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The Dress by Kirstin Andrews

“Will you marry me?” is by far the most exciting question a girl can be asked and should be the easiest to answer. From this day forward….you will ask and be asked thousands of questions and it all starts with THE DRESS! For most of us, we had the dress of our dreams in mind long before Prince Charming rode onto the scene. As your dream becomes a reality there are many details to consider. On the heels of one of the biggest wedding seasons in recent history there is no rest for the weary as we plunge head first into the cooler, crisp temperatures of Autumn. Opening the door to an even wider range of styling choices. As you embark on the big event, your chosen date and venue will, and should, dictate a few details of wardrobe for everyone except YOU. As the bride, your vision for yourself should be a dream come true. Whether you are buying ‘off the rack’, special ordering, having it custom made or wearing your mother’s, the dress should reflect your style and personality. Are you the Grace Kelly - Kate Middleton lady with long lace sleeves, fitted bodice and full flared silk taffeta skirt with traditional train and veil? Do you favor the contemporary look of a strapless bodice grounded by a frothy, swirling organza ballgown like the one Vera Wang designed for Chelsea Clinton? Maybe you are more ‘suited’ with a two piece brocade gown and Chanel style jacket. Do you appreciate the vintage styling of a bias cut sheath or the dreamy romance of layer upon layer of tulle? Can you envision yourself being swept away draped in velvet? Fur? Feathers? White leather on a Harley? SO many choices – traditional, contemporary, vintage, modern. If you’ve dreamed it. It can be created. Styles – strapless, backless, V-neck, scooped, sweetheart, square, long skirt, short, hooped, a-line, full, slim, long sleeves, short, capped, sleeveless, train or no train…….. Fabrics – lace, tulle, satin, velvet, damask, brocade, silk, taffeta, fur, feathers, leather…… Colors – white, ivory, candlelight, cream, diamond, buff, eggshell, off-white, sugar, champagne, camo… Embellishments – beading, sequins, pearls, rhinestones, flowers, embroidery, medallions, buttons……. Accessories – veil, cape, muff, gloves, bolero, hat, jacket, shoes, purse, jewelry...... Your dress is the single most important detail you do for yourself, so take the time and decide early on. Time to shop – magazines, on line, in stores. ‘Off the rack’ is not always as easy or as inexpensive as it sounds. Plan ample time, take at least one trusted companion with you. This may be your maid of honor, mistress of ceremony or a friend’s mom who has great taste and an honest heart. If practical, include your Mom (and maybe Dad) in this event. These memories can’t be replaced. Get out there and try on dresses. Wear (or take) proper foundation garments (bra and panties) as you are usually never alone. The bridal warehouses are a bit impersonal but will leave you alone to browse, shop and try on. Take lots of notes and pictures if possible. By doing this you may discover that the strapless mermaid you thought you wanted makes you look like a manatee. Identify the style details you do like, grab lunch and do it all again or move to the next level of service. It’s always best to call an upscale Bridal Salon to make an appointment to view and try on gowns as they will ask a few questions to determine desired style, size and price point you are looking for. This allows them to pull from their inventory and be ready at your appointed time. Upon arrival you are escorted to a posh dressing area and brought 2 – 4 gowns at a time where you are assisted in dressing (remember your foundation garments) using large clips, if needed, to simulate alterations. These grand rooms usually have multiple large mirrors with a platform for you to view every angle and seats for guests. Special orders need ample lead time, usually 6-9 months – and usually need alterations so don’t wait till the last minute. And yes, these dresses usually have a higher price tag. If you’re going to have your dress custom made give your seamstress plenty of time for designing, procuring, fabricating and fittings. Multiple fittings. This dress won’t need alterations because it is made for you alone. Your seamstress is going to create your vision based on style, color, fabric, embellishments and budget. This means that once this course is set in motion you should have minimal changes. You can’t go from a slender, strapless dress to a full ball gown without paying for time and materials. Plan to spend sufficient time with this person so YOUR vision is accomplished. This is also the person that can alter your ‘off the rack’ or rush because it was late dress as well as your mothers (maybe a remake) Kirstin Andrews is a professional seamstress who has more than 35 years of experience with all aspects of weddings including, but not limited to, design and construction of garments and accessories for both women and men, all alterations, Master tailor services. Kirstin and her team also do custom interior work including all types of window treatments, upholstery, slip covers, lamp shades & other accessories.