time of day or  theme of the wedding, or the cost of the event… it is actually way more complicated than that.

Them most important thing to consider when selecting the gown is ….the fabric!  Although the length is a contributing factor, think about how a long, cotton gown will not go nearly as well at a black tie evening event as a short, satin, embellished mini dress. A long, heavy satin gown will be overwhelming at a summer daytime event whereas a gauzy, chiffon gown might be freezing at a mid-winter reception.

As you are shopping (taking note of the fabric options available) you might want to follow some simple guidelines to help make your choice:

Long dresses – For a black tie wedding, long is almost always the best choice. These type of wedding are usually evening events where the dress code is formal. Long dresses are also appropriate for a black tie optional or semi formal event but, can be worn for any wedding any time of day if you prefer. Be careful, long dresses can be overwhelming for an outdoor wedding on a  hot summer day…choose the right fabric!

 

 

Tea- length – The length designated as anything from mid-calf to the ankle can be worn for any type of event other than formal. Daytime, afternoon, evening, beach, tea length gowns can go anywhere and are the most versatile choice for bridesmaids, depending upon the fabric!

Short – Slightly above, below or right at the bend of the knee.  If you don’t want the bridesmaids  to wear pantyhose, make sure the weather is suited for bare legs or you will have some bridesmaids with goosebumps. The right short gown can be perfect for a semi-formal or even a formal event, and the wrong gown will look horribly out of place so, keep in mind that the fabric and style will make a huge difference.

 The perfect fabric, length, color, and style  will all add up to the right combination that works for your wedding.

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago

Having Trouble With Bridesmaid Shoes?

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All women love pretty shoes. Maybe not sky-high heels, maybe not stilettos, maybe not even a dress shoe. I can name 5  women that are crazy for Uggs and others that can’t wait for summer to wear sandals. The fact is that finding a shoe that all of your bridesmaids will like or even be able to wear is difficult. Never fear, there are many solutions but first there are some points to consider:

Are the shoes going to be seen? If the dress is long, no one will notice different shoes. If the dress is short, you will have to ‘step’ in and make sure that everyone wears the same color or style… or that they are somehow co-ordinated to suit your wishes and the style of your wedding. This is your call. With a short dress, you have the opportunity to use the shoes as a statement piece, something to spice up a LBD (little black dress) or give a pop of color!. Of course if the color selection gets to be too much, you could always go with gold or silver.

 

 

Where is the wedding?  Outdoor and indoor weddings have different shoe requirements. Also if the ceremony is outdoor and the reception is indoor, make sure the shoe can transition comfortably. For an outdoor setting a wedge heel will guarantee your shoes don’t poke holes in the turf, if your wedding is on the beach, you can opt for no shoe at all  and if your wedding is a  lavish affair in a luxurious location – the shoes should be formal, no matter the heel height.

 

What time of year is it? For a winter event, I would stay away from summery sandals and cork wedges. Pumps with either open or closed toe work nicely, so do mary janes, or ankle straps. For something completely unique – how about boots? (Cowboy boots do seem to be the trend with this choice)

 

For me personally, I would pick the shoe first and find a dress, location and time of year that matches.

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago

Covering Up For Comfort… and Style

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Bridesmaid gowns have gone crazy! Good crazy, that is.  Long or short, strapless or halter, chiffon or satin, there is a bridesmaid gown for every figure type and budget.  Designers are showing what brides have been asking to see for decades….. “SOMETHING YOU CAN WEAR AGAIN!” The best part is that many designers are offering fashionable options for bridesmaids who aren’t comfortable showing too much skin.

Cape - How about a nice little chiffon covering? If the gown you select doesn’t offer something like this, you can always have them made for you.

 

 

 

Shawl – Something to wrap around your neck or arms, it usually dresses up the gown and is definitely more formal.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Scarf – For a more fun, edgy look try adding a luxurious Pashmina or silk chiffon scarf in a totally different color than the gown.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wrap - Narrower than a shawl or scarf, this ‘wraps’ around the bodice to  give some shoulder coverage and is intended to be worn all night. 

 

 

Bolero – Of course there is always the bolero jacket like Princess Katherine wore with her reception gown last April.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Last, we come to the shrug, which is a short open-front ‘jacket’ with little or no sleeves.

 

You can have so much fun with scarves, wraps, shrugs and capes that the possiblities are endless. The perfect way to dress up a simple gown,  and allow the bridesmaids a little coverage.  

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago

 

Big Beautiful Bridesmaids – Finding a Dress That Fits

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Everyone who has ever been a bridesmaid knows two things about bridesmaid dresses; you hardly ever wear them again and they run small.

For the average size 10 woman, she will need to purchase a size 12 or maybe 14 bridesmaid gown. The rule is that you always fit the biggest body measurement since the gown can be taken in everywhere and rarely let out anywhere. But, when your best friend in the world  is a size 24, what do you do? As the size 24 bridesmaid do you  tell the bride you are uncomfortable wearing the dress she picked? Is it fair to ask the largest woman, who is probably the least secure about her physical appearance to wear the same dress as everyone else? Do you ask her to lose weight?  Do you find a similar gown for her to wear? Trust me, I have seen every angle of this debate and it never changes, and  it is near impossible to make everyone happy with your choice. So what do you do if you love your friend and you really want her to look  and feel  her best? The first step is to have an open conversation about the topic. She will be so relieved that you are sensitive about this topic that you may have to pick her up off the floor!

Different gowns -Offering the bridesmaids gown choices of the same color and different styles dates back over two decades. It works beautifully then and it is still by far the best option for bridesmaids of all sizes. Here is how it works: each bridesmaid has  a different style of gown but in  the exact same  color and length. If you can find the same fabric, that’s even better – but don’t let this tiny detail deter you when selecting the dress.

Custom gown- If the bridesmaid gown you have chosen does not come in larger sizes, many bridal salons  have the capability to make a custom gown of the exact same style and fabric for a larger bridesmaid. Same fabric, same style, same everything. The upside is that the gown will almost always be exactly the same as the others, the downside is that it will probably double the price. Other factors are that  (as the bridesmaid) you will not know how you look in the gown until it is in production and all sales are final. Sometimes this is the absolute best option and everyone is ecstatic with the outcome.

No matter which option you choose as a bride or bridesmaid, consider these tips:

Fit - Most women do not want to be squeezed into a dress like a tube of toothpaste regardless of their size but it is especially important if you have an ample figure. Leave a little wiggle room by ordering the larger size and you won’t regret it.

Style: Find a gown that has an empire waist, fuller skirt or other components that are not too restricting.  Plunging necklines can sometimes bring the eye away from trouble areas and enhance the face but, remember that a bigger bustline  has disadvantages, too. Make sure everyone is comfortable with how much cleavage is exposed as this could be a personal catastrophe if there is not enough coverage. Absolutely avoid strapless.

Fabric - Avoid super-shiny satin and stiff taffeta. Find fabrics that move like chiffon, crepe and charmeuse. After you sit down in a tight satin dress you will stand up to a wrinkled mess.

Undergarments- Girdles are a thing of the past!  However, Spanx and other similar undergarments can provide not only some help smoothing out trouble areas but also help the dress fit better. If your bustline is the bigger problem, make sure you get a suitable bra that offers comfort as well as support. Better yet – find a one piece bodysuit that has the bra built in! Comfort and support are the key elements. The right undergarments will vastly improve the way you look and feel in your bridesmaid gown.

 Designers finally figured out that beautiful bridesmaids come in all sizes and offer gorgeous gowns in every shape, size and price range. You don’t have to break the bank and you don’t have to settle for anything less than fabulous!

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago

Bridesmaids: Hot Looks for Spring 2011

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 Long gone are the days that bridesmaid gowns are  frothy, tacky or downright drab. It used to be impossible to find anything fashionable and that whole ”You can  wear it again” was unimaginable. The worst part was that  trying to find something that looked good on everyone, almost assured  that it looked good on not one of them!

The designers and trendsetters heard the cries of the collective masses and as a result, attendants today have many choices. Wait until you see what they have in store for Spring 2011. Lets take a look at whats hot in bridesmaid attire!

Halter  Necklines – A Halter top is defined by a single strap that goes around the neck and offers support. Some Halter styles can be worn with a bra so you have added comfort. When fitting halter top, the strap should be just snug enough to hold the gown top properly in place but not so tight as to leave a mark on the skin. They can tie, hook or be one solid piece of fabric, it doesn’t matter. There are a lot of different halter necklines – pick the one you are the most comfortable with.

Tea Length Dresses – This style took over in the late 1980′s when bridesmaid gowns began to be more fashionable and wearable. The key word is began, it took well into the 90′s to perfect the tea length look. Tea length is defined as any hemline below the knee and above the ankle. Preferably lower calf,  10-14″ from the floor. This is the perfect look for an afternoon wedding.  

One  Shoulder - A very dramatic effect that looked so great on Princes Diana  she wore this style often. Most notably wearing Versace on the cover of Vanity Fair in 1997. Draped, tied or embellished with a brooch or flower, a one-shouldered gown is sure to turn heads. This style will look good on more figure types than any other neckline style and in floor length is an excellent choice for a formal wedding.

Fabric that moves, that flows and almost has its own personality. Fabric can make or break the style of a gown, using the wrong fabric can be a cardinal sin. Fabric, when chosen carefully, is it’s own distinct style element. This year’s biggest, hottest trend is beautifully draped or flowing chiffon, smooth charmeuse as soft as butter, anything that moves or flows. The most figure flattering fabrics, there is a reason why they are so popular right now. Short or long; any time of day or night –  a flowing chiffon, jersey or charmeuse gown will be flattering to most figures a pleasure for the bridesmaid’s to wear.

Click on the link below to see our couture runway fashion show where we feature the hottest styles in bridal and bridesmaids gowns. Then, call 847-428-3320 to get tickets to a show in your area so  you can experience the fashion firsthand.

http://www.bridalshowexpo.com/fos_video_bride.html?PHPSESSID=839398b20e94b837f10134e3b6e71bd9

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago