Tuxedo Troubles… What To Do!?

Every now and then some well intended couple decides the groomsmen should wear a non-traditional tuxedo. You know, something edgy and fun and interesting (to them) and something that most men would never wear in a million years.

In no particular order, some mistakes to avoid when trying to be creative:

Colored tuxedos. Chocolate is not the new black. It is brown and not everyone looks good in or cares to wear brown. Aside from Psy, not many people are wearing colored tuxedo jackets, either. Look for this ‘Gangnam Style’ tuxedo jacket to surge in popularity. Cute for a music video, but not so much for a wedding.

Colored shirts. There is only one color for  tuxedo shirts and that is white. Not peach, blue, red, orange, you get the idea.

Hats. There is no need for a groom or any one of his make attendants to wear a tophat or a bowler or a fedora. They may wind up looking like this:

Last but not least – ruffles. Ruffled shirts are retro ( to say the least) but don’t really have a place at weddings in 2012. Save them for Halloween and awkward family photos.

When shopping for tuxedos, the best thing to remember is: “The classics never die”. Be creative with the tie, the studs and boutonniere and leave the tuxedo alone.

 

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago

Trends in Wedding Accessories

Years ago, brides didn’t have to worry much about what kind of jewelry to wear on their wedding day, it was your mother’s pearls and a pair of diamond earrings and there were not too many other choices. Today’s brides have so many choices, it is sometimes overwhelming to try to narrow it down.

In the 1980’s when my career in bridal fashion began, the motto was “More is better”. Turns out, that was not so true, after all. Looking at bridal portraits from the 1980’s with giant poufy veils, shoulder dusting earrings, gigantic cluster necklaces and the chunky, beaded headbands or (God Forbid) huge bow on the back of the head, you have to ask “What were you (we) thinking?”.

The 1990’s saw a departure from the lavish accessories and designers made specific matching bridal jewlery sets of earrings and necklaces that incorporated the same type of stones or jewels as the dress. The tiara was in and the poufs were out… big time!  By comparison, the 90’s were dull. The motto was “Less is more” and brides across the board adapted this as their mantra.

 

The most recent trend is probably the most fun and exciting, “Be Yourself!”  Sashes encrusted with crystals of varying colors, beautifully crafted vintage inspired earrings with clear or colored stones, large bracelets of small stones and necklaces of every size, shape and dimension imaginable.  Instead of copying a look from a magazine, brides are making their own fashion statement with the use of accessories in every shape and form. It’s exciting, it’s fresh and it is NOW!

Tips to avoid over-accessorizing:

If your earrings are longer than 2″, you might not need a necklace.

If you can afford it, diamonds never go out of style. A simple diamond choker (and earrings) looks as good now as it did fifty years ago.

Choose your style according to the theme. If it is boho, vintage or hollywood glam, stick to it and don’t try to bring in an unrelated peice…. it will throw off the overall look.

Necklaces should be comfortable against the skin. If you have extremely sensitive skin, some costume jewelry may cause an unflattering reaction.

Your headpiece should fit easily into your hairstyle, don’t force it. Not every headpiece works in every type of hair,

Beware of bracelets that snag the fabric of your dress. Test bracelets next to a pice of clothing to see if they are too grabby.

Remember, accessories should accent your overall look, not overpower it.  Have fun with your choices but, remember that your wedding day look should be timeless, whether it is 1953 or 2012.

 

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago

Celebrity Weddings – Summer 2012

This season, we have seen a slew of celebrity weddings and summer isn’t over yet! Still awaiting my save-the-date for Angelina and Brad’s nuptials but, for now I’ll re-cap what we’ve seen so far. The most interesting trend in celebrity nuptials is the private ceremony in a remote location, usually a friend’s home far away form paparazzi, far from the helicopters and the multi-million dollar fiasco reminiscent of the Kardashian debacle of 2011, these power couples opted for quiet, romantic, heartfelt nuptials.

Natalie Portman wore Rodarte for her simple candlelight ceremony to Benjamin Millipied.

Natalie Portman Wedding Dress

Ellie Kemper in NYC headed to the altar wearing Judd Waddell.

Mrs. Alec Baldwin, Hilaria Thomas, wearing Amsale for her early summer nuptials also in NYC.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Priscilla Chen chose this stunning  Claire Pettibone gown under an assumed name, assuming marrying MArk Zuckerberg might raise a few eyebrows… and alert the media.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Drew Barrymore opted for an unusual design by Chanel. This is a love or hate gown, for sure.

Camila Alves  wore a delicate beaded lace wedding gown handmade by Brazilian dress designer Ducarmo Castelo Branco. Alright, alright, alright!

Best Wishes to all of the happy couples of Summer 2012!

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago

 

Weddings Are Not Casual Friday

The other day my son asked me why men used to wear suits to baseball games. Isn’t it interesting that even a 9 yr old noticed that people don’t dress properly anymore?  There have been those occasions when I wear pajamas to drop my kids off at school in the morning, knowing I am not getting out of the car but, if my foot steps out onto the pavement you had better believe that I am fully dressed in a (somewhat) presentable fashion.  Which is why it is so odd to me that when I go to a wedding, I always see someone underdressed. In order to help you understand how to be the perfectly dressed guest at a wedding, I have put together some guidelines: 

Daytime Casual –  does not mean wear jeans and flip-flops. Wedding casual is different from ‘running to the grocery store’ casual. Wedding Casual means you could get by with a floral dress, sweater and skirt set, or even a sundress (weather permitting). For men open necked shirts with no tie are perfectly acceptable, in fact a nicer Hawaiian shirt for a beachfront venue is striking.  Men and women both need to take note of the location of the wedding – if it is beach or grass, make sure you are wearing shoes that can handle nature without aerating the soil or sinking into the sand. For evening casual just kick it up a notch -no need to break out your finest but, perhaps a touch of sparkle wouldn’t hurt, either. Always keep the setting in mind.

 Semi- Formal – Dress as if you were headed to the theater. A flirty cocktail dress and heels, or a dressy pantsuit. You want to be comfortable, able to move easily and to dance, of course. Avoid long dresses, it is too formal. For men- your suit  doesn’t have to be  black even though it is always a safe choice. You can also wear a blazer and slacks as long as you have a tie.

Black Tie Optional – this indicates that you can go  formal if you want, but you don’t have to. Women can wear a dress that is long or short, as long as it indicates elegance. Some beads and/or sequins are acceptable. Men can wear a tuxedo or a nice dark suit.

Black Tie – this is when you can bring out your finest and not feel over-dressed. If the invitation says Black Tie – its time to bring out the beads; beaded accessories,shoes,  sparkly earrings and perhaps a long silk wrap you have tucked away in a closet somewhere. Although in the past long dresses were required, it is acceptable to wear tea-length gowns but, avoid  short cocktail gowns. Dress as if you were invited to aPresidential Inaguration Ball or the Academy Awards!  For men it simple: Wear a tuxedo. Wear the tux with studs and bow tie and don’t forget to shine your patent leather shoes since no tuxedo is really a tuxedo without the right shoes.

 If the invitation does not specify what type of event it is, look for clues so you aren’t over or (God forbid) under-dressed. The venue, the type of invitation, the time of day will all give you insight into what you should be wearing. If all else fails, call the bride or groom (if you feel comfortable) or a close member of the wedding party.

The most important thing is to feel comfortable in your choice. If you can’t move, sit or eat one bite – you will be miserable not able to enjoy this lovely event!

For more great tips and ideas on weddings, be sure to get tickets to one of our bridal shows in your area. Call 847-428-3320 for complimentary tickets to show in  your area.

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago

 

 

The Gloves Are Off… Or Are They?

Has anyone else noticed that no one seems to wear gloves anymore? I’m not talking about the First Lady, the Queen of England or debutantes, since women of that social stature always seem to be appropriately gloved.  I’m talking about bridal and semi-formal attire, Sunday best and special occasions. I know gloves are old school and seem kind of prissy to some but,  I couldn’t agree less! I think the right glove with the right outfit is a spectacular fashion statement.

Women have been wearing gloves for about 400 years. During Victorian times it was considered ‘improperly alluring’ for a woman to remove her gloves in public. In fact, it is completely impossible to overemphasize the importance of gloves in fashion prior to the middle of the 20th century. Which is why it is so surprising that they have been absent in mainstream fashion for so long.

In the 1980’s bridal gowns were almost always featured with gloves and bridesmaids often wore gloves that were dyed to match… just like the dye-able shoes. I can recall countless conversations with concerned brides about how to handle the ring portion of the ceremony when gloves are involved.  Now only the most formal weddings would require gloves and brides have almost forgotten that they were once a wedding wardrobe staple. So imagine my surprise yesterday when I was browsing through  several photos from  acclaimed bridal and formal wear designer, Yumi Katsura, and there they were…. the gloves! Of course she matched the short, organza gloves and the full length satin opera gloves to the appropriate gowns so they perfectly accented  the overall look of the ensemble. I was stunned at how perfect they looked and excited that maybe gloves are making a comeback. If you want to give gloves a try, there are some things to remember:

Short, wrist length gloves work best with tea-length or informal gowns

Opera Length gloves are designed for gowns with exposed arms; halter, strapless, one shoulder. They should not fit so tightly around the upper arm that they cause skin to roll over and look flabby. The glove should be fitted tightly up to the elbow and looser at the top.

Gauntlets are fingerless gloves. They can be straight around the wrist or come to a ‘V’ pointing to the ring finger, attached by a  loop of elastic to keep them in place.

Gloves are not recommended for gowns with long sleeves.

If you decide to go ‘Old School Glamorous” for your wedding and wear gloves, remember that you do NOT have to keep them on the entire night; definitely remove them before eating and at this point you can leave them off if you want.  Of course you might want to slip them back on for the first dance, for some truly romantic  photos.

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Whats Under Your Gown?

The right undergarments can make or break any outfit and this goes double for your bridal ensemble. Visible panty lines, underwires poking at you or too-tight corsets can be unattractive as well as uncomfortable. The truth is that your wedding gown will look fit and feel better if you have the right undergarments.  Which ones are right for you? It depends on your figure type, the gown and what is comfortable to you. Whatever you purchase, make sure it is of good quality to ensure it will last and that it is comfortable against your skin.

After you have selected  your bridal gown, take several pictures of it – close-ups of where it sits and how it fits so that you can use these for reference when undergarment shopping.  After your gown is ordered and you wait for it to arrive is the perfect time to start shopping for undergarments  since you want to have all of your undergarments for your first fitting.

If you need to wear a bra with your gown it should be smooth the the lowest point of the waistline. Sometimes called a Merry Widow or a Corset, this type of undergarment can offer you a smooth line and hold you in just a bit so your gown is not as tight against you. The gown should zip easily and smoothly against the undergarment, you should not be squeezing your body into the gown. This will prevent the zipper bursting which is a real problem with nylon invisible zippers. For a super-sexy look find one that has garters which will make it easier to wear hosiery. Having pantyhose, underwear and a corset all together is impossible to navigate in the bathroom and the garter system is designed to make removing underpants easier.  Tip: for a gown that has smooth fabric on the bodice do not get a lace corset or the lace may show through. Lace bra for lace gown, satin bra for satin gown. 

For a gown with a plunging ‘V’ neckline in front (or back) you will either go bra-less,  have cups sewn into the gown or wear silicone bust pads. Since the exterior of the pad is made of kind of sticky material the silicone bust pads stick to your skin and keep the gown in place without sewing. They can be re-used several times. Having cups sewn into the gown eliminates and worry of slippage and can be used in almost any gown. The bonus is that it will add a little dimension if you are smaller in the bust and would like to add some ‘depth’.

 If you have a body hugging gown that is made of smooth fabric, make sure there are no VPL (visible panty lines). Did Pippa have VPL? I think not! If you choose a thong make sure it has a smooth wide band and not a small tight elastic. You can wear spanx which smooth out any lumps or bumps but make sure the spanx end where there is a seam so it will not cut you off at the waist or even under the bust causing a ripple.

Last but not least – don’t forget the petticoat! A good crinoline slipe will keep the gown from getting tangled around your legs, make the dress look just like it does in the magazine and will add fullness to the gown. Get the same silhouette for the slip as the gown; for am ermaid gown you will need a mermaid slip, for a tea length gown, get a tea length slip and for an extra full skirt  – get an extra full slip.

Proper undergarments are an unexpected expense so make sure you budget for this. It can also be an unexpected treat when the the gown is removed later!

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago

 

The Must-Have Color for 2012? …… Tangerine Tango!

The Pantone Institute has issued their trend report for 2012 and the must-have color for all things beautiful is Tangerine Tango. Pantone is an American company that has been producing standardized color matching systems since 1963 for fashion, art, graphic design and commercial use. If you are wondering how this is relevant, think of it like this; you go to a store to buy a blouse and the ‘blue’ one really pops out at you. You are afraid to buy it because you will never find anything to match and you will be stuck wearing this blouse with a black skirt until you tire of it. Not to worry, since Pantone’s inception, they have provided color matching to designers who refer to this system to create their new lines. So, that ‘blue’ blouse is really ‘ocean blue’ and you will literally be in a sea of it at every department store. Each color and even multi-colored prints are matched, jewelry is matched and every designer has consulted Pantone to create their collection based on this color  which is found on a fan-out card system just like the ones at the paint store.  Before the Pantone system, grey was grey and blue was blue, you had to match it yourself and Good Luck! You carried a blouse around looking for a print that had even the lightest hint of that color and the search could last longer than the blouse.

Now, thanks to Pantone, every floral designer will have access to Tangerine Tango Ribbon, bridesmaid designers  have Tangerine Tango fabric, accessories will be created to compliment Tangerine Tango. Invitation desingers using Adobe have access to the same Tangerine Tango  in their palette and if you opt for dyed to match shoes, all you have to do is tell the shoe professional “Tangerine Tango” and you will almost certainly be assured a match. Although you may not want to be in Tangerine up to your eyeballs, you will have the option.

So why Tangerine Tango #17-1463?  Tangerine Tango is a spirited reddish orange, which provides the boost needed to recharge and move forward in Spring. Traditionally an Autumnal hue, tangerine has become a year round winner since it is both exotic and friendly, sophisticated and seductive. According to  Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute. “ Reminiscent of the radiant shadings of a sunset, Tangerine Tango marries the vivaciousness and adrenaline rush of red with the friendliness and warmth of yellow, to form a high-visibility, magnetic hue that emanates heat and energy.” The bonus is that Tangerine compliments so many colors; hot pink, lime, yellow, brown! It is hard not to get excited about a color this dynamic.

 

Without further adieu, we present Tangerine Tango in all it’s glory:

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago

Veils, veils and more veils!

Considering the average bride spends $275 on her wedding veil and headpiece, it only seems natural that we examine how bridal head-wear has evolved in the last 100 years.

In the 1920’s it was the cloche hat with a long, heavy lace edged veil attached.

In the early 1930’s it was an even longer veil with little or no lace edge but still attached to a smaller version of the cloche.

In the late 1930’s it evolved to a larger headpiece (not a hat at all) usually paired with a smaller, fingertip veil and no lace edge at all.

In the 1940’s the veil became less significant as women were wearing hats – decorative, embellished and grandiose!

The early 1950’s saw the return of the veil, mostly fingertip or even shorter along with a small hat (of course) and the latter part of the 1950’s was dominated by the return of the lace edge, thanks to Jacqueline Kennedy.

Along comes the 1960’s and the re-invention of the veil. BIG and short and long and wide, along with a pillbox hat or all by itself – the veil was back!

The most popular headpiece throughout the 1970’s was called a Juliet cap which sat on the back of the head with any and all kinds of veil, short or long.

The 1980’s was veil paradise – long veils embellished with sequins and the famous “pouf” which came in layers attached to the back of a headband that usually came to a point in the middle of the forehead, sometimes with a giant teardrop in the center. Or a huge bow on the back of your head with an even huger veil attached. Everything over-embellished bend your imagination.

The 1990’s brought an end to the era of big is better and more is not enough. The headpieces were streamlined just like the gowns and most of the time you would see a woman with nothing more than a silk or some kind of embellished flower on the side of her hair, low in the back with a long simple veil.

At the turn of the century, Tiaras were the headpiece of choice and veils were attached to them in  various ways, almost always so they could be removed after the ceremony and you could wear the headpiece without the veil for the reception.

The current trend in headpieces is crystal headbands and hair ornaments. Most are worn with some sort of detachable veil, some are worn without any kind of veil at all.

The veil has gone through many different changes and stood up to dozens of trends. However, brides across the board seem to agree on one thing: the veil is very important to the overall look and most don’t feel completely dressed for their wedding without it.

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago

All Bridesmaid Gowns Are Not Created Equal

Interestingly, the strapless  trend  (you know, the one that has been lingering around bridal gowns a bit too long) has not had much affect on bridesmaid gowns. Bridesmaid gowns have gone from bad (in the 1970’s) to horrible (1980’s) and then slowly back to good. The early years of the last decade of the 20th century (1991 & 1992) seemed to bring us what we had been searching for… tasteful dresses that look good, made of nice fabrics that can be (dare I say?) worn again. It seemed to happen overnight, designers began producing bridesmaid gowns that were flattering and affordable and since then, bridesmaids everywhere breathed a collective sigh of relief.

That doesn’t solve all the problems since all women are not created equal, some are created ample and some gowns just don’t look good on everyone. So how do you decide on which gown for your nearest and dearest friends when you want them all to look good? When it comes to selecting bridesmaid gowns you only have a couple of choices:

All the same. Same color, same style no matter what.  Best friend is a size 4 and sister is a size 22? Same dress. You have your style laid out and this dress is perfect. You  can make it work. Best bet: Only look at gowns that come in a wide range of sizes and avoid anyting too exposing if you have a larger bridesmaid. 

Same Color, different dress. Give your bridesmaids a choice of which gown to choose as long as they are the same color. T his works well only when you limit the choices to those offered by the same company. Otherwise the color may vary and the fabric may be incompatible, causing it to show up completely different in photos.

There are pros and cons of either but,  haven been given the option of both at various points in my life, the latter option seems to work the best and is also the most popular among brides and their maids. Everyone is happy and comfortable and gets to select a gown she looks good in and feels good wearing. It also takes into account that a larger women will not be comfortable wearing the same thing as a smaller woman. Most importantly it gives everyone the opportunity to have a gown they love and if the planets are aligned properly….wear again.

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago

Big Beautiful Bridesmaids – Finding a Dress That Fits

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