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

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

Lazaro Perez-Designer for Lazaro and Tara Keely

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Lazaro's Personal Appearance at Macy's Bridal Salon

Lazaro's Personal Appearance at Macy's Bridal Salon

Our good friend Christopher Dillon, Manager of Macy’s Bridal Salon State Street, invited two of our members of our Fashion Department to spend some time at the bridal salon to view the Fall 2010 Lazaro and Tara Keely Bridal Collections during this past weekend’s trunk show.  We had an opportunity to meet Lazaro and discuss his visions for his collections and talk all things bridal.  What struck us the most about this renowned designer is his relaxed and grounded persona.  Soft spoken, confident, and truly enthusiastic about every bride he worked with earlier in the day.

Lazaro has been designing since the late 1990′s and has been known for awarding winning designs incorporating his talent in the use of hand beading and embroidery.  His designs are ultra-glamorous and elegant.  His Fall 2010 collection is every bride’s dream come true with exquisite designs incorporating lace, organza, silk and antique beading.  The structure and fit are superb. And he has not allowed his ego to out shine his collection which unfortunately is not necessarily the case with other designers we’ve encountered.  With Lazaro, you know in an instant that his love for his work and his dedication to creating beautiful gowns for brides is a passion that is as much alive in his eyes today as it was when he first started nearly 15 years ago.  Bravo!  For more information; visit www.lazaro.com or to find the nearest retailer who carries the Lazaro and Tara Keely brands.  A division of JLM Couture.  To book an appointment at Macy’s Bridal Salon, call (312) 781-3545. Ask for Theresa or Christopher.