Jan: "It is a Special Occasion. Let’s allow ourselves the time to enjoy the specialness of it. As a stylist, we want to fit the dress and be meticulous about the look, and we need the time, and want to give our clients the time to make it perfect without putting unnecessary pressure on the event."
Kate: "So allow yourself a special time and a special experience to make it more memorable."
Jan: "I think it’s up to us to guide our clients in the journey of the special occasion. For example, if we know the bridesmaids are in champagne it’s our job to know not to put the Mother of the Bride in champagne."
Julie: "Unless the bride wants it."
Jan: "Yes, unless the bride dictates."
Julie: "I think that is an important point. I think it is important for us to be respectful of what the parameters are, because that’s different than dressing for a gala. We shouldn't sit there and hammer home what we know is best for our client when the bride doesn't want that, we have to be respectful and find a happy medium. That is really important to keep the occasion special by being a respectful stylist. And I think that sometimes can be challenging."
Leah: "Sometimes special occasions can be really daunting, and maybe that’s why people push it off so late, it’s like swimsuit season, no one really wants to go there. But what do you think is one of the biggest struggles for women in special occasion dressing?"
Julie: "Lots of times we’ll find the perfect gown and say “you know you can hem that later”, but I’d say 95% of the time no one ever hems or tries to re-work it for another event. It is often something you wear one time. It’s worn for that special event. But special occasion isn’t always the practical part of your wardrobe."
Nancy: "Or your checkbook."
Julie: "But it is a Special Occasion. It’s a celebration. And it can be a struggle for everyone to understand the time it takes, and to make it special."
Jan: "Yes, we are getting a special event dress. For mothers of brides and mothers of grooms, the standard line is, “I do not want to look like a “mother of the bride/mother of the groom”. I think it is helping them navigate that journey."
Kate: "So do you think they don’t want to look like the “mother of the bride/mother of the groom” because in their minds that looks old or dated?"
Jan: "I think that when they go back to look at special occasion, because they’re looking for a “mother of the bride/mother of the groom”, they think it’s going to be old."
Kate: "Like the old jacket look."
Julie: "But that’s different to everybody."
Nancy: "Everybody’s idea of what is “mother of the bride/mother of the groom” is different, obviously yours is a little jacketed dress."
Nancy: "But that’s where we have to find out from every client what their “typical” is. Some people it’s the fabrics, for everybody it’s different. But I think in the end, ultimately, I think they mean they don’t want to look old and mature. But I also think part of that has more to do than just the dress! It involves wearing too much makeup, getting an overdone up-do, especially if that isn’t your look. I think there’s a lot that plays into that."
Julie: "Often times when we are attending a special occasion, our friends are having that same special occasion! When we’re all friends, we don’t want to look the same. We want to have some individuality."
Leah: "I think that’s a really good point because we think of ourselves as having the special occasion, but so do all the other guests there. It’s 145 special occasions, or however many people are in attendance, it’s not just my special occasion."
Kate: "What trends or styles do we have in our special occasion boutique right now that you think help update the “look”?"
Nancy: "There is a fabric in particular that I appreciate. I love the silk and wool fabrics. I think they together give such great shape to a dress. They have a little bit of that weighted feel, yet they have the life and the body to withstand wear. They don’t wrinkle much, and what does will typically fall out as you wear it."
Julie: "I like fabrics that don’t show perspiration, like what you’re talking about with the silk-wool. In a sense they keep you cooler, because that lightweight fabric will stick to you and cling. It’s that old saying, “never let them see you sweat”. That’s the beauty of certain fabrics. They allow a woman to get through her day feeling unwrinkled."
Jan: "I love the double-faced wool. The Carmen Marc Valvo. I like the way it hangs, I think they have silhouettes that work for many and aren’t specific to age groups."
Julie: "I think when it comes to some of the current silhouettes that we have, I would say I like the fact that there are so many offerings right now with sleeves. There seems to be a better balance between sleeveless and with sleeves. I think that is a really important part that a designer plays and that a designer has to recognize. I would say that as designers grow, they have to recognize that, they have to translate what is high fashion to be able to work for the woman that’s actually going to purchase it, and right now designers are doing a better job of giving us that."
"I can remember, maybe 18 years ago, everything was sleeveless strapless and had a stole! Around the millennium. That was definitely a trend. It was really hard to get a sleeve unless it was on a jacket. You couldn’t really find dresses that had sleeves. That kind of ebb and flow, but right now that’s a great feature in special occasion."
Leah: "I don’t know if I would have said it so eloquently, or even if I noticed myself gravitating towards those styles but, yeah, I see the new special occasion silhouettes with sleeves as so fresh and new!"
With so many silhouettes trending right now, from the runway to the store, your special occasion dress doesn’t have to feel old. And with help from an expert you don’t have to feel stressed or overwhelmed during this time of celebration!
Stay tuned for the next Table Talk when we're addressing the question on everyone's mind: how to read the dress code.