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Dream Wedding Dresses

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When it comes to bridal fashion, the 2011 report is all about über feminine styles. Lace and floral accents add a romantic touch; smooth, draping fabrics provide sophisticated silhouettes; and soft ruffles offer a hint of elegance.

Rachel Taylor, owner of Bella Couture, a bridal boutique in Newburgh, says she’s noticed a trend towards slimmer styles over fluffy, princess-y ball gowns. “Fit-and-flare dresses are very popular right now,” she says, “especially ones with ruching and pleats in the fabric. This style accents the smallest part of the waist, giving a smooth hourglass shape.” Sweetheart necklines and corset-style backs are evergreen styles still in high demand, she notes.

Grace Simmons, manager of Poughkeepsie’s Town Shop, a bridal staple for about 26 years, says she, too, has seen more brides opt for fitted gowns, usually in silk organza, silk satins, and lacy materials. “Soft, layered ruffles; subtle beading; and 3-D floral appliqués are other trends that are really starting to pick up,” she says, adding that the industry is also predicting jeweled belts to become popular. “They give just the right pop on a simple silk dress,” she explains.

Headpieces are taking a turn for a vintage-glam look that harkens back to the Hollywood fads of the 1930s and ’40s. “Feathers, flowers, birdcage veils, and clips or headbands are in,” Simmons emphasizes.

So what’s out of fashion for this year’s brides? “Colored embroidery, shorter styles, and stark white dresses seem to be fading,” Taylor says. “More of our brides are choosing ivory or diamond white [a slightly off-white color], and soft silver should be big by spring.” Simmons agrees, adding that “accessories — especially shoes — are being selected in much bolder colors like red or purple, something that hints at the bride’s personality.”

One trend that’s not fading, however, is how much a bride is willing to spend on the perfect gown. “Brides are still splurging on dresses,” Taylor states, “and often their budgets are much larger than the prices we offer.”

Town Shop’s prices include alterations to make purchasing a bit easier, “but brides are still willing to spend,” Simmons says. “When they find that perfect dress, they know they have to have it.”

Top Five Trends for 2011

Soft silver/frosted silver hues
This understated color has been popping up all over the runways; an elegant hue that complements a variety of skin tones.

Fit and flare/mermaid silhouettes
As the average age of brides increases (the mean age group being 27-31, according to a poll by Destination Weddings magazine), more women are opting for a flattering, sophisticated line over fairy-tale frills.

Cap sleeves with lace or beading
Tiny sleeves that hug just the top of the shoulder offer a very sweet and romantic look. (It tends to look best on toned or slender
arms, since it emphasizes broad shoulders.) Women with larger arms might want to consider a variation of this trend: try an
elegant off-the-shoulder neckline or a dress with a cropped bolero jacket.

Delicate, vintage feminine accents
Subtle beading and soft ruffles provide an understated elegance, but glam brides can make a statement with girly floral appliqués,
or marabou or ostrich feathers.

Chiffon or lace overlays and draping
Billowing fabrics and dainty lace add a sense of whimsy to even the simplest gowns.

Captions: Opposite page: Elegant “Candace” dress in frosted silver with ruched pleats. This page, clockwise from top left: “Constance” (in ivory) features beaded embellishments and cascading ruffles; “Ella” (in silver/ivory lace with silver accent) showcases a sheer overlay with delicate lace; “Rosalyn” (in silver haze) offers a demure, fitted silhouette with feminine cap sleeves; and “Stephanie” (in diamond white/silver accent) displays romantic roses

All dresses by Maggie Sottero

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