All Wrapped Up

By Vicky Katz Whitaker

July 18, 2008 4 min read


Clever cover-ups keep the bride toasty

By Vicky Katz Whitaker

Creators News Service

A strapless gown can make almost any bride look stunning, but you may need a shawl, cape, caplet, jacket, shrug, boa or bolero to keep warm if you're getting married this fall or winter. And if you've also selected strapless gowns for your bridesmaids, they'll need cold-weather cover-ups, too.

Fortunately there are plenty of options for every budget, from elegant fur-trimmed cloaks and designer jackets to simple shawls that can be whipped up on a home sewing machine.

"A cover-up should complement the bride's gown," says Dawn Mohr, director of product development -- accessories for David's Bridal, the largest bridal retailer in the country. That means it should not clash with or hide the gown's best features, such as beading, embellishment or neckline interest. The same rule applies to the gowns or dresses worn by the attendants.

At Alfred Angelo, the international gown designer and retailer, shorter bolero jackets are considered best for a very voluminous skirted strapless gown.

"If there's a lot going on in the skirt, you don't want a lot going on on top as well," a representative said.

If the skirt, and majority of the gown, is simple, you can add a little glamour in a beaded jacket, she adds.

"Another option is a fitted jacket, almost like a riding jacket, because it will be fitted and pinched in at the waist nicely, but it should definitely complement the gown best."

A full-length cape is an option, but to Mark Brower, designer of bridal gown maker Priscilla of Boston's new Vineyard Collection, "shorter is better in most cases." A shawl or pashmina is always appropriate, he adds.

The best time to buy a cover-up is on the day you're at the bridal shop ordering your wedding gown, but certainly no later than the first fitting, Brower says. It's important to try on the gown with the cover-up, especially if you're looking for one that's a precise match to your gown's fabric and trim, says Mohr. "Creating a gorgeous look for your special day really means seeing how everything looks together just as you will wear it at the celebration."

If you're uncertain about what to choose, try on various styles at the bridal store while you're still in the wedding gown that you've selected. Pay close attention to the cover-up's details, including the fabric, design and overall look. Here are some ideas to consider when you shop.

-- Make sure it will keep you warm when you step outside to leave for the ceremony and later, the reception.

-- A floor-length cape will look more attractive with your gown than, say, a fluffy short fur jacket (known as a chubby), a faux fur caplet (a shorter version of a cape) or marabou shrug.

-- Choose a fabric that is cold-weather friendly, such as wool, cashmere, alpaca, velvet, faux or real fur or heavy satin.

-- Once you've picked what looks best on you, let your bridesmaids have a turn. That caplet or shrug that concealed the intricate beading or embroidery on your wedding gown might be just right on the strapless gowns you've selected for your attendants.

And don't overlook muffs that can be used in place of traditional bridesmaids' bouquets. On a chilly autumn afternoon or snowy winter day, a muff is an attractive and practical way to warm your bridesmaids' hands and can add a whimsical and nostalgic touch.

If you like to sew, you can make attractive wedding shawls, capes and other cover-ups using patterns and material from local fabric shops. If there's no fabric store nearby or your selection is limited, look online where you can get swatches before you order.

(c) Creators News Service

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