Perspectives

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Tip of the Week: Do Your Research {Part 2 – Reviews}

Now that your venue is selected and date is set, you’re likely looking at what bridal boutiques to visit so that you can shop for your bridal gown, and there are many options out there! Last week we advised first narrowing down your selection to the stores that have the correct price range of gowns you’re looking for. Once you have done that, how can you pick the best stores to visit?

One thing that is important for you to know is that brides LOVE to leave feedback about their wedding vendors. That means for someone like you who is newly engaged, you have access to feedback from real brides about their experiences working with that vendor. Most review-based sites will offer an overall star or number rating but will also give brides an opportunity to share their experience, in words, for future brides.

Your goal in picking the best stores to shop at are the ones that are going to deliver an exceptional experience for you and the people you bring with you. You want to pick a place where brides say they felt part of the family, where they were valued, where they felt celebrated, where they felt supported in their decision making process, and where the store stepped up to help when something went wrong. Yes, that’s right…don’t be afraid of a store where a bride mentions that something went wrong and the store was there to fix it. That’s the exact place you WANT to buy your gown from! Pick a store that is going to have your back in any situation. You want the store that is going to go the extra mile for you at all times. The stores that have great reviews are typically stores who went above and beyond for their brides. Also important is to see how a store responds to a negative or difficult review. Is that store empathetic and understanding or combative and defensive? These responses speak volumes about the type of store you’re dealing with!

In our opinion, the best review sites out there are The Knot, Wedding Wire, and a store’s own Facebook page. Yelp also has reviews, but they randomly hide certain reviews and make them difficult to find, which we thing does a disservice to people who spend time to write a review! If our brides are going to take the time to review us, we feel like that should be front and center! At ALSW, we are incredibly proud that no matter what site you visit, you will see stellar reviews by former brides for you, our future bride, to read!

In addition to reviews, look for stores that have won local awards in their wedding communities. Awards are often earned by both a combination of brides voting and other wedding vendors voting. This means awards are often an endorsement by other wedding vendors, who have a trained eye for spotting the best of the best. Many local publications run “best of” contest for local businesses. If your area has one, see if your local bridal salon has come up as a winner in the weddings category!

Happy Shopping!!

Pre-Wedding Day Prep {Part 1 – Beauty}

Today we kick off part one of a three-part series focused on helping you to look and feel your best on your wedding day! There are three critical areas to focus on in the months before the wedding day – skincare, nutrition, and exercise – and we have discovered that most brides start thinking about these much later than they should.

Erin Infantino of Simply Gorgeous by Erin graciously agreed to meet me for drinks (coffee for me and celery juice for Erin!) to share what a bride’s skincare regimen should be in the months leading up to her wedding day and why this is so important! Erin has been a makeup artist for over two decades and has done the makeup of countless ALSW brides.

Every bride wants her skin to look flawless on her wedding day. What I have noticed among my thousands of brides over the years is that they all have questions about skincare. And the one important thing to know is that makeup will only look so good as the skin it sits upon. My personal philosophy is to make skin look flawless with as little foundation and concealer as possible. No one wants a caked on face! This is where a good skin care routine comes in. I recommend starting about six months before your wedding day, if possible. The sooner you start a good skincare routine, the more time you will have to reap the rewards of it. Below are some of my top tips. I could probably go on forever but I don’t want to overload you with information!

Drink Water
If you think you drink enough water, you most likely don’t! You should be drinking roughly half your weight in ounces of water. If you weigh 150 pounds, you need to drink 75 ounces of water. Throw some lemon in it and just make it happen.

Always Wash Your Face Before Bed
Even if you didn’t wear makeup that day, you still touched dirty surfaces and surely touched your face. Wash all that bacteria away and prep your skin with products your skin can soak up and benefit from.

Schedule a Personal Consultation with a Skin Care Expert
Every woman has their own unique skin so a personal consultation with an aesthetician or skin care expert is smart. Oily skin has different needs than dry skin or sensitive skin, and you want your own personal skin care goals to be addressed. Don’t try to get advice from a sales rep behind a counter. Make sure the individual has been educated and trained on the skin’s anatomy and what ingredients you should use or stay away from.

Gut Health
Let’s talk “gut health”. Too much sugar or dairy in your diet will wreak havoc on your skin. Our gut is our second brain and tells our body what to do. Our skin is our largest organ so if something isn’t right internally it will manifest itself in your skin. Keep sugar, dairy and alcohol to a minimum. Take a probiotic that’s suitable for you – I recommend a high quality one that requires refrigeration. Health is always a worthwhile investment.

Add These Products to Your Regimen
One product all skin types can benefit from is a Hyaluronic acid serum. This is naturally found in our bodies and is nothing to be worried about just because it has the word “acid” in it. It’s a hydration booster and plumps up the skin to appear nice and healthy and vibrant. Even if you’re oily, you can be dehydrated and you can benefit from this. Its meant to be worn under your moisturizer or can be worn alone if you’re excessively oily. A second product most skin types can benefit from is Vitamin C serum. Make sure it’s an L-Ascorbic as this tends to cause less or no irritation. This brightens the skin, feeds the skin’s strength, and fights off free radicals and toxins in the air.

Your Daily Routine Matters
If you decide to do facials, please, PLEASE invest in good at-home skin care as well. It’s pointless to get your car detailed and washed if you’re never going to maintain basic cleaning in the days afterwards. The same goes for your skin…what you do day to day matters most!

Thank you, Erin, for taking the time to share these tips with us. Erin and her team can be reached at erin@simplygorgeousbyerin, on Facebook, and on Instagram!

Stay tuned for “Part 2” next week – Nutrition Tips!

Tip of the Week: Do Your Research {Part 1 – Budget}

Chances are, if you’re engaged, you have BIG feelings about gown shopping. You’re either ready and excited and can’t wait to get started or you put it off for a while because you were a little nervous about the process. Or you fall somewhere in between. The good news is that we’re here for you and promise to make the experience a wonderful one. We have a singular mission in working with you, and that’s to find you a gown you love at a price you feel comfortable with an experience that leaves you with that warm and fuzzy feeling. That sounds great, right??

One thing we advise prior to coming in is knowing what you are comfortable spending on your bridal gown as well as your tolerance for fluctuations around that budget. Both are important to communicate to your stylist and something that we will ask you when we speak to you.

Additionally, establishing your own budget is step one, but we also recommend making sure you are comfortable with the price range of gowns a store carries before you visit it. Bridal gown shopping is fun but can be time consuming, and we believe the time you are spending should be enjoyable and productive. Walking into a place where the gowns are priced more or less than your budget is no fun for you. So make sure to ask that question and know the answer.

At A Little Something White, we have two different types of collections – “special order” bridal gowns and “off the rack” bridal gowns. With a special order bridal gown, you will try on an example of the gown in the boutique, and then we place an order for that gown from the designer in the size and color of your choice. With this type of order, you may also be able to make certain changes to the gown, or customizations, since the gown is being made for you only after we place the order. With an “off the rack” bridal gown, the gown you try on in the store is the exact gown you will be purchasing, and you will take it with you on the day of purchase. Gowns from our special order bridal gown collection may be priced anywhere from $2,000-$11,000, with the bulk of our gowns falling in the $2,800-$6,500 range. Gowns from our off-the-rack bridal gown collection may be priced anywhere from $1000-$3,500.

Tip of the Week: Know Your Timeline

The ring is on, the champagne is popped to celebrate, the venue and date are set…..and now it’s time to gown shop! When is the right time to gown shop? We advise buying your gown 8-11 months before your wedding day. In the era we live in today of “fast fashion”, you may not realize that bridal fashion follows a whole new set of rules when it comes to timing. Don’t fret, we are here to demystify it!

One of the things I love about bridal gown shopping is the fact that you get to pick out a gown which is then hand-made just for you. That means it’s not hanging on a rack in some stock room…when we place the order for your gown, the designer and her team hand cut the fabrics, hand sew them together to the size and specifications we tell them, and then put on the finishing touches to make it perfect just for you. This is a garment unlike anything you have worn before and will likely ever wear again!

However, all of that magic takes time to happen. Once you pick out your bridal gown, the designer requests 6-8 months for production to make sure they have enough time to source the fabric, which often comes from special mills overseas, cut and create the gown, and send it through a rigorous quality control process.

So what if you don’t have 6-8 months? Not to worry! We have an amazing relationship with our designers and are often able to get gowns more quickly than that time frame, for a fee. We once got a gown made in a week! We also have an amazing selection of gowns available for purchase off-the-rack, meaning you can buy the gown and take it with you that day.

Once the gown has arrived, you will likely need alterations in order to get the perfect fit. At ALSW, our seamstresses require 2 1/2 months to perform those alterations.

So as you can see, 8-11 months before your wedding is the ideal time frame in which to order your gown. But remember, for ALSW brides, nothing is impossible and we are here to help you find the perfect gown!

Bridal Market Here We Come!

This weekend we are off to bridal market…what does that mean again? Bridal market is a multi-day event where bridal designers descend on New York City with their brand new collections. From runway shows to intimate appointments with designers, this is an incredibly-fun-but-also-really-tiring series of days where we are presented with anywhere from 10-15 new styles for each designer, and we select a handful from each designer to purchase for the store. So how do we choose when presented with so many gorgeous gowns?

The short answer…it’s hard! We are naturally drawn to what we like best, so it can be tempting to favor styles that we, personally, want to wear. However, that’s exactly what we make sure not to do. The biggest factor in our decision is whether or not a particular style is something our brides will want to wear. We can’t buy a designer’s entire collection, so we are going to hone in on those styles we think will work best for our brides.

Follow us on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram (alittlesomethingwhite) starting this Sunday, as we post updates and pictures live from bridal market!! In the meantime, here are a few teasers!!

Photo credits: Erin Cole Design (top left), JLM Couture (bottom left), Kelly Faetanini (middle), Marchesa (right)

Oscars: Red Carpet Roundup

The Oscars. One of my favorite nights of the year. Watching the Oscars’ Red Carpet is my favorite three hours of television all year long. Typically, I find a comfortable place on my couch, delegate the childcare responsibilities to my husband for a few hours, and soak up the gorgeous fashion. This year was a little different. With my husband on a business trip and my rambunctious 2 1/2 year old by my side, I enjoyed the red carpet but wouldn’t describe my personal viewing party as particularly relaxing. Nonetheless, I was able to focus enough to come up with our list of favorite red carpet looks from the night!

Bridal-Inspired

Many of our favorite gowns seemed plucked from the aisle! In our opinion, Jennifer Lawrence (Dior Haute Couture) and Amy Adams (Oscar de la Renta) were two of the more gorgeous stars of the night. We hate following the crowd, and we know Jennifer Lawrence was a favorite of many people, but we couldn’t help but fall head over heels in love with her gown. Amy Adams also wowed us with her entire look, not just her gown! We loved Charlize Theron’s sleek Dior Haute Couture gown and sparkled peplum. Her hair felt a little severe to us but we also recognize she didn’t have much length to work with and it is probably cut that short for one of her movies! And last but certainly not least, we thought Georgina Chapman, co-designer of Marhcesa, was stunning in her gown. Pregnant? No big deal for Georgina!

Black Beauties

On the opposite end of the spectrum, some of our favorite stars were beautiful in black. Norah Jones really wowed us…when we first saw her we didn’t even know it was her! She has grown and matured so beautifully, and we think she looked statuesque in this Tadashi Shoji gown. Adele, in Jenny Packham, is a perfect example of how to dress a fuller figure in the right way. We think her gown hugged in the right places and she was ravishing. Sandra Bullock typically wows us, and this year’s Elie Saab gown was no exception. We would have preferred to see a bit more with her hair, but the gown was beautiful. Giuliana Rancic (in Rafael Cennamo Couture) and Stacey Kiebler (in Naeem Khan) were also gorgeous in black. But one of our favorite black beauties was Jenna Dewan-Tatum. Her Reem Acra gown was simply stunning on the soon-to-be mom, and the keyhole back on her gown was just gorgeous. She moved quickly down the red carpet on Sunday, and we wish we had the chance to see more of her!

Pop of color

Reese Witherspoon in Louis Vuitton, Jennifer Garner in Gucci, and Kerry Washington in Miu Miu all wowed us and stood out among a crowd of stars that often wore white, black, or nude hues. It’s not as obvious in these photos, but Jennifer Garner’s gown had a gorgeous cascading detail in the back that just added to the whole look. We also wanted to give a huge applause to Robin Roberts. Coming off a rough year, we think her poise, beauty, and confidence on the red carpet only served to enhance the beauty of her gown (Marc Bouwer).

Shimmer and shine

While not overly prevalent on the red carpet this year, there were two stars in particular whose shimmer we cannot ignore. Jessica Chastain in Armani Prive looked absolutely gorgeous, and she was reminiscent of the Oscar statue she was vying for. Jennifer Hudson was just….wow. Does she continue to get more and more beautiful? Her deep blue long-sleeved gown was gorgeous on the carpet and the slit up the front was glamorous and tasteful. Nicely done, ladies!!

Disappointments

Our Oscar round-up wouldn’t be complete if we didn’t mention those who disappointed us on the carpet this year. The biggest disappointment for us was Anne Hathaway. We are still elated over her Oscar win, but felt that her high-necked, dull pink Prada gown just wasn’t glamorous enough for what proved to be one of the biggest nights of her career. It is rumored that she decided at the last minute to not wear the gown Valentino had designed for her because it was rumored to be too similar to Les Miserables co-star Amanda Seyfried’s gown. We think she would have been much better off taking that risk! Was Jennifer Anisten beautiful? Yes, she pretty much always is. But we felt her Valentino gown and hair down was boring and blah. She always wows on the red carpet so we were surprised with her selection. And last but not least, we felt Renee Zellweger in Carolina Herrera was just a big thumbs down. At various points throughout the night, her hair appeared wet and messy, as if she had gotten caught in a rainstorm. And we felt that her gown was not all that flattering to her body. The back of the dress seems to be pulling strangely, as if it’s just a bit too tight. Again, a big disappointment for us because the shimmer of the gown is gorgeous!

All photos taken from The Hollywood Reporter

Golden Globes 2013: From the Red Carpet to the Aisle

If you read our previous blog post, you know which Golden Globes red carpet looks we are in love with (and which ones not so much). Believe it or not, many of the styles shown last Sunday could just as easily show up in a wedding (just in white or ivory)! Below are five styles from the Golden Globes that we think would translate beautifully into the bridal world.

1) Open any magazine this week, and Amy Adams is definitely on the best dressed list from the Golden Globes. We happen to agree. She absolutely blew us away in her Marchesa gown. Want this look? Marchesa introduced a similar look in their Fall 2013 collection. Even better? This collection will be at A Little Something White on February 8th and 9th during our Marchesa trunk show!

2) Do you love Anne Hathaway’s sleek Chanel gown? We do!! Junko Yoshioka has a similar style that is part of their Fall 2013 collection. It is certainly more embellished than Anne Hathaway’s gown, but it is just as sleek and striking. Want to try on this style? This collection will be at A Little Something White on February 1st and 2nd during our Junko Yoshioka trunk show!

 3) Jessica Alba was stunning in her Oscar de la Renta gown. We think the Anna Maier “Laetitia” gown from Anna Maier’s Spring 2013 collection is the perfect option for a bride who loves Jessica Alba’s look. And while we can’t suggest how to get your hands on the $5.8 million Harry Winston diamond necklace that Jessica wore, Laetitia does come with a gorgeous crystal beaded bow in back that ups the drama of this gown even more. We carry the Laetitia gown at A Little Something White, and if you think it’s beautiful in these photos, you should come see it in person…it is simply stunning!

4) Kerry Washington and her Miu Miu dress were not on our favorites list. We actually love the sheer overskirt on Kerry’s dress, but we didn’t love the length. If you like this gown, Kelly Faetanini’s Georgina gown from her Fall 2013 collection could be the perfect bridal look for you and is definitely in the right length! Even cooler is that Kelly’s gown can be made in two pieces so that the overskirt can be removed during your wedding or in one piece with the overskirt attached. So cool, right? This is one of the dresses we ordered from Kelly’s collection, and we actually ordered it in a way that gives brides not two, but three different options. Curious? Make an appointment to come see this gorgeous gown when it arrives at A Little Something White in March or at our Kelly Faetanini trunk show on March 8th and 9th!

5) We still can’t get over how gorgeous the very-pregnant Kristen Bell looked on the runway in her Jenny Packham gown. We think her look can easily translate not just from the red carpet to the aisle, but from maternity to non-maternity. Marchesa has a gown in its Fall 2013 collection that we think is the perfect option for a bride who loved Kristen Bell’s look. This Marchesa gown is also part of the collection that will be at A Little Something White on February 8th and 9th during our Marchesa trunk show!

Golden Globes gowns photos sourced from US Weekly and Pop Sugar: Amy Adams (Marchesa), Anne Hathaway (Chanel), Jessica Alba (Oscar de la Renta), Kerry Washington (Miu Miu), Kristen Bell (Jenny Packham)

Golden Globes 2013: Red Carpet Roundup

Many of those close to me know that one of the things on my bucket list is to walk the red carpet at a major awards show, preferable the Oscars. Will this ever happen? Probably not, but a girl can dream, right? Watching the red carpet pre-shows during awards season is one of my favorite things. I’m not a big television watcher otherwise, but I absolutely love watching the red carpet!! I always find the red carpet portion of the evening goes way too quickly.

The Golden Globes 2013 certainly didn’t disappoint, delivering many swoonworthy styles as well as many that left us saying, “what were they thinking?” Here is our roundup of the best and worst looks of the night!

The Best

We think Amy Adams, Jessica Alba, and Julianne Hough stole the show on Sunday. Amy Adams wowed in her blush-colored Marchesa gown. Jessica Alba was simply stunning in Oscar de la Renta. And Julianne Hough took our breath away in Monique Lhuillier. Everything about these ladies was perfect in our eyes, from their gowns, to their hair and makeup, to their jewelry.

Anne Hathaway and Michelle Dockery were simply stunning in their sleek white gowns. Anne opted for understated elegance in Chanel while Michelle was sleek and sexy with her embellished Alexandre Vauthier gown. Both gowns remind us of styles we saw on the bridal runway last fall, and we think both ladies were beautiful.

Claire Danes and Jennifer Garner also blew us away. Both wore red ensembles but wowed us for different reasons. The draping on Claire’s Atelier Versace gown was done in such a slimming, lovely way, and the color really allowed her to pop on the red carpet. It’s hard to believe she just had a baby…one month ago! Jennifer Garner’s Vivienne Westwood Couture gown was more subtly beautiful, which worked well since she wasn’t there as a nominee but to support her husband. We are hard pressed to find a time that we don’t love Jennifer Garner’s red carpet looks. We give both moms a huge thumbs up!

In our view, Kristen Bell wore one of the most beautiful maternity gowns than we have ever seen on the red carpet. She radiated beauty and confidence from head to toe in her Jenny Packham ensemble, and we thought her gown was gorgeous from all angles.

Mixed Feelings

There were really only two styles on Sunday that really left us with mixed feelings. We think Kate Hudson’s Alexander McQueen gown was drop dead gorgeous, but were disappointed with her hair style. At times, her wavy locks covered up what we think was the most beautiful part of the gown, the embellished neckline. Our thoughts on Jennifer Lawrence changed depending upon the camera angle. From the front, we thought her Dior gown was simply stunning, but from the side her pointy chest area left us wondering what she was thinking.

Worst

We know there are people out there who loved the prints and patterns on the red carpet. We love prints and patterns, but hated them for the red carpet. In our opinion, Halle Berry’s Atelier Versace gown looked like a beach cover-up. While the cut of Lucy Liu’s gown was quite flattering on her, we felt that the pattern of her Carolina Hererra gown looked more like the pattern of a bedspread. And Sienna Miller? We have no words. We know she is a free spirit, but there was nothing about this Erdem gown that we liked. The pattern, colors, and texture just didn’t seem well suited for the red carpet. And the gown didn’t even seem to fit her that well!

We generally think Eva Longoria could wear a paper bag and would look glamorous in it. However, the moment she walked onto the red carpet, we were kind of embarassed for her. Wasn’t the Angelina Jolie “leg” incident just last year at the Oscars? It felt like she was trying to copy Angelina’s look from last year and then take it up a notch. The deep plunging neckline would have been gorgeous on her Emilio Pucci gown without the dramatic leg thrust. With Jessica Chastain, we absolutely loved the color of the Calvin Klein Collection gown, but really disliked the draping around her chest. It looked to us like the gown was just too big on her. Combined with her sleeked-back hairstyle which we didn’t love with this drapey style, we just felt the whole look was blah.

We loved the deep blue/purple color of Jodie Foster’s Giorgio Armani gown, but that was about it. We felt that the the geometric pattern around her bust wasn’t flattering at all and the whole look was just so-so. Rachel Weisz might get our worst dressed vote of the night (it’s a close call between her and Sienna Miller). Her ill-fitting Louis Vuitton gown and polka-dot illusion neckline and skirt was too busy and distracting. You don’t know where to look when looking at her, and none of it was all that appealing! If you are going to get the length of your gown wrong, don’t do it on a gown with a sheer skirt that will easily show bunching at your ankles.

Stay tuned for a post later this week about how the Golden Globe styles might translate into the world of bridal!

Photos sourced from US Weekly  and People Style Watch – Amy Adams (Marchesa), Jessica Alba (Oscar de la Renta), Julianne Hough (Monique Lhuillier), Anne Hathaway (Chanel), Michelle Dockery (Alexandre Vauthier), Claire Danes (Atelier Versace), Jennifer Garner (Vivenne Westwood Couture), Kristen Bell (Jenny Packham), Kate Hudson (Alexander McQueen) and Jennifer Lawrence (Dior Couture), Eva Longoria (Emilio Pucci), Lucy Liu (Carolina Hererra), Jodie Foster (Giorgio Armani), Jessica Chastain (Calvin Klein Collection), Halle Berry (Atelier Versace), Rachel Weisz (Louis Vuitton), Sienna Miller (Erdem)