Regardless of your personal aesthetic and everyday style, there's a gown out there that will represent you. Columbus boutique owners share advice for finding the right fit for your trip down the aisle.
What you wear on your wedding day has the potential to immediately define your personal style. That, many would argue, is the beauty of the quintessential white dress (or black gown, if you're Sarah Jessica Parker!). It's the one piece of clothing that sums up exactly who you are, in a fashion sense, and never again in your life will you have the freedom to play with your look to such grand effect. It's not about the hue, or the cut of your neckline, or whether or not you go short or long. It's about showing off a look that's fabulously you.
We caught up with the city's chicest boutique owners to chat personal style (and some 2014 trends, of course) and gathered some shopping inspiration for the fashion-forward trendsetter, the vintage obsessed and the less-is-more ladies about town.So you're a … nontraditional fashionista
If you're part of the Columbus trendsetting sect, 2014 is your lucky year. From short gowns (Monique Lhuillier and Carolina Herrera) and blush tones (Vera Wang, Amsale, Watters) to feathers (Ines Di Santo) and bedazzled boleros (Badgley Mischka), the runways at the 2014 spring and fall shows were packed with dresses that scream "look at me."
La Jeune Mariee owner Lindsay Fork, who opened her exclusively bridal Downtown boutique in early 2013, says some designers are surprised by her forward-thinking, on-trend choices for the Columbus market.
"I have to remind them … they don't realize … that Columbus is a fashion mecca for the Midwest," she says. "We have home offices for Abercrombie & Fitch, The Limited, DSW … and these girls want to set themselves apart."
Fork has had to educate the brides, too.
"They automatically assume that we won't have anything for them and that they need to head to New York or Chicago to find the right gown, but we have all the same designers," she says. "Between me and the other stores in town, we encompass pretty much everything."
At La Jeune Mariee, Jenny Packham and Anna Maier gowns are favorites among fashion-focused brides. "These are gowns that guests aren't going to have seen before. They'll set you apart," Fork says.
In the Short North, Big Rock caters to nontraditional women who like to mix things up a bit, says manager Lisa Sullivan. They're also one of the only local boutiques that sells Vera Wang.
"Vera is the biggest request we get, and a lot of her gowns come in different colors, from pastels to black-and-white to nude. Everything in the store is ivory, but we can order fun colors."
Maggie Wyper of Girls in White Dresses, also located Downtown, says fashion-forward often means fit-and-flare silhouettes, while Paloma Blanca's illusion necklines are a big hit among the store's trendiest brides.
At White of Dublin, Heather DiMasi suggests Ines Di Santo and Ian Stuart gowns. "We saw so many exciting gowns at bridal market," DiMasi says. "We have one Di Santo coming in that we're really excited about. It's in a violet hue … it's subtle, but it's definitely unique."
Jackie Trucco, owner of IVY Bridal Studio in Dublin, relishes in unexpected fabrics and patterns. "I get most excited about the classic gowns with a funky, modern twist," she says.
Trucco's bestsellers include Hayley Paige and Modern Trousseau gowns.
"For my store, the best compliment that a bride can give me is, 'I've never seen gowns like this anywhere else,' " Trucco says. "I really love to focus on different kinds of fabrics and patterns-something a bit unexpected."
"My bride knows what she wants and she goes after it," Trucco adds. "She wants her dress to be reflective of her personality, and I like to have different options for her."So you're an …old-school romantic
Elaborate texture-still big in bridal for 2014-is often what gives a gown its vintage feel, and romantic rosettes, dramatic, bedazzled backs and long lace sleeves were featured again and again at the fall bridal market. But the definition of vintage depends on the bride, of course-from Grandma's pearls to totally Daisy Buchanan.
Trucco is most excited about a Modern Trousseau gown that offers serious vintage glam.
"It has a 1920s look and feel," she says. Also giving that vintage vibe are the shop's crystal-encrusted boleros and three-quarter-length lace sleeves, something Trucco was excited to see a lot of at market.
"Ali" by Augusta Jones, a favorite at Girls in White Dresses, features a high illusion neckline and illusion back with bridal buttons. "It's kind of a Jackie O. style," Wyper notes. "And we'll see a lot of Chantilly lace and beaded lace in the spring."
Fork says if your heart is set on a vintage-esque gown, stick with lace. "It's just easy. It's always going to be timeless," she says. And the shop's Jenny Packham dresses-they have six of her new designs and will likely pick up more in the fall-are totally '20s, but
Fork notes this isn't necessarily due to the trend.
"Packham is new for us, which everyone is excited about," she says. "But we picked her long before the 'Gatsby' thing started to get really popular. [Packham's style] isn't a fad that's going to fade away."So you're a … tomboy at heart
Simple or minimalist style encompasses many looks, from clean lines to full-but otherwise understated-ball gowns. This, too, depends on the bride, but our local boutique owners have suggestions.
For Sullivan, sophisticated simplicity equates to casual. She recommends a gown you can move in. "When I think minimalist, I think of something that's appropriate for the beach," she says. "Something you can really walk in. No bustle."
Trucco looks to Alyne when she has a bride who wants to keep things clean. "[The designer] hits on that classic look. The fabrics and the silhouette are simple," she says. "I have a ball gown here that has really classic pleats … small details like that keep it uncomplicated yet interesting."
DiMasi notes Sassi Holford and Anne Barge as great options for the less-is-more bride, while Wyper suggests trying drop-waist and unembellished fit-and-flare gowns or Paloma Blanca's 4403 gown, featuring a sweetheart neckline and silk fabric that's been cross-over pleated. It gradually flares near the hemline and offers a removable flower embellishment.
If minimal is your thing, go with your gut. But be prepared to surprise yourself, too.
"We have girls come in and tell us [simple] is their style," Fork says. "And then we try to start simple, they realize that this is their wedding … and that they're willing to add a sparkly belt or incorporate more jewelry.
"But we've never been known for a lot of stuff on our dresses," she continues. "We can do glam without throwing a bunch of beads on a dress."