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Timeless dress planning How to work with a dress shop to find your style -- and make sure it's a style that's both on-trend and timeless.

Byline: Renee Lee Wege CTW Features

When it comes to wedding dresses, it's all about striking balance. There's finding that balance between allowing just a tad of wiggle room in your budget and completely blowing it, balancing a look you feel "you" in while also looking like a bride, and balancing what's "in" today with what you hope will still be "in" 10 or 20 years from now.

While it might sound like an oxymoron, with the help of a few pointers, brides can find a dress that combines the best of both worlds -- today's and tomorrow's, with a dress that's both modern and timeless.

What stands the test of time? Confidence

At Aisle Chic in Chicago, consultants work one-on-one with brides (and their entourages, of course) to pair brides with the dress of their dreams. The shop, which opened in 2016, is strictly sample dresses only, featuring a variety of designer dresses available for a discount for savvy brides.

When it comes to finding a dress that brides will love for the rest of their lives, Melissa Russell, one of Aisle Chic's owners, says the most important thing brides should note is how they feel in a dress.

"You should feel beautiful and confident while also remaining true to your personality," Russell says, adding that a gown should help turn bride into the bridal version of themselves (and not feel like a costume).

And the best part about wearing a dress that brides feel great in? Unlike bridal trends, which are always changing, she says "confidence will always stand the test of time."

Stay away from anything too trendy

Sure, it's great to be trendy, but what happens when trends fade into fads?

Kpoene' Kofi-Nicklin, custom dress designer and owner of Chicago's Mignonette Bridal, regularly cautions brides about following trends too closely, finding its best to avoid trends.

If you keep seeing a certain dress style in magazines, Kofi-Nicklin says, it might end up feeling dated when you look back on it in wedding photos 20 years from now.

"We do a lot of heirloom gown revamping so we see a ton of puffy-sleeved, high-necked dresses that are all from the same period, the '70s and '80s, and it's because brides shopped for what was trendy," the dress designer says.

Incorporate classic elements that never go out of style

Mignonette, which Kofi-Nicklin opened in 2011, offers brides a variety of options when it comes to dresses: choose from a collection of gowns including the latest designs and perennial Mignonette favorites that brides can try on in-store; work with Kofi-Nicklin to create a unique gown made just for you; or go with heirloom revamping to modernize a dress that's been in the family.

No matter the route, Kofi-Nicklin starts by having brides try on a variety of shapes and styles. For those looking for classic elements, she says

A-line gowns are always a timeless shape while details like tulle skirts, and fabrics like Chantilly or Alencon lace, or silks like satin, chiffon, or organza never go out of style.

"Anything with strategic sheer panels, super-tight mermaid skirts, or anything too boho will probably not stand the test of time -- and might horrify Grandma!" Kofi Nicklin says.

Aisle Chic's Russell agrees that lace elements have always been in style. "From the wedding day looks of Grace Kelly to Kim Kardashian, lace can be styled very differently, but it will always feel bridal," she says.

Breathe modern life into a classic

To create a dress that's a literal interpretation of modern yet classic, brides can look at restoring and customizing mom or grandma's wedding dress. Working with heirloom gowns is the best because the dress is already special to the bride and her family, says Kofi-Nicklin. While wedding dresses are always special, shes says, an heirloom gown is a symbol of even more than that -- it's a piece of family history. To modernize a vintage dress, Kofi-Nicklin says it can often be as simple as removing a puffy sleeve (goodbye, 80s look) or lowering a neckline to bring a gown back to life.
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Title Annotation:Niche/Adv
Publication:Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL)
Date:Apr 15, 2018
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