The owner of the Downtown boutique gives some dress-up advice.
After 15 years working in government and fundraising, Tanya Hartman was in the market for a career change. She met the previous owner of a Downtown dress shop, just before the owner put the shop up for sale.
“I’d always been interested in owning a creative business, so this was the perfect fit,” says Hartman, who purchased the Short North area shop on Jan. 1, 2018, and moved it to 65 E. Gay St., renaming it Gilded Social. “Honestly, it often feels like it found me,” she says of the shop.
Below, Hartman provides some insight about dressing for fancy occasions this season.
If someone wants the latest style for a wedding or another special event this spring and summer, what style of dress should she look for?
Definitely the hottest fabric in social collections right now is crepe. [Think Meghan Markle.] It’s sleek, slightly structured and doesn’t look like a bridesmaid dress. Other trending details are the deep V-neck, ruffles and my favorite, peacock hues—formerly known as jewel tones.
It seems like any dress length goes in today’s designs. Is there a length that is most popular right now?
Actually, almost all of the dresses we are selling these days are floor length—no matter if it’s for a bridal party, mother of the bride, or another social occasion. Less than 1 percent of our dresses are short.
I’ve noticed in some cities that women are bringing back nude hosiery for formal occasions. What’s happening here?
You’ve got me there. I haven’t seen that particular trend with bridesmaids or other clients locally, but we have definitely been having lots of conversations about shape wear, as the designs are trending to more body-hugging styles.
What are your top three tips for a woman trying to look her best for a special event? Let’s say, you’re a wedding guest, not the bride. (Because we know that brides work for like a year to feel like they’re at their best for the wedding.)
Find a dress that complements your body and style. If you love the dress, you will look your best in it. Everyone smiles the most when they feel great, too. And a smile is definitely the best accessory. (It’s so cliché, but it is true!)
Plan for alterations. Social occasion dresses don’t follow the same type of sizing as ready-to-wear styles you buy off the rack, so it’s important to budget for proper tailoring that will make the dress look its best on you. Almost everyone needs alterations to make a social occasion dress fit right.
Try to give yourself at least four months to ensure you have the most options. Don’t wait until the last minute to shop. You end up limiting yourself or adding cost when you’re rushed. And then, once you find something—stop looking!
What’s your biggest pet peeve when fitting women?
When they don’t trust our expertise in suggesting a size. Since all of our dresses are made-to-order, most often you can’t try on the exact style in the exact size you need. We have to take your measurements and then use our expert knowledge to determine what size to order. We have extensive training and experience with each of the dresses, so when clients don’t take our word for it—it really makes us nervous. Sometimes women order dresses that end up being too small because they don’t want to trust that the size we suggest will fit them best.
Do you prefer that a customer make an appointment to get fitted?
Absolutely, it’s the only way we can be totally ready for you. November to May, we tend to book out a couple weeks in advance. June to October, usually we can get you in within the week. And definitely weekend appointments are a must.