weds-day: your wedding dress

image by Ashley Caroline / dress Reem Acra from Kleinfeld / makeup Jennie Fresa / hair Jennifer Marcuson / flowers Jakkelyn Iris

image by Ashley Caroline / dress Reem Acra from Kleinfeld / makeup Jennie Fresa / hair Jennifer Marcuson / flowers Jakkelyn Iris

Good morning from a snowed in NYC! Hope you enjoyed your snow day, if you had one. I wanted to chat on this weds-day about your wedding dress. One of the weightier decisions surrounding your big day, and one that receives a lot of hype (for good reason). Obviously, this is where my love of fashion and weddings collide, so I have a lot to say about the process. Here are some tips before you begin your big search.

1. Do your research - With any aspect of wedding planning, you'll find that Pinterest is almost always step one. No exceptions for your wedding dress; you have to do your homework. I suggest starting with a secret wedding dress Pinterest board that only you have access to (so as to reserve judgement from opinionated friends, family + stylists), and spending some time pinning every dress you like, for whatever reason. Once you've pinned 30-40 dresses, look for a common theme. Undoubtedly, there is one. Make a note of that.

2. Set your appointment - You're going to want to look for your wedding dress somewhere between 8-12 months out from your wedding. Quick note, if you're having a short engagement, you may want to think about sample sales or department stores, where you won't have to wait for the dress to be made. If you have the time, make an appointment at a bridal salon or designer show room. If you have no idea what kind of dress you want, head to a bridal salon with great inventory. They'll carry a bunch of different styles by different designers, so you can really look around. If you love a particular designer, go to their showroom. For example, if you love Amsale, make an appointment at their bridal showroom so you can see the full collection. This is something I didn't do, but wish I had done (regardless, I love my dress and experience picking it out and wouldn't change a thing). 

3. Try, try, try - I've heard of some boutiques only allowing you to try on a specific number of gowns before they tell you that they don't have what they're looking for. But if you aren't happy with what your stylist pulls, ask to see more. Or refine your descriptors (long sleeved, lace, structured, champagne, etc) to help them see your vision. If what they have still isn't right, move on from that particular shop. With that being said, and this is important, you do not have to go to 5 different places to find your wedding dress - it exists and can be easily found, but you have to do your research. A lot of Brides get obsessed with finding the "perfect" dress. Don't go there, this isn't a logical process, it's an emotional one. Limit yourself to 3 trips to find your dress, and come prepared!

4. Do not skimp on alterations - Please, this is so important. Do not try and save money by taking your dress somewhere unfamiliar to be altered. It is not worth the potential money you will save. If your salon does alterations, go through them. If they don't offer alterations, ask them who they recommend - this is way better than yelping or googling somewhere random. Trust me, you won't regret it.

Here's a post about finding my wedding dress.

Any questions, tips, or comments? I'm all ears! 

If you're on the search for a dress in the NYC area, here are my favorite salons:

Everthine

Kleinfeld

Lovely Bride

Schone Bride

Have a happy hump day!

xoxo,

aok

style at home: emily

Emily and I have known each other for years, and as you'll see below, she leads a pretty colorful life. She's always game to try new things (food, places, experiences), and considers her friends more like family. 

Emily is the Director of Communications for Benchmarc Restaurants; she oversees both the group's  and Celebrity Chef Marc Murphy's public events, appearances, social media & partnerships. In a word: she's a boss. In getting to know Emily, I was always impressed by the way she sets goals for herself and swiftly accomplishes them. Before she worked for Benchmarc, she spent the better part of a year looking for the job, never losing patience or settling for something not quite right. This is the way she lives her life and a lesson I cherish learning from her; when it comes to big decisions, playing the long game is almost always worth it. 

Emily and I spent a chilly afternoon a few weeks ago hanging in her apartment and going through her closet. I just know you're going to love her (and her apartment)! Emily's words are below:

How would you describe your style?

I don’t even think I have style! But if I had to try to describe it, I’d say it’s a combination between classic “New York” with lots of black and pops of colors and patterns mixed in that reflect my personality. I try to be comfortable no matter what and love a good lip-gloss.

 
Jacket: Forever 21, Top: Old Navy, Jeans: Topshop

Jacket: Forever 21, Top: Old Navy, Jeans: Topshop

 

Who is your style icon?

I have style crushes on Lauren Conrad and Olivia Palermo. Yes, I realize they both might have started on a reality show back in the day but they’ve grown their brands into amazing successes’. Lauren’s style is beach chic, effortless and feminine with lots of blush, white and gold undertones.  Olivia wears floral, faux fur, fun prints and leather. I feel like my “style” is a mix between the two of them especially because I live in the city but grew up on the East End of Long Island and go back and forth so I have that constant struggle of city verse beach wardrobe.

 

Favorite brand or retailer?

I mix it up a lot and I think it changes with my mood and budget! Zara has classic basics like t-shirts, dresses and blazers. Old Navy has revamped recently and I really like their bright bold jackets and they actually have great shoes. Then I love to splurge on Parker and cashmere sweaters and scarfs at Club Monaco. I will never stray from shopping online at Nordstrom and ASOS, plus you can’t beat their return policies.

 
 
Dress: Lulu's

Dress: Lulu's

What is your general approach to fashion? 

Confidence. If I like it, feel good in it, then I wear it. I don’t really follow trends and just try to dress in a way that I feel happy and that is practical for my life. Some days that’s a dress or black jeans, a fitted jacket or blazer and booties. Other days it’s more casual with ripped jeans, an oversized top or sweater and my “sneals” sneaker heels or flat boots. In the summer, I’m always in an easy breezy work dress or a romper and a great pair of gladiator sandals.

If you had to wear one piece of clothing for the rest of your life, what would it be?

My high-waist jeans from TopShop. Specifically the Jamie, they are the most comfortable jeans you will ever ever wear and they literally look good on every single body type. Trust me. They also don’t ever stretch. I love them and feel great in them.

 

What is your earliest fashion memory?

Overalls. I was born in Vermont and lived there until I was 8 and I had these overalls as a kid that I loved a lot. I’m happy to see they are making a come back.

Top: Zara, Booties: Old Navy

Top: Zara, Booties: Old Navy

Any tips or tricks with regards to style, beauty, or shopping that you want to share?

I really believe a manicure is an easy way to express yourself; it adds that “Je ne sais quoi” to your outfit and can make a huge impression without actually saying anything. Also don’t ever underestimate the power of a good cocktail ring, statement necklace and perfume.

Thank you so much, Emily! I love you :)

oscar red carpet favorites

Gooooood morning! I cannot believe I am up this early writing this, as I stayed awake till the bitter end last night for the twist!! I am more of a red carpet gal for sure, but I cannot get over last night's show! So much calling beautiful politics, so much lovely drama, an overall great show.

And really quickly, I didn't see all the best picture noms, but of those I did see (Arrival, La La Land, Manchester by the Sea, Moonlight), Moonlight was the clear winner for me. If you haven't seen it yet, I highly suggest doing so as soon as possible. Such an incredible story told beautifully.

But you're not here for a recap of the show or a review of the films, are you? No way. Without further ado, here are my favorite red carpet looks from last night!

 

Jessica Biel in Kaufman Franco

Jessica Biel in Kaufman Franco

This look is a lot, and yet I cannot take my eyes off of her. The styling is so exceptional; her simple hair, the muted coral lip, the beautiful necklace. She is flawless. 

 
Taraji P. Henson in Alberta Ferretti

Taraji P. Henson in Alberta Ferretti

Hands down best look of the night, not even up for discussion. This was her Oscar's moment, and she did it so beautifully. There was some debate, but the dress is navy and custom made for her. Her necklace!! Her tousled hair! And I love the tiny pop of color in her emerald ring. Perfection.

 
Naomie Harris in Calvin Klein

Naomie Harris in Calvin Klein

Another styling win! Love the dusty red around her eyes, and her yellow shoes! She looks incredible.

 
Riz Ahmed Ermenegildo Zegna Couture

Riz Ahmed Ermenegildo Zegna Couture

Damn, he looks great. Love the color of this tux, and love the vintage inspired elements of it. The skinny bowtie, the large button, the lapels. 

 
Ryan Gosling in Gucci

Ryan Gosling in Gucci

Such a subtle nod to the 70's without feeling costume-y. I love when guys take risks on the carpet. This tux fits his vibe and personality, IMHO. 

 
Mahershala Ali in Ermenegildo Zegna Couture.

Mahershala Ali in Ermenegildo Zegna Couture.

Best dressed guy of the night for me. This look took me by surprise in a beautiful way - the black on black is so simple and yet it makes such a huge impact. 

By the way, my criteria for best dressed is just a great gut feeling I get when I'm watching - it's not based on anything else. I didn't expect to love the guys so much last night but I was pleasantly surprised!

And that is all I've got for you.

xoxo,

aok