Tips before you say yes to online wedding dress

FILE - In this April 13, 2018 file photo, bridal fashion from the Amsale collection is modeled during Bridal Fashion Week in New York.  Buying a wedding dress online is a much different experience than doing so in a store. Shopping online can help brides make more clear-headed and less emotion-driven purchases. But it also requires brides to be their own consultants, who are familiar with fabrics, cuts and more.  (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews, File) Photo: Bebeto Matthews / Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Carol Hickins’ wedding dress arrived at her office “in a plastic bag inside a brown cardboard box,” she said. The packaging was a “letdown,” she said, but the dress was not. She loved the gown she bought from the Ann Taylor website.

That was in 2013, and Ann Taylor has since stopped selling wedding dresses. But Anthropologie’s bridal line BHLDN has stuck around since launching in 2011, and many other retailers have joined the online market.

Now, brides can buy gowns online from designers like Nicole Miller, luxury stores like Moda Operandi or from a home try-on site like Floravere. They can even browse wedding dresses while buying jeans — H&M, ModCloth and ASOS have bridal lines.

Less emotion

No matter the site, adding a dress to a virtual cart doesn’t pack the same emotional punch as buying one in person — and that can lead to a more clear-headed purchase, said Meg Keene, founder and editor-in-chief of A Practical Wedding, a website for what it calls laid-back, feminist weddings.

You won’t be making that significant financial decision as you cry, your mother gushes and a beaming saleswoman slides a veil into your hair. “You’ll be at home and be able to calmly weigh your options,” Keene said.

But shopping online for a wedding dress is a “more self-guided experience,” said Shelley Brown, fashion and beauty editor at The Knot website, which offers wedding advice and planning resources.

“At a bridal salon, you have someone telling you, ‘Here are your best options, according to all your parameters you gave me.'” she said. Online, “you have to be your own bridal consultant.”

Tips for buying online

If you decide to shop online, how do you become your own consultant? Start with these tips:

Avoid scammy sites: While there’s a range in price and quality among the sites mentioned above, they’re legitimate. Order a dress from one of them, and you should receive a garment that looks close to what you expected.

But some websites steal photos of designer dresses and claim to be selling the same gowns for a 10th of the price, Brown said.

If you see a $300 “designer” dress that is selling elsewhere for $3,000, or if the site includes misspellings, grammatical errors or otherwise “feels off,” Brown says you’re probably looking at counterfeit gowns.

“And when (the dress) arrives, it will look nothing like the photo and will probably be unwearable,” she says.

“If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.”

Read the fine print: Even on legitimate sites, scrutinize the return policy and expected delivery dates. Plan your purchase to receive the dress at least two months before the wedding, Brown said, “just in case you need alterations or in case you change your mind.”

Research fabrics: Because you can’t touch the gowns on websites, Brown suggests learning about what different fabrics look and feel like. Peruse a fabric store, the racks of a bridal salon or your closet to discover what charmeuse feels like versus satin, for example. With this knowledge, you can determine your preferred fabrics and interpret dresses’ online product descriptions.

Learn what flatters your body type: Cuts of dresses look different on each body type. A strapless ball gown, for example, may suit a pear-shaped figure better than someone with an apple shape. (If this sounds more like a fruit salad recipe than shopping advice, search “what’s my body shape” online.)

Read about the best wedding gowns for each body type and research the kinds of dresses your “celebrity doppelganger” wears, Brown said.

“If you have a body type that’s more like Beyonce or like Mindy Kaling or like Taylor Swift, looking at them on the red carpet in different things can actually kind of help you determine what looks best on you,” she said.

Trying on a few types of gowns off the rack to begin with can be helpful, too.

Trust the site’s sizing: Take your measurements, and use them with the website’s size guide. Keep in mind that sizes vary by brand, and that wedding dresses are often sized differently than street clothes. So trust the website if it recommends a size 10 based on your measurements rather than your usual 8.

“Don’t obsess about the number,” Brown says.

After all, your wedding’s approaching — you have other things to obsess about.

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Fashion: Wild Romance

Is it possible to fall in love with a dress? When you find the one that travels from beach to bar and even the office, we think so!

Worth splashing out for: Philosophy’s divine maxi-dresses don’t come cheap, but they’ll look heavenly summer after summer

Top: dress, £555, Kalita, Gold and pearl necklace, £120,

Slip on a billowy maxi, add simple jewellery and you’ve got boho beach style sorted. Bare feet mandatory!

Lace dress, £1,675, Chloé, Necklace, £139,

Striped dress, £305, Dodo Bar Or, Ring, £13.99, Earrings, £85,

Dress, £39.99, Earrings, £85,

Dress, £1,340,

Mulberry’s silk midi will keep working when you’ve left the beach behind. Cinch the waist and add a block heel and sleek tote for the office

Dress, £752, Clube Bossa, Fenwick of Bond Street. Sandals, £155, Ancient Greek Sandals, Ring, £925,

Ruffles, check! Pretty print, check! This silk midi from our favourite new resortwear brand Clube Bossa is a trend-ticking winner

Fashion assistant Stephanie Sofokleous

Make-up Nicky Weir using Laura Mercier

Hair Choccy at One Represents using Bumble and Bumble

Model Marlijn Hoek at Ulla Models

Producer Lucy Coghlan

The YOU fashion team stayed at Almanara luxury boutique hotel and villas, which are located on Diani Beach, Kenya. From around £190 per person per night;


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Bella Hadid Nails the Casual BOD Look in Cannes*

Bella Hadid is living her best life at the Cannes Film Festival this year and, today, her best life includes strutting around town in a casual bod look that will make your jaw drop. The model stepped out in a pair of black short shorts and a match black halter top that put her impressive abs on full display.;center,top&resize=768:*

She finished the oh-so-casual look with a low, tight bun and slip-on black flip flops.

The sighting at the Le Majestic hotel came just hours before the model hit the red carpet for the Dior dinner at Cannes, wearing a stunning red, sheer dress and the most perfect Bulgari diamond necklace.;center,top&resize=768:*

The model documented her getting ready routine on Instagram, which included getting her hair and makeup done professionally before the event. She wore an adorable yellow tank top and blue jeans while getting dressed for the event, putting her total number of outfits for the day up to at least three.

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Arab Fashion Week opens with fallen angels

Arab Fashion Week now has two editions: Dubai Arab Fashion Week, and Riyadh Arab Fashion Week.

Models walk on the catwalk displaying designs by Amato Couture during Arab Fashion Week in the Gulf emirate of Dubai on May 9. (AFP)

Models walk on the catwalk displaying designs by Amato Couture during Arab Fashion Week in the Gulf emirate of Dubai on May 9. (AFP)


DUBAI – As the abaya witnesses a global resurgence, the sixth edition of Arab Fashion Week opened with fallen angels, Rococo corsets, cupcake headbands and nary a kaftan in sight.

Billed as an official fashion week alongside the famed Paris, Milan and London shows, the Arab edition of fashion week is the sole event dedicated entirely to ready-couture and pre-collections.

Hosted on the Queen Elizabeth II cruise ship, the show, which prides itself on its Arab name, opened with angel-inspired and baroque kitsch collections by designers from Russia, Portugal, the UAE, the Philippines, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia and more.

Designer Furne One of Amato Couture, loved in Dubai for his ethereal designs, opened the four-day affair with his “White Noise” resort collection, inspired by angels both cherubin and fallen.

With winged white liner, pearl teardrops beneath their eyes and nude fishnet stockings, his models walked the runway in hot-pants, tea-length dresses, mermaid gowns and sheer flowing capes, draped head-to-toe in lace, voile and crystals.

“The inspiration about this collection is angels. White angels, fallen angels all kinds of angels, who are here on earth — because we don’t know,” said One, whose popular collections are frequently inspired by mythical creatures.

Russia’s Tatiana V. Lyalina paid tribute to Marie Antoinette with a Rococo-inspired collection featuring pink heart-print pantsuits underneath bright blue fur stoles, teal velvet gowns with brooches, glitter knee boots, corsets and cupcake headbands.

The Arab Fashion Council has openly said it aims to spread ready-couture across the region — a form of fashion that is financially more accessible than haute couture, but pricier and slightly more exclusive than ready-to-wear.

The spread of ready-couture has not sat particularly well with traditional gatekeepers in the fashion world, but the growing influence of social media has seen its popularity continue to skyrocket.

The Arab Fashion Council is banking on that popularity to make its mark on the global scene.

“With the change of the market and the economy and the business of fashion, we have noticed that … even in Paris, in the last fashion week, there were many designers trying to shift from haute couture to ready-couture,” said Jacob Abrian, head of the Arab Fashion Council.

“It is because of the economy, because of the financial status, because of social media, because of your social life. You tend to go to more events than before and you tend to spend less… but you will keep a certain level of luxury,” Abrian told AFP.

“I believe this is a very important tool in our hands, that we can push Arab Fashion Week to become one of the first, most important fashion weeks in the next 10 years.”

For five seasons exclusive to Dubai, Arab Fashion Week now has two editions: Dubai Arab Fashion Week, and Riyadh Arab Fashion Week, less than one month apart.

Saudi Arabia last month hosted its own version of the event, drawing press from around the world to a lineup that included trunk shows by Jean Paul Gaultier and Roberto Cavalli but did not include men or cameras.

(Agence France-Presse)

Source : The Arab Weekly

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TAFE graduates take over the Australian Fashion Week runway

CLOTH and clothes are scattered across Zsofia Matrai’s Marrickville one bedroom apartment. The same thing’s happening in the Randwick family home of Jessica Kite.

The pair are busily constructing their future in fashion and TAFE has played a vital role.

Jessica, 22, and Zsofia, 25, are among ten graduates from TAFE’s Fashion Design Studio who’ll each see their creations on the catwalk at Fashion Week’s graduate show later this month.

The graduate show, now in its 20th year, has earned a reputation for being the week’s “hottest show”.

TAFE design graduates Jessica Kite and Zsofia Matrai will witness their creations take to the stage at Australian Fashion Week. Picture: Sam Ruttyn


Competition for a slot in the show has never been stronger, after TAFE recorded a fivefold increase in enrolments for a Certificate III in Applied Fashion Design and Technology since 2015 — from 56 students to 310.

When Zsofia clocks off from designing patterns for Kaftan queen Camilla Franks, she heads back to a very understanding partner in a tiny apartment where the kitchen, which “is also my living room” is where “I’ve been putting the show together in my kitchen”.

A piece from Zsofia Matrai’s collection. Picture: Bill Chen

The pieces will be seen at Fashion Week. Picture: Bill Chen.


Jessica Kite “moved back home to save money and my whole collection is on the dining room table and the surrounding floor, much to my parents’ dismay.” Seven weeks since graduating, Jessica has already fielded calls from Chinese luxury department chain Lane Crawford to stock her label.

Australian fashion icons Alex Perry, Dion Lee, Akira Isogawa, Anna Plunket from Romance is Born, Nicky Zimmerman and Ainsley Hansen from Hansen and Gretel all hail from TAFE’s Fashion Design Studio.

TAFE had paid a pivotal role in guiding Jessica Kite, Ann Quan, Ainsley Hansen and Zsofia Matrai. Picture: Sam Ruttyn


According to Hansen, whose line is stocked in more than 50 retailers including David Jones, the TAFE graduates showing at Fashion Week are streets ahead of their rivals in a cutthroat industry.

“They’re a step ahead of everyone else, showing at an international level in front of buyers from (online retailers) ShopBop, Farfetch and Net-A-Porter,” Hansen said

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Dress Designers Add Options for Plus-Size Brides

Josefina Rodriguez tries on a gown by the designer Justin Alexander at a recent bridal show at RK Bridal in Manhattan. The dresses were created especially for curvy women, sizes 18 to 32. Credit Rebecca Smeyne for The New York Times


On a recent Saturday in February, it was bridal mayhem at RK Bridal in Manhattan. Brides lined up to try on dresses. Bridal consultants ran around the shop, weighted down with alteration gear. Hovering mothers fussed over their daughters.

The main attractions weren’t the brides but the dresses on display that day. There were six new ones (from a total of 15) designed by Justin Alexanderthat were created especially for curvy women, sizes 18 to 32.

Mr. Alexander was on hand to show off his new styles and his “Be You” campaign.

“A plus-size girl doesn’t want to be limited to one or two traditional looks, but wants fashion, like an interesting ruffle,” he said. “They can’t try that on because it’s not available to her. We’ve developed a diverse range where they can try on a fit-and-flair with a sweetheart neckline, or something that’s beaded. We don’t want someone to come into the store and not be able to try on the dress of their dreams.”

This inability to try on dresses had long been a fear for Josefina Rodriguez, a plus-size bride. In need of support, she had arrived at RK Bridal armed with her mother, sister, best friend and matron of honor.

Mr. Alexander, who was on hand to show off his new styles, helps Ms. Rodriguez in the selection process. Credit Rebecca Smeyne for The New York Times

“I struggle with my size,” she said. “I have anxiety trying on dresses.”

Ms. Rodriguez, a 25-year-old social worker from Bronxville, N.Y., went to RK Bridal because of the show, having seen an ad in a bridal magazine, and for the opportunity to meet Mr. Alexander. “It’s comforting to know no one here is going to say, ‘We’ll see what we can do. I don’t know if we have your size.’”

Her mother, Josefina Rodriguez, 64, said “its time designers accommodate plus-size women. Mr. Alexander is a blessing.”

Her daughter, she added, is “short and curvy. It’s a double whammy. We’re all chunky in this family.”

Mr. Alexander is just one of several designers introducing fashion lines intended for the full-size bride. In March, Don O’Neill, the designer for Theia, unveiled Theia Curve Collection, a plus-size bridal line, sold exclusively at Lovely Bride, an independent bridal boutique with 14 locations in the United States. Thiea is one of many plus-size collections Lovely Bride is offering as part of its recent initiative to embrace all body types.

Lanie List, the founder of Lovely Bride, says she had been just as frustrated with the lack of options in plus sizes as the brides. “We didn’t have larger sizes from manufactures because retailers haven’t pushed for them,” she said. “Last spring we recognized there were no good indie options for these brides who want a chic look and fun vibe without the stuffiness.”

Ms. List approached Theia to see if the brand would offer their best-sellers as a capsule collection in sizes 18-24. The answer was yes.

“Over the years this need has been building,” Mr. O’Neill said. “Designers shied away from larger sizes. I empathize with these women who are told you’re not small enough or pretty enough.”

Mr. O’Neill’s dresses got attention thanks to their stretchy material, comfortable-yet-snug fit, and exquisite beading. Aside from a raised back for extra support, beading and artwork modifications, few changes were needed to create the collection.

Mr. Alexander, recognized for his vintage inspiration and progressive details, also did minimal alterations. “The pattern grading for our gowns at a 2 or a 22 are generally the same,” he said. “For a larger size we may add fullness to certain patterns, or give a little more in the hip and armhole. Many of our dresses have shapewear mesh in the lining, which benefits a plus-size bride because it holds in their curves.”

Designer trunk shows, like the one recently held at RK Bridal, have become almost like focus groups. “Designers are realizing there’s an underlooked part of the market,” Mr. Alexander said. “By creating this show, we’re allowing stores to bring in dresses they wouldn’t normally try. And we’re learning a lot about what the plus-size bride wants and how dresses fit her.”

“It’s amazing and surreal to know something is going to fit and is in my size,” Ms. Rodriguez said. Credit Rebecca Smeyne for The New York Times

Retailers had long been wary about trying out new merchandise, preferring to stick with styles likely to sell the fastest. “As designers, we’re always trying to push the envelope on the runway,” Mr. O’Neill said. “I’ll show 25 dresses, and we end up producing 12 max because the stores aren’t willing to invest in the others.”

Consumers, therefore, have been left to advocate and demand change. “Plus size on the runway has been a consumer-driven necessity, it’s not a trend.” Mr. O’Neill added. “Until now, stores have been divided between regular size bridal dresses and plus size. There are not a lot that cater to both.”

Mr. Alexander says he has been working with retailers to create programs that recognize the needs of women who wear larger sizes, and make the try-on process more convenient. “Plus-size women have had to squeeze into something that wasn’t in her size and envision what the dress would look like. I didn’t feel good about that, and the girls didn’t feel good about that.”

Mrs. Rodriguez felt good about her daughter’s options that recent Saturday at RK Bridal.

“This is a great moment in my daughter’s life,” she said. “She feels beautiful in something she didn’t think she could wear because it wasn’t available to her. Mr. Alexander is speaking to her body, which nobody has done before.”

At the end of the day, Ms. Rodriguez had a bigger problem than when she arrived. Rather than fearing she wouldn’t find anything, she fell in love with two dresses. For the first time ever, her choice came down to style, not size. (She finally decided on Mr. Alexander’s Beaded Metallic Lace Mermaid Gown with Tiered Ruffled Skirt, size 20, around $2,300.)

“It’s amazing and surreal to know something is going to fit and is in my size,” said Ms. Rodriguez, who walked proudly down the store’s aisle, faux flowers in her hand and a veil on her head. A line of family and friends watched, clapped, cried and took photos. “Before there weren’t options,” she said. “I don’t have to leave disappointed.”

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Brollies and ponchos win the fashion stakes on a rainy Ladies Day at Aintree

Puddles and showers forced racegoers to take protective measures at the Grand National meeting.

Wet weather failed to stop the style as racegoers turned out at Aintree for Ladies Day.

Punters accessorised with umbrellas and ponchos for the damp second day of the famous race meet in Merseyside.

Sophie Gatliff, 27, who came up from London with friend Lydia Unwin, 24, for the racing said: “Once we have a glass of champagne we’ll be fine!”

Ms Unwin said the weather was disappointing but added: “We’re going to get over that I’m sure.”

The pair both wore bright colours, with Ms Unwin wearing a green dress with fascinator and Ms Gatliff in a wide-legged jumpsuit with yellow pattern.

Ms Unwin said: “I think it’s a really fun day just to dress up and you know you can wear things a little bit more extravagant, that you wouldn’t otherwise get to wear so I just went for colour.”

The fashion crown was taken by 19-year-old student Robyn-May Quinn, from County Armagh in Northern Ireland, who won the annual Style Contest at the second day of the famous race meet.


Racegoers are surrounded by rubbish as they leave the course on Ladies Day of the 2018 Randox Health Grand National Festival (David Davies/PA)


But, she said she would have to ask for her father’s permission before she was allowed to drive the prize, a Range Rover Evoque.

She wore a beige dress with a floral design and a beaded headband with a leaf design.

She said: “I picked the dress pretty quickly and I got the hat designed for the dress.”

Miss Quinn said she was at the races with her family and friends and they had all entered the style contest together “for the craic”.


Randox Health Doctor of Medicine Dr Peter FitzGerald (centre right) and Kenny Dalglish (centre right) pose with the 2018 Randox Health Grand National trophy (David Davies/PA)


Among the celebrities out for the occasion were comedian Jason Manford, former Liverpool FC footballers Jamie Carragher and Kenny Dalglish and reality TV stars from Love Island and the Real Housewives Of Cheshire.

Chris Hughes, a former Love Island contestant, said the atmosphere had made up for the weather.

He said: “The Scouse public kind of pick you up, they like warm the weather.”


Female racegoers on Ladies Day (Peter Byrne/PA)


On the women’s outfits, he said: “There’s a lot of flesh on show, I love it.”

Other trends including bold colours and this year saw many female racegoers favouring trousers instead of the traditional dresses.

Carole Cooper, 59, from Wigan wore an emerald green dress which she had made herself.


Racegoers take a selfie amid the rain (Peter Byrne/PA)

She said: “It’s my favourite colour and I know green is in this year.”

She added: “We’re not going to let the rain put us off.”

Her husband Jim, 61, said: “It’s always fabulous, Ladies Day, Aintree, the whole meeting, it’s just brilliant.”


A female racegoer enters into the Grand National spirit during Ladies Day (Peter Byrne/PA)

Charlotte Wilson, 24, from Burnley said she had gone for “neutral glam” in a beige off-the -shoulder dress and fascinator, while friend Maddie Stevenson, 20, went for a “red classic dress”.


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