Monthly Archives: April 2012

Seek and Destroy

Hi friends!

I hope you all had a fantastic weekend of sleep, relaxation and elbowing strangers at the outlet mall so you can get to the J. Crew dress that has been marked down to 40% off the sale price for your vacation to Cancun next week.

Oh.

Was that just my experience?

Anyway, after my last post I had a couple of people email me about the whole Priscilla of Boston spray painting dresses debacle.

People were up in arms about this!

After the closing of the store, workers were seen out in back spray painting the dresses and throwing them away.

How wasteful!  Why don’t they give them to Brides in need?  Sell that at a more discounted price?

Well, here is some not so pretty insight to the fashion world.

They are not the only ones that do this and this was not the first time.  Most every designer does something like this when they want to get rid of old samples.  They do it for a few reasons.

1.  They do it to keep the integrity of the brand name.  Why does everyone want a Monique Lhuillier gown?  Because not everyone can have one.  They are super expensive and only certain shops are allowed to sell them.  Now, do you see why it blows my mind that Vera Wang has put her gowns in David’s Bridal??????!!!!!!!

2.  They don’t want other designers to get their hands on the gowns and copy their designs and fabrics.

3.  They are just ridiculous.

There is one certain designer that is well renowned that I work very closely with.  They sell me all of their loan samples (I will explain what those are at a later date) that have been damaged and they will sell them to me for a super low price so that I can put them on my sale rack.  About twice a year I will be in their warehouse and there will be a pile of dresses.

I know their fate.

I want to save them.

I offer them a good amount of cash for the whole pile but they decline it.  They are taking them out to burn them.

You think I’m kidding?

Anyway, I don’t agree with it at all.  I would like to stop it, but this is life in the fashion industry.

It can be a little disappointing.

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A Maid in Mourning

I know, I know.

The sadness happened back on December 31, 2011, but I find myself drifting off to that day often.

Well, maybe the beginning of the end happened back in 2007.

What am I talking about?

December 31st was the end of an era.

For those of you that don’t know (and have been living under a rock) Priscilla of Boston was known for its breathtaking designs.  It’s stores were glamorous and gowns were meticulous.  Are you familiar with this gown

The beautiful Grace Kelly

I hope all of you know who Grace Kelly is.  If you don’t, please, please go brush up on your fashion icons.

When Grace Kelly married the Prince of Monaco she wore a Priscilla of Boston gown.  You may have noticed that with last years wedding of William and Kate, everyone in the fashion industry was comparing Kate’s gown to Grace’s (I will take this opportunity to let you know that I called that Kate would be wearing a Grace Kelly style of gown.  I should of placed bets).  Next to Princess Diana’s wedding gown, Grace Kelly’s is one of the most iconic gowns of the 20th century.

Do you see why Priscilla of Boston was so great.

Well, if the doors close in 20011, what happened in 2007?

Priscilla of Boston was sold to

Dun Dun DUUUUUUUUUUUUNNNN!

I’m not a snob about most stuff and I’m all about a good deal, but I’m not about Bridal Stores that are all about the big buck.  I believe that when you shop for a wedding gown it should be a beautiful experience.  It should be like going to a day spa, not like running into a big bargain store in your pajamas.

I know some of you are saying “well some of us can’t afford a spa experience.”  Guess what, my family owns two beautiful stores that will make you feel like a queen when you walk in and we will treat you as such.  We also have a good amount of dresses that are under $1,500 (which is what you find at David’s).  So don’t settle.

Anyway, long story short David’s Bridal bought Priscilla of Boston and ran it into the ground.  Pretty much they wanted to take the money that would go into Priscilla of Boston and make more David’s Bridal stores.

It was a sad few years in fashion history.

Anyway, my thoughts today are traveling back to these beautiful gowns

I could go on forever, but I’ll stop here.

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Wedding Gown Wednesday

Have you seen Carolina Herrera’s Spring 2013 line?

Beautiful.  Stunning.  Feminine.

Here is my favorite.

There are so many reasons why I love this look.

First off, the shape of this ball gown.  The way that the pleating comes from the hip gives this the gown the perfect amount of fullness.  Also this gown has pockets that are hidden in the pleats (my heart leaps when a gown has pockets).  And just look at this fabric!!  I love the way that the champagne melts down the ivory.

I guess the thing that really drew me to this gown was was the wheat bouquet and headpiece.  I always wanted to get married in October.  I think fall weddings are the most beautiful, but alas I got married another month and the wheat would have looked a little ridiculous.  Go check out the rest of Carolina Herrera’s Spring 2013 line by clicking here.

Get ready to be bombarded by loveliness.

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Measure for Measure

Picking up where we left off about two weeks ago (I kinda got off track with other stuff like feeding tubes and Brangelina).

You have found your dress!

You are in your dressing room breathing a sigh of relief and you don’t want to take it off.

Now it’s time for the ordering process.

First things first, we need to take your measurements.

Why do we take measurements you ask?

Well, we need to order your dress and need to figure out your size.

I get a lot of brides who think that we take them because the designers will custom make the gown to those measurements.  That is not the case.

This is a size chart from Lazaro

What I will be doing is finding the closest size to your measurements.

Now, this is the time where you have to leave your ego and pride out the door.

As I have pointed out before, the sizes run small and you might be a size or two bigger than you usually are.

Let me show you an example of how the whole process works.

I will take my trusty measuring tape and start measuring you and no, you do not need to be naked.  I get asked that all of the time.  Can you imagine?!  I just need you to take off anything bulky that you are wearing and I can do it right over your clothes.  I just pull it a little snug.  I can hear some of you gasping in panic, but I have been doing this for a long time and I have never had my measurements be wrong.  Do I suggest all Bridal Consultants do it this way?  Not unless they are experienced, but every store does it a little differently.  Here is what I will be measuring

For the basic ordering process, I will be measuring bust, waist and hip.  That would be numbers 1,8 and 9.

So, let’s say that I just measured a bride and her measurements are

Bust: 34

Waist: 27

Hip: 36

Let’s look at the Lazaro size chart and see where my bride would fall.

Her bust and hip puts her in a size 8, but her waist puts her in between a 10 and 12.  This actually happens to 99.9% of brides.  It is super rare that a bride fits perfectly in a size.  So what would you put her in?

I would put her in the size 12.  What?!  you are all saying.  Yes,  I said the 12.  I know, I know.  She is on a diet and is planning on losing 200 pounds in three months so why won’t you just get her the 10 and go in between the sizes.  I mean, she  is only an inch off!  I actually had a group of bridesmaids accuse me of calling them all fat and because of that wanted a discount on their dresses.  You think they had a plan to get a discount?  Classy, huh?  This is what I explained to them.

It is always better to get a gown in a little too big then to get a gown a little too small.  You actually want it to be a little big so that you can tailer it to your exact measurements with our seamstress.  I actually got my dress a couple sizes bigger so that my seamstress could fit every curve of my body (I don’t suggest EVERYONE doing this, my seamstresses are incredible).  Can you imagine waiting four months for your dress to come in and finding that it is a size too small?  You won’t have time to reorder and hopefully we can let some of the seams out or you could just get a feeding tube put in (I didn’t say that part to them).  I would order this bride a size 2 if she wanted, but she has to sign a form that says because of her measurements I strongly suggested the 12, but she wanted the 2 and the store is not liable if it does not fit correctly.

Sorry ladies, that’s just how the cookie crumbles.

That is the short version about how the measurement process goes.

I guess I just want to say before I end this post that the number doesn’t matter.  No one but you and I will ever know it.  All that matters is that the gown fits you beautifully and that you look radiant.

Oh, and what happened to those Bridesmaids?  After working with them for about three hours and explaining all of this they still were yelling at me and wanting a discount.  I kindly gave them all of their paperwork with their measurements and the style numbers and gave them the name, phone number and address to the nearest store that carried that same designer so that they could order it from them.  I even offered to call the store so that they could be ready and waiting for the girls to come in.  Shocked, they apologized profusely and said it was fine and that they wanted to order it from me.  I politely declined.

Homie don’t play that game.

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Wedding Dress Wednesday

Is it Wednesday already?

This is a busy week for me and I need to get a lot done and I feel it slowly slipping away…

Anyway, enough about me, let’s talk about this incredible wedding dress.

I know all of you classic Cinderella fairy tale brides are quickly shielding your burning eyes, but I’m in love with this gown!

You have to understand, I’m around wedding gowns all day long.  I see enough tulle and crinoline to last me five lifetimes and I’ll be honest, I feel like some designers will just design a huge ball gown, put some tulle over it, throw in some sparkle and call it good.  There are always a few of these in every collection just so that they can meet the required 12 dress minimum and they know that some brides will buy anything big, poofy and sparkly.

It’s lazy and I hate it.

I appreciate when designers think outside the box and really try to do something different and beautiful.  It takes a lot of fashion forecasts study and a ton of trial and error in the drawing room, but when it is done, it is a work of art.  As a designer myself, it is when I do these things that I feel fulfilled and I’m most proud of my gowns.

Anywho, this stunning gown is from a French designer who’s line is called Cymbeline.  This gown is made for a more mature bride or a bride who enjoys that casual chic look, like Madewell  or J.Crew (I know, I reference these stores a ton ,but can you tell what my favorite stores are?)   I see this gown in a city wedding or out on a ranch with some vintage cowboy boots on.

I can’t get over this dress.

Check out Cymbeline Paris’ website for more styles.

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Angelina Jolie’s Wedding Gown

HELLO!

Wow!

I need to catch my breath for a second.

This ring is unreal.

Nice work Brad.

If you haven’t heard, Brad Pitt Finally popped the question to Angelina Jolie.  If you remember, they were always kind of “the cool kids” when it came to marriage.  It wasn’t important and the only reason they would do it is if their children wanted them to.

I know, I know.  A lot of people feel that way about marriage, but I’m just old fashioned I guess.

So I’ve been thinking about what kind of gown Angelina will pick for her wedding dress.  Here is what I have come up with.

She doesn’t seem the type (ya know, since we are best friends and everything) to have a traditional full ball gown.  She loves her slim figure so I think she will have to have a gown that shows it off with a slinky satin.  She always seems to pick out gowns that have a vintage flair.  With that said, here are my top picks for Angelina Jolie:

What do you think?

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Seriously? A Feeding Tube?

Have you seen this?

No, really.

Have you?

This is the epitome of laziness.

Hey, I will be the first say that I’m not Miss Fitness America and I could stand to lose a few pounds, but even I know that if I’m going to try to get rid of extra weight, I’m going to eat right and exercise.

I have seen some Brides do some crazy crash diets and I might have even participated in a few, but this is unreal.

I guess the new wedding trend is having a doctor put a feeding tube down your nose and then you carry a bag with you at all times that has your 800 calories of nutrition.  If you do this, you can lose 20 pounds in 8 days.

Gross

Seriously?!

Brides, stop being crazy!

You can read more about this weight loss phenomenon in this article from The New York Times.  Just click here.

Ok, I really hope you see how unhealthy this is and that you know that you will gain all of that weight back when you eat your cake on your wedding day.  Please don’t do this, please.

What are your thoughts?  I would love to hear them.  Unless you’re mean and just want to start a fight.  If that’s the case, don’t even bother.

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R.R. (Reader Request) Be Realistic

Dear Maid,

I work at a Bridal Salon and I was wondering if you could talk about curbing Bride’s expectations about what they can get for their budget?  I get Brides who want an all lace wedding gown for under $500 or want a huge, poofy beaded gown (brand new, mind you) for around $200.  

Help!

Get the word out that it’s just not possible!

Sincerely,

          Concerned Consultant

C.C.-

Oh yes.

I know this all to well.

Lets start from the very beginning.  A very good place to start.

No, but seriously.

Let’s talk about what goes into making these beautiful gowns.

How about we take this Justin Alexander gown.  This is not a $10,000 wedding gown.  The price of this gown is pretty average and that’s why I picked it.

 I chose this gown because it has the fullness, the layered tiers and the beading that every classic Bride would want.

This gown starts with an incredible structure.

This is boning.  This is what is built into most wedding gowns and this is what keeps a strapless gown up and keeps our tummies in.

Over all of this boning and lining there is a lot of crinoline.  And yes, all full dresses have a built in crinoline.  Slips that you purchase separately are made for the bride that wants the gown fuller than it already is.

This is a very editorial shot, but it shows you whats under a full dress.

Over that comes the heavy satin to smooth all of that crinoline out.

If you take off the band and flower at the waist this gown shows you what is under that Justin Alexander gown.

Now comes the fun part.

All of that beautiful layered organza.  There was probably a good 15 yards of organza put into that gown with all of this layers.

And then you have those beautiful beads at the waistline and I’m not talking about cheap foggy beads that you get at a craft store.  I’m talking about clear beautiful glass beads.  Even Swarovski crystals are set in there.

Put that all together and you get a great dress that’s $200.

Sound a little ridiculous?

That’s because it is.

Wedding gowns are made with some of the highest quality materials and the craftsmanship is second to none.  Oh and don’t even get me started on a lace gown!  A non crappy lace gown that you could get by with is at LEAST $1,000 and I will say it again, at LEAST!

I’m not saying all of this to be mean, I’m just saying this so that you can have a frank conversation with yourself about your budget and what you can honestly afford.  Don’t get your heart set on a $5,000 style of dress if you can only afford $200.

For those brides that are looking for these gowns, go to the sale racks and sample sales where you can find a sample gown that is a few years old .  Don’t turn your nose up at those because, let’s be honest, you can’t afford to.

Literally.

I can hear some of you saying “well I found a dress like that for only $200 online”.  To that I say, RUN!!!  RUN FAR, FAR AWAY!!  That is a whole other topic that we will discuss at a later time.  Until then just remember to NOT BUY THEM!

Let our motto be “you get what you pay for”.  Remember this.

Hope this helped C.C. and keep the questions and suggestions coming in people.

Have a great weekend!!

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Wedding Gown Wednesday

Well, hello.

I like that I started doing this on Wednesdays because it helps me look forward to Wednesdays and I’m not the biggest fan of Wednesdays.  Wednesdays.  (I felt like I had to say it again because I used it so much in that last sentence)

So let’s take a gander at todays wedding gown, shall we?

I love this Justin Alexander gown.  With all of the funky fashions that I love and embrace, there is always a special place in my heart for classic silhouettes and vintage designs.  This reminds me of Audrey Hepburn or Grace Kelly with it’s full ball gown and flat bow at the natural waistline.  This was a popular style in the fifties and it has stuck around since.

Are you seeing this luxurious fabric?  It’s Dupioni silk and that is where the sheen comes from that looks so gorgeous in photographs.

This is a perfect wedding gown for that classic bride.  She doesn’t need frills and tucks and beads to feel beautiful.  She wants the attention to be on her stunning skin and face.  If you are a J.Crew kind of gal, this one is for you.

This natural waisted ball gown looks beautiful on almost all brides.  It will draw the eye to the smallest part of your waist with that bow and the skirt will cover any pooch that you might have in your tummy.

Keep the jewelry simple and classic.  PEARLS.  Big pearl studs for earrings and a simple pearl bracelet.  You could even go without a necklace.

Hope you love this gown as much as I do and look on the Justin Alexander website to find out what bridal shops near you will carry it.

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To Order Part Deux

Let me take a moment to apologize for the last post.

I looked at it just a little while ago and I was a little shocked that I was awake enough to click the “Publish”  button.

Sorry about that one.

Anywho

Why don’t we talk about the Pros and Cons about buying an in stock wedding gown and frankly, I liked the whole list thing.  It seems more clear cut and precise.  I guess I did find some sense in that fog of exhaustion and misspelled words.

Pros of buying your wedding gown off the rack:

1.  From now on, your wedding gown will never leave your sight.  You can bring it home, lock it up in a pet and childproof closet and when you’re feelin’ lonely, take it out and whisper sweet nothings to it.

2.  Because it’s been in the shop and been tried on a few times, there might be some snags or a little bit of dirt.  I know what you’re thinking, “shouldn’t that be a con”?  Well if you think saving money is a con then, you’re right.  If you’re more normal and like to save a few hundred dollars on a designer gown then this is a pro.  Don’t be shy to talk to your consultant about the snags and see if there is any wiggle room in the price.  But do it nicely.  You get more with sugar than vinegar.

3.  If you have a quick engagement you won’t have to wait the weeks that it can take to get your gown in.

4.  You can get started ASAP with your alterations.

5.  You don’t have to pay for shipping.

6.  And most importantly, it cuts down on anxiety and worry.

Cons about buying your wedding dress off of the rack.

Bless her heart.

1.  You are probably buying a sample, which means that it is around a size 8 to 12.  If you are smaller or bigger than that it means that you will need extensive alterations.  Make sure the bridal shop you purchase your gown from has impeccable seamstresses.  If they don’t, be afraid.  Be very afraid.

2.  So remember how I told you that a little dirt and some snags ins a pro?  Well, it’s a double edged sword.  Yes, you got a deal on the gown, but depending on how bad the damage is, you need to get it cleaned.  Getting your gown cleaned can sometimes run from $150 to $300.  Did you come out ahead?  If not, you might as well order your gown.  Now, if the dirt is down on the train or inside the dress, who cares!  Don’t clean it.

3.  You have to store your dress.  Sometimes it’s nice to know that you don’t have to worry about your cat walking into your closet, using your wedding gown as a scratch post and leaving it for dead.

In my mind, when it comes to whats better, special ordering your wedding gown or buying it off the rack, I think it’s a pretty close race.  It really just depends on if you’re a savvy shopper or a perfectionist (and whether or not your favorite sample is on sale).

 

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