What’s In (and Out) in Wedding Dresses

Eliza DeRocker

Eliza DeRocker

Here’s comes the bride, all dressed in…well, it’s complicated. The notion that women were expected to wear a white satin ball gown on their big day is now a quaint historical footnote. Today’s brides can wear whatever they please, even if it might result in the occasional grumbling granny.

But there are definite bridalwear trends to consider, and Eliza DeRocker, Accessories Design ’02, sees them every day. DeRocker, owner of the Bride and Gown, two off-price bridal boutiques in upstate New York, sells secondhand (but usually unworn) gowns, and styles her brides from veil to shoes.

barn wedding 2

This couple chose a barn wedding–and got married in Scottish Tartan regalia.

IN: Belts! Almost half of the brides DeRocker styles walk out with belts to accessorize their gowns. “Everybody wants a Swarovski belt right now,” she says.

OUT: White gowns. Eight out of ten gowns that DeRocker sells are ivory, and most of those are lace. Only about 10 percent are pure white. “In the past, everybody had a white gown,” she says. “I think it’s too stark looking. Ivory looks better on pale complexions.” Champagne and blush are good choices, too, she says.

IN: Lace. “Most everyone wants a lace gown right now, as opposed to satin.”

OUT: Fitted gowns. Lots of brides come to DeRocker’s shop thinking they want a tight-fitted mermaid silhouette and find that an A-line or ball gown suits their body type better.

IN: Matching your dress to your venue. Brides like to choose their venue before deciding on a gown that matches it. If they bought a glamorous ball gown and the venue changes to the beach, they’ll buy a lightweight chiffon gown and resell the other one.

OUT: Limiting yourself to one dress. Some brides buy two dresses and resell the alternate after the wedding.

IN: Barns. “Barn weddings are huge right now,” DeRocker declares. She says 40 percent of her brides are getting married in a barn. “Rustic chic is very in style and romantic, and the photographs come out amazing.” She says that 20 percent are still doing formal ballroom weddings, 20 percent are getting married on the beach, and 10 percent informally in a backyard.

DeRocker’s bridal boutique, the Bride and Gown in Albany, NY