AN AWESOME READ!


No, I don't expect you to sew your own gown after reading this awesome how-to book by Susan Khalje but promise some revealing insights about what goes into making your gown. Bridal Couture has been a staple and research guide in my library since it was launched back in 1997. Yes, the cover gown seems a bit outdated today and so do a few of the other styles you'll find inside. The material in this book however is classic and Khalje uses beautiful photography to familiarize you with the many different laces and fabrics in her glossaries. You'll also get to see what a dress or gown looks like in all its muslin stages, built from the ground up.
I highly recommend this book to any bride, especially one who is contemplating custom design. Check it out on Amazon and happy reading . . .
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CALLING ALL VINTAGEHOLICS!

I’m the classic vintageaholic and for all of you dreaming of retro chic jewelry to pair with the gown, meet Glittery Blue. This Etsy store has a selection of glass, sterling and brass designs to die for. . . . 'Such Grace', 'Just Like Mama' and 'Nesting', each piece of jewelry has a name that sounds more like a Pulitzer prize winning poem than catalog number. Real creativity sure goes past the visual and touches all our senses . . . . Visit Glittery Blue


Below: 'Give Me a Moment' At Left: 'Muse'


'Sky'



'Fall is Near'







'In a Dream'

'One I Love'






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NECKLINES

Sabrina Neckline

The neckline frames your face and is probably the feature you'll most concentrate on when choosing your gown. It’s the part of your gown that's going to give your face some wow! FYI: Front and back bodices are not always identical. For instance, the front could have a Sabrina neckline, the back a deep V; whereas another gown could have a scoop in front as well as back.

STYLES

Turtleneck-Once a classic, the high neck or turtleneck can be a plain band of dress fabric or lace. Especially popular in the Edwardian gown craze of the 70s when cotton ‘granny gowns’ reappeared.
Mandarin-Like the high neck collar only it’s notched in front

Cowl-Pictured below, the cowl is draped either as an attached piece or integrated into the pattern. Lots of retro styles of the 1930s use this effect.



Ron Greystar Photography


Jewel-Aka crew neck, round and higher neckline. Not seen too much these days except in an over bodice of all-over lace.
Boat or Sabrina-Straight across the neckline
Scoop-Pictured directly above, the scoop is a low rounded neckline.
V or U-Pictured below, the U or V point down just like the letters they are named after.






Off-the-Shoulder-Neckline extends horizontally across and sits below the shoulders.


Portrait-Wide band that extends from shoulder to shoulder



Ron Greystar Photography

Square-Pictured below, the square is one of my personal favorites, conveying a real open look, square necks look great on long and A-line silhouettes.




Ron Greystar Photography


Halter-Pictured below, straps either wrap around the neck or neckline is high with deep armholes.

Strap-Usually holds up a strapless bodice.

Asymmetrical-Neckline falls diagonally-one side strapless the other either with sleeve or sleeveless.



ejones photography

Queen Ann-High neckline curving into a sweetheart around the decolletage area

Sweetheart-Plunges into an open heart shape.

Keyhole-Open tear-drop.

Strapless-Pictured below, the strapless is typically cut straight across or sweetheart shaped, the strapless is held up by boning inside the bodice.




Ron Greystar Photography




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GOING GREEN AFTER YOUR WEDDING: THE ART OF DONATING YOUR DRESS

There’s plenty out there about going green for your wedding but what about after? Whether you’ve had your gown custom designed out of green fibers or special ordered it through a salon, now what? Some brides are going to be sentimental and preserve the gown for generations. That’s okay. This posting though is for all those wanting to pass on what they wore to someone else and help make our world a better place through recycling. I found the following blurb on the I Do Foundation’s website and couldn’t agree more, “If storing your dress in a box under your bed, or in a hanging bag in your closet is not your idea of a good cause, then keep the pictures, but put the dress to good use and help support the I Do Foundation.”
Your gown is a very special and powerful piece of clothing. With it comes (or goes) a certain psychic energy that carries your joy and promise to the next wearer.

PLACES TO DONATE YOUR DRESS AFTER THE WEDDING

BRIDAL CONSIGNMENT- More of these places are cropping up for two reasons: Brides-to-be who won’t spend over 2000k on a designer gown, and former brides who don’t mind parting with their gown. As I’ve mentioned before, there’s little difference between second-time-around bridal consignment and the higher end salons. Owners are persnickety about what they take in and nothing goes on display unless it’s in top condition, cleaned and pressed like new. These shops have standards they follow too. They won’t take any Four Weddings and a Funeral style cast-offs, over altered or trashed gowns.
DONATE TO YOUR FAVORITE CHARITY SHOP-Donating to a bridal consignment will earn you a share of your gown’s percentage. Donate to a shop like The Bridal Garden in New York City and fees will benefit NYC school children. Now wouldn't that make you feel great? Few charities have a whole store exclusively devoted to bridal like the Bridal Garden though. Most will have a section for gowns and formal wear.

DONATE TO A FOUNDATION-Believe it or not there are several foundations set up just for donating bridal wear (including bridesmaids gowns). Great! Gowns are such a big biz that whole organizations distribute them to others. Here are a few to check out:

Brides Against Breast Cancer: Donate your gown here and you’ll be giving a bride-to-be a great chance to get a discounted gown while helping grant the wish of someone with breast cancer. http://www.makingmemories.org/

I Do Foundation-Through I Do you can donate to the charity of your choice. http://www.idofoundation.org/

Heavenly Angels in Need-This one makes me well up with tears. Once your gown is donated, seamstresses use the fabric to make children’s burial garments. Having a SIDs baby in our family I understand the needs of grieving families and just how much a little satin and lace can make. http://www.heavenlyangelsinneed.com/

Wedding Dress Ministry-Christian women leaders rent wedding gowns to women in Kenya who are not able to afford gowns to marry in. Profits collected from rents are used in the women’s ministry outreach. www.icmusa.org/donate.php


Don’t forget your bridesmaids. There are foundations like the Princess Project that have a selection of prom and bridesmaid dresses that help young women get out to that big night in style.

http://www.donatemydress.org/
http://www.princessproject.org/
http://www.glassslipperproject.org/






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DO YOUR BRIDESMAIDS A FAVOR


Ever wondered what happens to all those bridesmaid dresses once the wedding is over? I was in my neighborhood charity shop yesterday when I spotted one: the proverbial shiny triple tiered pink that looked as if all the air had been let out of the ruffles. This, like countless other once-worn pastels hang in many a thrift shop or stuffed away in the back of a closet. More resourceful bridesmaids have been known to make pillows and patchwork throws out of them.
Do your bridesmaids a favor. Consider whether she’ll actually be able to wear her dress after the wedding, especially if she’s shelling out the $250-300 going rate
Kathlin Argiro has put out a line of bridesmaid dresses I’d get into in a minute if I were going someplace special. Here you’ll find designs you can customize that will work for all your bridesmaids. She has a three step process: 1. Choose a silhouette. 2. Select a fabric. 3. Pick a treatment (i.e. bows and belts). I particularly like this designer because she offers cotton and cotton in almost any style is something a woman can actually wear again. In addition, her styles lean toward the Audrey Hepburnesque with refined and classic lines. You can see and put it all together yourself at her websitte http://www.kathlinargiro.com/
Enjoy!

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WEEKDAY WEDDINGS: A New Look at the Civil Ceremony.




The brief city hall ceremony is every bit as significant as the wedding planned months ahead. No longer considered the spontaneous events they once were, civil ceremonies are going through new approval and popularity. Some couples prefer the ease of this short celebration and how they share in it with friends and family. Read more . . . .
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SMALL VEILS FOR FASHIONISTAS


Smoot PhotoHair by Gayle Parker

Short Petal Veil /Henley Photography






There’s no rule anymore about pairing short veils exclusively with street length dresses. Whatever guidelines exist these days have more to do with following your proportions and sense of style. The shorter ‘fashionista' veil is gaining in popularity. Why? Short veils are out of the ordinary –very outside the traditional bridal box right now. There's something chic, even edgy about a bride sporting one. As early as the 1990s, Vera Wang reinvented pairing short, pouf veils with very formal gowns. Whether she wanted to show off the extraordinary back details of her gowns or usher in a new look, I don’t know; I only know the juxtaposition this duo created worked.
Brides say the best thing about wearing a shorter veil is, they don’t have to do any adjusting in that switch from the solemnity of ceremony to big time partying hearty. Short veils are easy to maneuver around in and stay put whether you’re exchanging vowels, cutting cake or dancing,
Typically they are made out of either tulle, the standard light weight bridal veiling, or, netting—wider and crisper, offering a more structured and chic look






STYLES
Bird Cage or Net Pouf-Made of either netting or tulle, this veil falls above the shoulder line. Since it’s a shorter style, it tends to look structured, more hybrid of headpiece and veil. Great for fashionistas.


Net Pouf below and opposite
Photo by Ron Greystar





















Blusher or Flyaway-Typically the length veil worn over the face during the ceremony. Can also be worn shoulder length in layers. Although considered informal, this is the choice of some chic, formal-gowned brides.
The Petal Veil-Pictured right is above the shoulders and the front curves something like flower petals opening.


ejones photography
Scarf-Great option for the bride going informal. Some scarves though would pop and rock with the right formal gown as well.
Nose Veil-Typically worn over the face and attached to a headpiece or hat like the one pictured below.

Henley Photography Hair by Kathie Rothkop Make-up by Rob Ward
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KUDOS



The above photo is a great shot of pros on a recent photo shoot: Hair stylist Kathie Rothkop and make up artist Rob Ward get Sarah ready for Trevor Henley and his camera to take that great Mae West/Marie Antoinette image below.



I'd like to take this time to thank the people who have helped me in in the past months. Only with their help have I been able to present Bride Chic as a back drop for my own collection and forum for other artists and stylists. It is a unique vision I have had for years. No vision is ever solely the work of one artist but many whose talents converge all at once. Kudos go out to this extraordinary group of photographers, models, hair stylists, make-up artists, web people and fellow bloggers who have brought their own kind of excellence to contemporary bridal fashion.

PHOTOGRAPHERS
Ron Greystar-- Ron Greystar Photography
Trevor Henley--Henley Photography
Amy Perl --Amy Perl Photography
Bill Smoot-- Smoot Photo

MODELS
Darby
Kim
Kellie
Sarah
Sarah Ashton
Heidi
Misty
Diana Slampyak
Robin Patronik

HAIR STYLISTS

Kathie Rothkop of Salon Glam
Gayle Parker of Wedding and Event Hair


MAKE UP

Rob Ward Make Up by Rob Ward

SITES THAT HAVE PROMOTED BRIDE CHIC
Best Wedding Blogs
Again, thanks to all who have contributed to Bride Chic!
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TRENDS 2008

Henley Photography

I think the only predictable thing about fashion is its so unpredictable and bridal fashion is no exception. If less was more a few years back, 2008 is all about adornment, daring silhouettes and flashes of color. Designers this season rocked the runways with gowns all done up in feathers, skirts layered in rumba ruffles, shorter hemlines and yards of unusual fabric. While those strapless A-lines and slinky evening numbers from seasons past are still with us, 2008 marks the year more brides are willing to take chances with their look. What once would have been considered too theatrical or indecent for a proper wedding is not only becoming fashion xxxxxnorm, it’s changing the bridal scene entirely. Read more
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REMEMBERING WHEN . . . .

Remembering what it is like to get married . . . here I am with my beloved hubby, Edgar on our wedding day years and years ago. He wore a kilt, I wore a wreath and gown I designed out of 10 yards of imported French lace. The photo is by Hope Stewart, her work very loved and respected here in the San Francisco Bay Area. All her work carries a romantic feel to it--and that was my initial attraction to her. She's retired now but left behind an awesome body of work.

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BRIDE MAIL: THE TALL BRIDE

Photo by Henley Photography

BrideMail@Bridechic.com
I’ve spent most of my life in blue jeans so I have no idea what to look for in a wedding dress. I like the idea of wearing a long, white dress on my wedding day but I’m finding it confusing to know what I’m going to look good in. I’m 5’9” and slender. Can you help?

How lucky can you get? You’re going to hear it again and again—tall women look best in any style (well, just about) whether it be ball gown, A-line or sheath. Some words of caution though: There have been some tall, svelte, otherwise lovely brides of late who went way over Niagara with the frou-frou and piled on drapery. Yes, you certainly can carry around more weight and bulk than most but still need to keep scale and proportion in mind even if you are tall.

GO FOR:
*Sheaths and evening gown silhouettes. They really compliment your body if you’re in shape.

*Two-piece dressing like a floor-length suit or coat and dress combo. It’s original and takes someone like you to really carry it off.

*Shrugs and boleros. You’re one of the lucky few that can wear them.

* A ball gown. Talk about drama! You’ll look like Giselle!

*You can go all out and carry off all those beautiful back details: florals, bows, big and intricate bustles, etc.

*Heavier fabrics like brocade and velvet, you can carry them..

*a wide belt or sash in a contrasting shade or color if you want to appear shorter.

PASS UP
*Bouffant hair-dos and high headpieces. Unless, that is, your groom has the proportions of Wilt Chamberlin.

*Victorian gowns with high necks and long tight sleeves. All that elongation puts you over the top.

*Long panel trains. You’ll come off even thinner.

*Flats or ballerina slippers if your hem is above the floor and your feet are long and narrow. You’ll come off looking like Olive Oil.
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WHAT'S NEW IN THE GOWN GALLERY?


EVA. The most versatile gown in my collection, I think. We amped up the glamour factor for Sarah here by adding the birdcage veil and opera gloves.
These photos are the work of Berkeley photographer, Bill Smoot. I knew if he ever photographed my collection, each piece would have that editorial/fine art feel to it. Bill is actually a fine art as well as wedding photographer. As a result, his photographs seem more like moments in time rather than the proverbial posed portraits you find in so many wedding albums. More can be seen on his site www.smootphoto.com
Gown and accessories: Amy-Jo Tatum
Model: Sarah Ashton

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NEW FINDS


Gorgeous! It's as if Chicago shoe designer James Ciccotti crafted these shoes to go with just about every gown I ever designed. With the shoes above I am especially in love.
In Ciccotti's collection you'll find handbags, men's lace up shoes, and coming soon, brooches and pins. Definitely worth a peek at his site at http://www.jamesciccotti.com/




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WHAT'S NEW IN RETRO?

Feathers. Cocktail hats with veils. Long strands of pearls. Opera gloves.

This simple cut velvet gown with just the right accessories instantly becomes retro.


The veil of this hat easily becomes a shoulder drape.

Once this whole look is pulled together it can be reminiscent of pre-1920s as well as 1930s Hollywood.


Photos: Henley Photography
Gowns and accessories: Amy-Jo Tatum Bridal Couture
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YOUR SILHOUETTE

Photo by Henley Photography +
Admit it, this cotton eyelet dress is about as hourglassy as you can get. Whether you go flared or straight up and down, the silhouette you choose is going to be the foundation of your look—the first impression you create once you make your entrance, dance your first dance, cut the cake. The right silhouette creates a positive visual chemistry. Something like a light turned on, illuminating the unique beauty of your female form. There are three basic silhouettes: the sheath, the ball gown and A-line. Within each of these big three derive a few variations deserving closer examination. Read this article . .
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HAIR CHIC

Hair stylist Kathie Rothkop and make-up artist Robert Ward getting Sarah ready for the shoot
For sometime now I’ve wanted to add hair art as an ongoing feature. Watching the love and care stylists put into their work makes me realize just how much hair is indeed an art form. With or without the veil, hair is one of the most significant aspects in pulling together a total look. Shown here is the extraordinary work of hair designer Kathie Rothkop of Salon Glam in Novato California. Working with her on this shoot was awe-inspiring; she wove wonders with flowers and hair jewels, wigs and the layering of locks. Her appreciation of hair history is especially seen below in Kellie’s 1930s film goddess look.
Photography-Henley Photography
Make-up-Robert Ward
Gowns-Amy-Jo Tatum
Hair-Kathie Rothkop




































Top: 1930s glam look. Rhinestone studed Stephanotis blossoms decorate Kellie’s marceled and wrapped sweep.

Middle: Florals add romance to Sarah's bun. Below and Bottom: Braids wrap and fall loosely as stephanotis is placed along this hair roll.

More of Kathie’s work can be seen on her website at http://www.harriffic.com/
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I love this girly kind of look you find on chick lit covers. Cheryl Hoffman of Cheryl Hoffman Illustrated Stationary has an Etsy Store full of these adorable images. The greeting card middle left Cheryl created during her engagement. She says, "I was daydreaming of different styles of weddings and pouring through all the beautiful bride magazines. Deciding which kind of wedding to have is so difficult. I really needed about 10 weddings to fullfill my creative dreams. For this piece, my thoughts were of something airy and lazy. I could almost hear the breeze in the leaves and feel it brush away strands of hair on my shoulder. Silent and dreamy, like something in a super8 film but elegant and fresh as well . . . ."


The top illustration is a bridal shower invite that looks sorta like Carrie Bradshaw's Vivienne Westwood gown , don't you think? Want to see more of Cheryl Hoffman's Etsy Store? Go to http://www.etsy.com/shop.php?user_id=5060511
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