Modern Cinderella – It’s All About The Shoe

If you missed it, Disney just re-released Cinderella on Blu-ray DVD.  This quintessential fairy tale originally brought to life by Walt Disney in 1950 is more popular than ever… not so much because women are looking for the perfect man to rescue them from their humdrum lives but,  because the modern Cinderella continues the quest for the perfect shoe!!!

Even better, Disney partnered with shoe design guru, Christian Louboutin to bring the famed glass slipper to life. The Louboutin version is made of netting instead of glass for obvious reasons but the sparkling Swarovski crystals remind you of the delicate and reflective nature of glass. You will have a hard time finding them since there are only 20 pair of these remarkable shoes being made and are being ‘given away’ in various Disney promotions around the globe.

As if that is not enough,  Christian Louboutin (himself) makes his acting debut in a short film entitled “The Magic of the Glass Slipper: A Cinderella Story ” which is a bonus feature on the recent re-released DVD. The story is cute, sweet, simple and very short. I won’t spoil it but, you can watch it here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LRbsTwBHMTo

Congratulations Mr. Louboutin for a job well done, Walt Disney himself would be proud!

Feeling like Cinderella and can’t find the right sparkly shoe to fit your budget or your sole? Princess Bridal Shoes can turn just about any ordinary shoe into a show stopper!

 

 

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago

Wedding Shoes – Summer Favorites

There is something very special about the relationship between women and their shoes. For me, it is red shoes; anything from a light, orange-y red to a burgundy red, from a smooth patent leather to a buttery suede, I gasp every time! For wedding shoes it goes double. Almost as important as the gown is what to put on your feet. Because the right shoe will give you every reason to slightly lift the corner of your ball gown and show everyone your sassy little secret! If I had known then what I know now, I would have gladly worn red shoes on my wedding day … whether anyone noticed or not.

Without hesitation here are the hottest trends for wedding shoes for Summer 2012:

Bedazzled: Flawless, shimmering stones adorn shoes in every size, color and style. Whether completely encrusted with jewels, or merely a hint of sparkle  – get a pair and you won’t be sorry.

The Wedge – Once considered a casual style, the wedge has made it’s way into Bridal Fashion through sheer determination. That, and the fact that a wedge is probably one of the most comfortable styles of shoe if you plan to be on your feet for an extended period of time. You can have comfort and style!

 

Platform –  To add height, elongate your legs and feel like a showgirl, platforms are a fantastic solution. I various shapes, size styles and colors, platforms are everywhere!!!

Designer – The unprecedented success of the Christian Louboutin ‘red sole’ has seen an increase in designer shoe sales.  Ladies, if you allow yourself  one splurge, this should be it!!

Color – Brides everywhere are embracing the color trend and using it to express their individuality, style and love of shoes. My favorite? Something Red, or maybe even something Blue!

Can’t decide which trend is best for you? You don’t have to! This sparkle, wedge, platform, designer shoe by Benjamin Adams is dyeable in a multitude of colors and priced at under $400 retail, you don’t have to break the bank!

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago

 

 

Bridesmaid Shoes – Putting Your Best Foot Forward

Start a conversation with any woman about shoes and you will quickly see a sparkle in her eye. Shoes can singlehandedly change the look of your outfit from quirky to classy, seductive to sassy, casual to elegant. Hard to believe but, it’s true – diamond’s may be a girls’ best friend but, shoes are a close second and they are most definitely the window to  her soul. For many years bridesmaids were asked to take a swatch from the bridesmaid gown  to the store where they would buy a pair of (probably not very cute or comfortable) dye-able shoes, the shoes were supposed to match the gown exactly and believe me… when they were a bit off, the bride would have a fit. Seriously… a fit!  No matter how great the dress was, the bridesmaids would inevitable roll their eyes when the discussion turned to the bridesmaid shoe. Times have changed and now the shoe takes center stage as the single most important accessory for bridesmaids.

How to find the perfect bridesmaid shoe:

Just as you would take the ladies to a salon to try on bridesmaid gowns and find the one dress they all feel or look good wearing, you should do the same with shoes. This is easier than you think since so many salons carry shoes, plus if you are already together, it would make sense to stop by a shoe store, wedding accessory store or your favorite department store as a group and see who can walk in the shoes you all agree look best. There will be some compromising and just as with the bridesmaid dress, you have to have a good idea of what you want before you walk into the store.

Do not get distracted by questions like “Can I wear these again”. That is not the point.  The point is if they will be wearable for this one day, this one event, this one moment in time where they will be photographed endlessly and talked about for eternity.

Be creative with your shoe choices. The current theme is eclectic when it comes to bridesmaid shoes. Think about the brides who choose to have the bridesmaid shoes match their bouquet, the shoes that match another color in the wedding the shoes that are a bright contrasting color but all match one another. Do not have each girl pick a different color shoe of the same style. It might sound adorable  but, the photos do not lie and it winds up looking like everyone got a sidetracked  at a rainbow shoe sale. 

No cork heels. Even of the shoe is sparkly and sassy and expensive. There may be some exceptions like a garden wedding with flirty floral bridesmaid gowns or a beach affair with  a strappy sundress. However, if you have any doubts that a cork heel is too casual – don’t do it. Instead, try a wedge heel which can transition from casual to dressy depending upon the material of the shoe and the style.

Consider making the shoes  their wedding gift. This will ease the pain of having to buy a pair of shoes they may not wear ever again. Instead of begrudgingly having to spring for a pair of pink stilettos, they will be happy to have an extra pair of ‘friends’ in their closet, even ones that they might only wear once a year.

Stay away from strappy shoes. Shoes with thin straps, even if they are made of good quality leather, will definitely hurt by the end of the ceremony and most likely cause blisters by the end of the night. The best solution is to find a less ‘strappy’ version of a similar shoe…. or remember to bring a ton of band-aids, you will need them.

Don’t let the price fool you. More expensive shoes are made of higher quality materials, they have designer labels and are packaged, handled, marketed and sold more exclusively. However, a $800 pair of bridesmaid shoes can still hurt your feet. If you ask your bridesmaids to buy expensive shoes, be extra careful to ensure they are comfortable for everyone. 

Study your shoe designers and the way they fit before you set your heart on something to avoid being disappointed. Stuart Weitzman shoes are much narrower, Manolo Blahnik have shorter vamp, and the list goes on. FYI – toe overhang is the eighth deadly sin.

If you spend a little time doing research, listen to the bridesmaids concerns and stay within your budget, the shoes you help select will be a fashion statement, a great photo op, a conversation point and the perfect accessory for your entire bridal party.

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wedding Shoes – The Sky’s the Limit!

Today’s brides know they don’t have to wear the same boring white bridal pumps or have them dyed off -white to match their gown. In addition, the bridesmaids don’t have to wear the same shoes,  either.

Shoes are a fashion statement all their own. The wrong shoe can destroy a gorgeous outift. The right shoe can bring a boring ensemble to life and steal the show. As long as we are talking about it;  it is never a good idea to let your shoe  be either something borrowed or something old. The shoes you choose for your wedding day should be comfortable, stylish and new… and yours.

Comfortable AND stylish? How is that possible? I’m glad you asked! If you never follow any other advice – this is the ONLY shoe advice you will ever need and it works for every occasion. Buy shoes that fit and are comfortable on your foot. The end.

Do not buy shoes a size bigger thinking your feet will swell. They will be uncomfortable and leave blisters.

Do not buy shoes that are too high or low for you to walk in gracefully. You might fall.

DO wear the shoes around the house. Scuff the soles on the sidewalk, wear them while doing some work around the house (inside) and break them in properly before you take the biggest step of your life in ill-fitting shoes and risk having sore feet to prove it.

If you never wear high heels, do not wear high heels for your wedding. Find a lower profile heel to wear that looks good on your foot and fits comfortably.  Try Kitten heels. Kitten heels are small, slender heel no more than 2″. The placement of the heel is directly in the center of the back of the foot so they provide excellent support for larger boned women and allow less pressure to be placed on the ball of the foot. Walk around the shoe store, if you are still wobbly – then don’t buy them and proceed directly to flats. Flats are exactly what they sound like – flat shoes with no heel or a heel less than 1/2 “. They are also sometimes called Ballerina slippers but, they aren’t.

If a medium heel is wearable for you but, you just can’t find a comfortable fit – consider a wedge. The wedge shoe provides tons of support for feet that must endure a wedding marathon. Also great for outdoor events because if the wide base, unless you would like to aerate the yard with your stilettos.  

If you have found a pair of shoes that you love, the heel is a little high and  and must have these shoes, buy them. Then buy a second pair of shoe for the reception.. lower heels or flats. Do not wear birkenstocks or Uggs or crocs. I will find you. Which brings me to my next point – do not take your shoes off at the reception. My absolute worst nightmare is seeing bridesmaids and female guests ditch their shoes at a reception and hit the dance floor in bare (sometimes still stocking-clad) feet! I understand that wearing 3 or 4 inch heels for several hours can be torture on a woman’s feet.  I understand that at the end of the night you just want to take your shoes off and give your arches and instep a break. The end of the night, however, is after you are back home or in your hotel room. The reception is still part of the wedding and I am begging you to keep your shoes on. If the shoe doesn’t fit, you must not quit…. there are attractive, comfortable options to baring your soles.

Are you ready for the fun part? If you can wear heels, high heels, the higher the better, then you are a lucky woman. Shoes today are glamorous, sexy, higher than ever and still comfortable. The platform shoes are towering up to 4 1/2 ‘ but are still wearable, seriously. I can go into instep ratio and all kinds of other things but, basically there are no rules.  Flowers, feathers, jewels, buckles -whatever you like, there is a shoe out there just for you!

Don’t rule out color ! Ever since Sarah Jessica Parker donned those famous blue Manolo Blahniks as Carrie Bradshaw in the movie version of Sex in the City, brides from near and far embraced the idea of mixing it up with all kinds of color on their feet.

Whats your style? Conservative, classic or funky? Bridal Expo has dozens of accessory salons who specialize in bridal and bridesmaid footwear, call 847-428-3320 today to get tickets to a show in your area. Take a moment to visit some of our vendors’ websites and you most definitely  find the perfect fit!

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago

Ten Trends We Loved in 2011

From luxury shoes to cultural influences, 2011 brought us some of the best trends in wedding and reception styles that we have seen in a long time. Many people this year have been booking their venues with Tradewinds Hotel. Brides and grooms channeling their own personal style, incorporating pop culture and following the advice of well-known wedding stylists have embraced these styles above all others.

1) Two Gowns. Having a gown for the wedding and a separate, less formal gown for the reception is not only acceptable, it has become extremely popular since Kate Middleton embraced this trend last  April.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2) Aisle Runners. Custom aisle runners have become the latest must-have. Available in an array of colors, monograms, styles, this is a trend that is going to explode in 2012.

 

 

3) Flash Mob. Having the entire wedding party take part in a choreographed but, seemingly impromptu dance is a big hit and makes a great wedding video.

 

4) Headbands.  Smooth, sleek, spectacular and sparkly, the headband was the headpiece of choice. The number one reason is that a great headband will look good with any hairstyle.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5) Going Green. Couples have taken note of environmental concerns and continue to place the future of our planet among their top priorities and are willing to pay more for green, eco-friendly products.

 

6) Culture. Couples are infusing their cultural heritage into the entire event from start to finish. Blending cultures, food, dance, music makes a warm welcome to all members of the family.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

7) Luxury. Couples are cutting back on non-essentials to spend more on luxury items. Figure out what is important to you and spend the money there, whether it is food, top shelf liquor from https://www.bullfrogwineandspirits.com, an exceptional cake, Bvlgari cufflinks or a couture gown – you will never regret treating yourself to something fabulous and tasteful.

 

 

 

 

8 )  Shoes. The bridal shoe has gone from ordinary to extraordinary, explaining why brides everywhere are so excited about their shoe; wearing color, over-the-top sparkly platforms and opting for fabulous designer shoes for their wedding.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

9) Less is more. Classic Black & white photography,  monochromatic decor, engraved invitations. The classics never die and and ‘”Simple”  is a style statement that needs no explanation. You won’t see any leopard prints here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

10) Seating. One of the best trends in receptions is the ‘conversation area’.  Beautiful furniture to match your decor, arranged  in the bar area to give the appearance of a lounge. The benefits are endless; in addition to adding an element of style, you provide an area other than the table for guests to meet and mingle.

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago

 

Wedding Shoe Blues

No matter what you do, no matter what shoes you buy for your wedding day, your feet will be sore by the end of the night. Unless, of course, you are used to standing ( in heels) for at least 10 hours. According to the Wedding Report, brides spend an average of $94 on shoes for their wedding. Consider this: Kim Kardashian had 3 pair of Guiseppe Zanotti shoes at roughly $900 each.  How much you spend is not nearly as important as the style, fit and comfort.

There are several ways to avoid the wedding shoe blues and I have compiled the these tips to guide you through the process.

1) Buy shoes in the height you are used to wearing. Buy them in the most comfortable size. If you wear a 7.5 – 8, go with the bigger size to allow for swollen feet. Not so big that your feet are falling out.

2) Do not take your shoes off after the wedding – your gown will be dragging and your feet will expand, rendering your shoes unwearable.

3) Buy a second ( even more comfortable) pair of shoes to wear for the reception. This will ensure that your feet do not fall victim to blisters.

4) Break them in. Wear them for at least one hour per day for a week, more if it is feasible. Wear them around the house while vacuuming, to the mailbox to check the mail. Breaking them in will alleviate the pressure points and also scuff the soles a little so you won’t slip and fall.

5) Wedges have more supprot and are less likely to cause foot pain. 

6) If your toes are cramped, pinched or there is even one spot where the shoe rubs your foot the wrong way, buy something else. 

7) Wedding shoes do not have to be white. Pick a color, any color. My favorite is to use the shoe as “something blue”.

8) You do not have to spend a fortune to find beautiful shoes. But if you decide to spend a little more money to get shoes made of natural materials, the shoes will be more comfortable. Leather beats plastic every time.

What are brides choosing in 2012? Metallics are big and so are studded shoes but, brides will always be looking for something that is comfortable enough to wear all night.

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago

Counterfeit Couture – How To Avoid Fakes

In difficult economic times most people look to save a few dollars on the pricier items they need for their wedding. Since the average wedding gown costs about $1500, I would estimate that the average designer gown is about $3000. Although this seems like a great place to shave off a few dollars, it is also the place where you are most likely to be scammed when you don’t know what you are looking for.

Designer merchandise is more expensive for several reasons; a lot of time has been put into  fit, fabrics and materials are higher quality and the construction is considerably better. Considering that almost all ‘replica’ merchandise is made in China, that should tell you something.

Christian Louboutin shoes  are extremely popular right now and are about the easiest fakes to recognize. For a while, the flagship store sold the designer shoes with a baby blue sole to represnt the ‘something blue’ for brides.  If you are thinking of purchasing a pair of those rare limited edition blue soled shoes, I can offer no help as I have not seen the real or fake in person. However, the red soled Louboutins have a shiny red, flexible sole with no other color present. Fakes almost always have a thin black band at the shoe part of the sole, have a matte finish and are more stiff than the real ones. Another hint is that the back of an aunthentic Louboutin will have a smooth, straight seam with no tab or overlap. I just finished reading a shopping alert telling the story of  unscrupulous shoppers  who buy, wear and return merchandise all the time. Here’s how it works: they buy the real shoes and return the fakes. Many times the unsuspecting store employees don’t even know the difference until it is too late. Can you imagine buying a $700 pair of shoes and getting dime-store knock-offs? The word furious comes to mind, along with a few others.

Designer Bridal Gowns –Tags means nothing. A long, long time ago I used to work in a salon where we removed every tag from every sample gown the minute they arrived… I still don’t know why. The point is that we had (on hand) large containers jam-packed with authentic designer labels. If someone were not honest, they cold pass off a replica as authentic simply by sewing this into the gown of an uneducated consumer. I do not know of any reputable salon that engages in this practice but, if someone were so inclined- it is very easy to accomplish.  The best way to spot a fake is to see it in person, ask to see the sample and compare as many of the details as you can. The best way to avoid this in the first place is to shop  only with authorized retailers of the gowns you select. Contact the designer or look on their website for recommended retailers in your area. An even better way to avoid this is to purchase your gown at a trunk show where the designer or a representative is present.

Accessories –Headpieces and jewelry are harder to spot since they are not as often copied. Shop on the internet if you will, but purchase in person. When you come across a high end headpiece or jewelry designer like Maria Elena or Cheryl King you will want to make sure you are getting what  you pay for. Again, ask for an authorized dealer in your area and avoid the internet.

Purses –Glad you asked. Purses are the most often copied merchandise and the hardest to spot. It is all in the details. Sloppy stitches, buckled material, crooked stones are all signs of a fake. If you are buying a Judith Leiber bag, remember they DO NOT have serial numbers embossed like other designer bags. They are lined with leather, usually silver or gold metallic and the stones are sizes 7-12.

WORST OFFENDERS: The internet is a hotbed of fraud. Anything that seems too good to be true, probably is. If you care about the label, about the construction, fit and fabric, purchase only from  a reputable retailer. This is true for any of your wedding merchandise. Ebay has cracked down on counterfeit merchandise, at one time hosting hundreds of counterfeit items claiming to be real. Now the counterfeit items have to be sold as such. There are some legitimate, authentic designer items for sale on the internet but these items are usually  samples or have been previously worn or used. Know what condition the item is in before you buy.

How to avoid fakes:

Remember- You get what you pay for.

Never buy an item missing tags or labels.

Always purchase from a reputable, authorized dealer.

If you think you have been sold counterfeit designer merchandise, contact your state’s attorney general and file a report. Make sure you have all pertinent information including date and point of purchase, name of seller and the form of payment used. You may also have recourse through the credit card company if you purchased using  a credit card.

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago

If the Shoe Fits – Buy It!

If diamonds are a girl’s best friend, shoes are her lover. Closer to your heart than any other accessory,  more personal and more complicated than any one piece of clothing. This makes buying shoes for your wedding very tricky. You want to wear the 4 inch platform pumps that you fell in love with but, can you manage those shoes for this long period of time?  You want to be stylish and comfortable at the same time but, it doesn’t always work out that way. There may have to be some compromise. 

The trend toward self-service has led to an unfortunate side-effect: not knowing what size shoe you should buy. Almost 20% of all women do not buy the correct size shoe so it is important before you set your heart on a pair of shoes that are not suited for your feet, have your foot properly sized up. In addition to the actual shoe size you will want to make note of the width of your foot and (oddly enough) the length of your toes and the arch.

Buying shoes that fit:

 If you put on a sandal and it feels comfortable but your toes are hanging over the front, the shoe is too small.

If you are trying on a  pair of mules and the back of your foot hangs over the back of the shoe, they are too small.

If the shoe has more than 1/2 inch of space between the end of your toes and the end of the shoe, it might not be the right size or style.

If you can’t wiggle your toes, move on. The ‘toe box’ area should have enough room to wiggle your toes.

If there is space around the back of your heel, this might not be the right style for you.

Consider a wedge heel since it offeres more support for the entire foot.

If you are not comprtable wearing 3 or 4″ heels, don’t buy them for your wedding day. You will be miserable all day long. Try a kitten heel instead.

Dont buy shoes that are snug thinking you can break them in to fit your foot. They should fit comfortably at the time of purchase.

Always try on shoes in the aftenoon or evening. You’ve been walking around all day and your feet are more likely to let you know what feels good or bad.

Do wear the shoes a few times to avoid getting blisters from any new stress points. This will relax them a bit and although it will not change the siez, they will feel more comfortable on your wedding day.

To really avoid foot pain for your wedding, consider buying a second pair of shoes that are attractive and more comfortable. At  he point when your feet become exhausted you can inconspicuously change into the other pair to provide yourself some relief.For the second pair of shoes, select something  that will be comfortable for dancing.

Just like clothing, shoes are made differently and cut for different shapes of feet. A pair of size 7 shoes can fit two pair of size 7  feet very  differently. Talk to the salesperson about how that brand runs. Stuart Weitzman are notoriously narrow and  even buying a bigger size won’t solve that problem.

Style does not have to be thrown out the window to be comfortable if you shop smart and if the shoe fits…… BUY IT!

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago