Yards and yards of lustrous silk, a long train of fine French lace, a swath of the palest violet to match the lilac of a bride’s bouquet…What will your dress look like? Will it reflect your style and personality? Will it become a cherished heirloom passed down to your daughter and her daughter?
For many, the gown a bride selects for her wedding day may possibly be the most expensive garment she ever wears. Whether purchasing a ready-made designer gown from a bridal boutique or commissioning a custom made creation, anticipate an investment in both time and money.
Because custom clothing is no longer the standard for today’s women, there is little awareness about the exceptional beauty and value that a custom designed and fitted garment affords. For the bride who is seeking a garment that is one-of-a-kind, that reflects her personality and enhances her specific physical attributes, there is simply no substitute.
Shopping the Racks
Many brides make the pilgrimage to bridal boutiques to try on dozens of dresses hoping for a fit that is close to what they need. A typical bride visits store after store donning dress after dress in a harried quest to learn what looks best on her body. Sometimes she can locate a wonderful ready-made gown that either fits perfectly or can be expertly altered, sometimes not.
Bridal boutique salespeople are there to sell gowns and may not always be the best advisor, so many brides bring along mom and/or a trusted friend. But their eyes may not be as objective as you need. It’s no wonder Hollywood celebrities hire stylists to shop for them who put together looks from head to toe. The stars (almost) always look stunning and coordinated because their stylist is objective and trained to see and listen, plus know what’s appropriate for the occasion.
But back to the bride…for some, wearing the same dress other brides across America are wearing is fine. And some brides don’t mind (too much) that even after the dress has been altered it just doesn’t quite fit or feel right. Resignation sets in and they think it is too late to make a change. “Oh well, I can tug up the top of the dress if it starts slipping down, or maybe I can add those bra inserts to fill out the gap.”
Sing praises for the shop dress – you can try it on, you can touch it and feel the fabrics, and you know (almost) the final cost. The final product is tangible.
Deciding on “Custom Made”
In some respects, today’s Hollywood stylist is like yesterday’s private dressmaker/designer, except that the stylist shops and finds appropriate ready-made garments. Both a designer/dressmaker and a stylist can advise objectively on what works and what does not, but only a designer/dressmaker can produce the garment.
So why not start off the gown selection process with the mindset that you deserve exactly what you desire, that the services of a Hollywood stylist can be yours through the knowledge and expertise of a talented custom designer? Bring along mom and a girlfriend, but allow the designer to collaborate with you directly to create a gown boasting perfect fit, with all seams, ornamentation and design elements balanced and placed to perfection. Your designer will be able to determine which shade of white or ecru will be just right for your skin tone, which silk fabric will softly glow with luminosity. Your figure will be played to perfection and the dress will gently flow the way it should.
To many, a custom made gown is a luxurious indulgence which involves a process of design and fitting with which they may be unfamiliar. Many are of the opinion that there’s too much mystery and/or complication surrounding this option and they’re therefore averse to going down this path. What will it cost? How many fittings will be needed? Will my sketch really translate into the dress of my dreams?
True, custom made gowns generally involve more of the bride’s time than ready-made. And yes, there can be some anxiety when the dress just does not look right done up initially in muslin. Custom gowns can be more expensive than ready made or rack designer labels, but for centuries, custom made has remained the hallmark of elegance, style and privilege; an old world tradition carried on by a small number of discriminating brides who respect the value of uniqueness, perfect fit and proportion.