What to Wear to a Graduation Party

Graduation is right around the corner!  Many years has passed since I graduated, so this edition of What to Wear is written by guest writer, Lisa Griffin.

Soon you will be spending your last days at your university or college. Besides final tests and thoughts about your future perspectives, it means a memorable party! Are you excited about the day when everyone can forget about assignments and devote attention to choosing dresses for the graduation ceremony? All the seniors impatiently wait for this major event. Staying in trend might be difficult in everyday life, but when it comes to graduation, it’s even harder. So, what shall you wear to look fabulous? Continue reading

Top 10 Wedding Dress Shopping Tips

Top 10 Wedding Dress Shopping Tips

  1. Know your budget.
    • Determine your absolute maximum (including tax) amount for your dress.  Nothing will ever compare to the gorgeous twice-your-budget dress that you know you cannot afford – so do not try it on.  It will only make finding YOUR dress that much harder.
    • I really like the dress budget as a percentage of the overall wedding budget.  10% of your budget for attire is a common starting point, but this is entirely up to you.  This keeps the dress purchase proportionate to the entire wedding.  Evaluate the entire budget and allocation to each item, this will add perspective to your spending and identify the real priorities.
  1. Most bridal salons take reservations. When you book your reservation, tell them your wedding date (if already set), state your price range of dresses, and confirm that they can work within your budget.  Typically they will pre-select dresses for you based on size and price before you ever see the inside of a fitting room.
    • Bring a trusted friend or family member to take photos (if allowed), keep you within budget, and provide an honest opinion.
    • Remember to cancel any reservations that you are not going to attend.
  1. Bring a few different style bras with you to try on dresses (at least 2).  There are different levels of padding, coverage, and adjustable straps or strapless. Leave your sports bra at home.  You might need to buy a new low back bra or full-length shapewear, starting with a good bra for fitting will make a huge difference in appearance.
  2. Screen Shot 2015-09-01 at 7.13.38 PMBring at least one pair of dress shoes with you that coordinate with the location; you will wear different shoes for a fancy church wedding, outdoor garden venue, versus beach wedding.  Most likely you will buy wedding shoes after you pick the dress, these fitting shoes are to better visualize the complete outfit.
  3. Wear good panties. When I owned a Bridal store, I was horrified at the number of women that did not wear panties to try on wedding (and even Prom) dresses.  Almost as bad, do not wear panties that will bunch up or wild prints that will distract you.

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Easy Ways to Add Straps to Strapless Tops and Dresses

I love the look of strapless dresses, but I hate being worried about a wardrobe malfunction.  Here are a few easy ways to add straps to strapless tops and dresses.

Strapless dress with matching straps

Strapless dress with matching straps

Strapless top with matching straps

Strapless top with matching straps

This dress and top actually came with their own matching straps!  Admittedly, that one one of the key selling points for both.  Attach the straps by inserting the hook through the attached loop – Easy!

The adjustable dress straps are even long enough to cross in the back.Strap_Top back

Most tops and dresses do not come with matching straps.  There are many straps available for purchase, or you can make your own.  These can be sewn into the lining for a secure solution, or add loops for a variety of options and styles.

Adding strap loops

Adding strap loops

Cut 2 inches of sturdy fabric for each strap loop.  Red ribbon shown for illustration only.  I used matching black bias tape for these black tops.  Bias tape and strap fabric can be purchased at any craft or fabric store.

While wearing the dress or top, use a straight pin to position the loops.  The loops should be below the edge so that the hooks do not show when attached.

Black bias tape for loops

Black bias tape for loops

Sew the loops securely into the lining.

Do not sew the thread through the front of the garment to prevent the stitches from showing.

You may want to practice on similar sample fabric before sewing the real item.

Sew 2 loops in front for halter style straps, or 2 in front and 2 in back for cross back or straight back straps.  The straps can be used again for several different outfits by using the loops.


What Size am I?

Junior, Misses, Missy, Women’s, Plus, Petite, Tall – What size am I?  With so many size types, where should I begin?  How do I know what size clothes to try on, or buy from the website?SizeChart

There is so much confusion on women’s sizing.  There is simply no standard size chart for all clothes – we are different heights, weights, proportions, and shapes.  I have created this handy chart comparing several different stores sizes to demonstrate how to determine what size clothes to try on.

The first step is to know your measurements.  Here is a quick tutorial on How to Measure Yourself. You will need all of your measurements, but for this session we will focus on waist measurement only.  The style of jean or pants will be largely based on the hip measurement (curvy, straight, low rise, high waist, etc), but the waist measurement tends to be the real deal breaker for fit.  Chest or Bust measurements are obviously important for shirts and dresses.

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Simple Tips to Upcycle Your Prom Dress

Prom season is here!  Check out these helpful hints for buying your Prom Dress.

Simple Tips to Upcycle Your Prom DressAfter Prom, you may consider selling your Prom dress while the style is still current and to make room in your closet for other things.  Or, you may just not want to part with your beautiful frock – so Upcycle it!  You can repurpose your dress into another fabulous outfit.

A former client loved her Prom dress enough that she upcycled it into her wedding gown!  Try different fabric spray paints (continuous spray are better than pump) or dyes for a totally different color or pattern.

A hem transforms a long dress into a semi-formal cocktail dress or skirt, like this example from New Dress a Day.

Keep the skirt and ditch the top, another New Dress a Day example with instructions here.

Or, maybe you are just not ready to drastically alter your dress – accessorize it for other events!
Pexels_dress1Get a little inspiration from your favorite store for layering options.  Lace tops over strapless dresses offer a more casual look.  Or, try a sheer tee shirt over your dress.  Switch up the top from your favorite full skirt!

Add a jacket or cardigan sweater.  Try your dress with various belts or a coordinating scarf.

Experiment with different items in your closet.  It is amazing how many different ways your Prom dress, or any special occasion dress, can be worn!