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!

You may click here to shop for men’s undergarments.

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago


Spring 2012 – What’s in Store?

As the New York Bridal market is about to begin, retailers anxiously await the unveiling of the new collections. Color, fabric, cut and style… who will be showing what and which gown will be the one that sets women’s hearts fluttering?

Since the Spring Collections will be available in Bridal Salons in January for the busy season, this is the big one. The trends for 2012 will be defined at the Spring Bridal Market.

My predictions are for more color in Bridesmaid dresses. I firmly believe that women are ready to come out of the dark ages and express themselves with a burst of color, getting away from the  little black bridesmaid dress. The most popular colors? Greens, Oranges, Yellows and Reds. White could be a big color for bridesmaids, having seen several examples of the monochromatic scheme done in spectacular fashion this year!

Continuing the hiatus from extravagant veils, I believe women will  focus more on  glamorous headpieces and more natural hairstyle with lighter veils. Accessories are big. The right necklace and earring can make or break the look  and accessories are a crucial part of the wedding ensemble.

As for Bridal gowns, I think this season is going to show us a lot of tulle. Tulle skirts, big or small will be popular. Also heavily encrusted bodices and perhaps (dare I say) a few designers will produce something other than strapless. The designs will probably first manifest  in the form of spaghetti straps but, its a start. Belts will continue to accentuate mermaid and other slim styles and corset tops will still be popular with voluminous skirts made from yards and yards of various ruffled fabrics.  I also think we will see less of the pick-up skirt which I personally think is difficult to manage, anyway so “buh-bye”.

I can’t help but wonder if any of the high-profile weddings this year have inspired copies. I will be waiting with baited breath to see how many designers will come forward with their version of Catherine Middleton’s gown! Since the Kardashian gowns are already being copied by Vera herself, there is no need for anyone else to follow suit. But this is where I think the heavy tulle influence will come in.

I am equaly sure as our fashion team gets photos they will be posting them from New York, so stay tuned to see if any of my predictions are correct- and don’t be afraid to tell me I was wrong!

– Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago

The Splurge of Your Dreams

Brides everywhere agree: if they could splurge on just one item for their wedding -it would be their bridal gown. Maybe they have dreamed of a certain gown their whole life, maybe they recently spotted a designer must-have or maybe they just tried on a gown out of budget that they cannot seem to live without. 

There are a few things you should focus on when gown shopping and not one of them includes the price. A great deal is only a great deal if you are getting more in value than you are paying in dollars:

Fit – The gown should fit your body type. Just because it looks good on a model or mannequin does not mean it will hug your curves the same way. And it if it doesn’t look good on the runway or in a magazine, it will probably not look good on you. All designer have their own patterns whether it is fuller in the bust or more ample in the waist so find the right fit for you.

Fabric – The fabric should be beautiful and easy to care for. Stylists and designers everywhere are still buzzing about the late Princess Diana’s bridal gown debacle. Remember how she came out of the carriage a wrinkled mess? Silk taffeta is a gorgeous fabric but does not travel well. Make arrangements to get dressed AT the venue to avoid problems like this, if you can.

Finish – The gown should be as beautiful on the inside as it is on the oustide. No unfinished seams, no boning sticking out, no loose threads and no puckers. The hem, the zipper, the closures (hooks or snaps) should all be tightly and neatly sewn. If there is lace or appliques, everything  should be sewn symmetrical, smooth and neat as well.

Feel – When you put the gown on it should not only make you feel beautiful, it should also feel comfortable. Do you want to be gasping for air or tugging at the waistline of your gown for the entire day/evening? Is it so tight you have backfat? If you feel good, you will look good.

If the ‘gown of your dreams’ has all of these qualities, then go ahead and splurge. Splurge a little -not a lot. You should never go too far over budget. Of course you want to look beautiful but, if you spend WAY too much on the bridal gown, you will have to cut expenses somewhere else and you want your entire wedding to be memorable – not just the gown.

Remember, everyone has budget. Whether your budget is $1300 or $13,000, there is a gown for you. Designers are now rolling out their 2012 designs as we speak and I have a feeling the gown of your dreams is waiting for you.

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago