Hey 'maids,'belles, and warrior princesses (we'll get to that later) welcome to Part I of a two part interview I did with the amazingly inspiring Tijana Beca and Melissa Osborne of Ash + Light NYC. Ash + Light's collection of bridesmaid dresses are designed for women who want to feel comfortable, confident, and really have fun while they knock out their bridesmaid duties like warriors.
Later this week Tijana and Melissa are going to break down how to actually have fun doing the dreaded dead of bridesmaid dress shopping, shed some light what brides can do to create confident and supportive bridesmaids, and they will also address that mythological creature we've all heard tale of, but never seen - the re-wearable bridesmaid dress *ominous music*.
But today I have the most amazing special treat for you - I've truly been excited to share this with you since our interview - A Foolproof Look and Feel Great in Your Bridesmaid Dress Plan. Miracles can happen, and if you follow this guide the heavens will open up, tiny baby angels will sing, and you will LOVE YOUR BRIDESMAID DRESS. Let's do this…
Step 1 - Assessment:
Take a long, hard look in the mirror in form-fitting clothes (or none at all). We highly recommend doing this with an honest mirror - not a fancy wedding parlor mirror rife with sorcery that makes you look like an avatar version of yourself - so it's probably best to do it at home.
Identify the following three things:
1) Your greatest pain point - i.e., the part of yourself that you tend to camouflage/hide the most. A lot of women will be compelled to pick two (usually the dreaded butt/boobs combo), but please trust us and choose only the one worst of your perceived evils.
2) Your greatest asset - i.e. the part of yourself that you are most proud of and like to show off more than any others. This can be great calves, a stupendous rack, beautiful shoulders, everyone has something spectacularly beautiful about them. Again, choose only one.
3) Your dealbreakers - i.e. the things you're not willing to compromise on when it comes to your clothes. For instance, if you're very top heavy and know you're going to need a bra with shoulder support, then one of your dealbreakers is a dress with real straps. If you are incredibly self-conscious about your midsection and know you'll be super uncomfortable the whole day wearing a bodycon dress, then stretch sheaths are out for you. Mind you, choose wisely - the most dealbreakers you get is two. If you have 3+ true dealbreakers, you need to be in a shrink's office, not a wedding.
Step 2 - Communication:
Nothing is going to make a bride more pissed than coming to her the day of the bridesmaid shopping trip and saying, "you know, I really can't wear this dress because blabbedy blah blah." Do yourself a favor and call/e-mail the bride well in advance of the shopping day, and very clearly communicate your dealbreakers so that there will be no surprises the day of.
Allow her to counter, and be reasonable and open minded. This way, you will both go into the appointment with information and a clear conscience.
Step 3 - Elimination process:
On the day of the bridesmaid selection process, you are going to run your selections through three filters.
1) Start with an initial sweep through the shop; pull anything that inspires you even remotely, but assess each dress for whether it meets your most essential "deal breaker" criteria. In love with a strapless dress but carrying around triple Ds? Put it back, there are others. Trust your gut - it will rarely lead you astray.
2) Then, go through your initial pull and filter for your "asset" criterion; if your favorite body part is, let's say, your beautiful clavicle, keep only the dresses that will show off your collarbone.
3) The last filter will be your pain point criterion - love a dress but it clings to the thighs you hate to show off? Put it back. At the end of this process, you should be left with about 5-10 dresses.
Hang them all up in a row, get a drink, and then sit back and stare at them for a little while. Don't compare them to one another; instead, assess which ones inspire the most emotional response in and of themselves. Eliminate dresses as you go. Eventually, your favorites will crystallize - your goal is to cut the selection down to three dresses.
Then - pass your Top 3 to the bride and let her pick. This will make her feel involved in the process, which will put a smile on her face, which will put a smile on your face. Everybody wins!
-Tijana Beca, Ash + Light NYC
Now we want to hear from YOU:
Did you have a positive bridesmaid dress buying experience? Share your stories in the comments below!
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