Getting dressed for the Oscars isn't all that different from getting dressed for your wedding: the pressure is on to look good because the event will be heavily documented, your closest loved ones are with you and it will be a once in a lifetime experience. Stylist Micaela Erlanger is a seasoned pro at red carpet dressing, helping clients such as Lupita Nyong'o, Michelle Dockery and Jennifer Hudson prep for all matter of high-profile events, and earlier this month at the Pronovias flagship boutique in Midtown, Erlanger explained just how similar her guidance for celebrities is to her advice for prospective brides.
"I think about the way I approach my fittings with my clients, which is always dressing for the occasion," she said. "Where’s the event, what’s the weather going to be, what’s the mood, what’s the setting? Always keeping that in mind." The Spanish wedding-focused label invited the stylist to host a small runway show for a crowd of brides and their friends, who oohed and aahed at 12 gown from the Atelier Preview 2017 collection, featuring everything from Cathedral-style trains to detachable overskirts and form-fitting embroidered lace, while Erlanger talked about everything from shoes to veils to avoiding unsightly underwear lines.
Read on for the best advice Erlanger's shared for future brides.
It's all about fit
"Fit is everything," said Erlanger, who stressed multiple sessions with a tailor. (Pronovias provides at least three separate fittings.) "Buy something that fits your bust and hips most importantly... Anything can be taken in at the waist, that’s the easy part." The better the tailoring, the more comfortable you'll be.
Sew in your undergarments or lining
"Don’t be afraid to sew in a bodysuit, sew in your Spanx," she said, adding that it especially makes sense for less forgiving fabric like crepe. "These are things a lot of people don't necessarily think about but not only are they relatively easy solutions, they are going to give you that sort of seamless, no fuss look." Erlanger also suggested reinforcing the waistline by adding a grosgrain ribbon inside the dress and lining sheer dresses with nude fabric. For the latter she recommended Power Mesh, which is available in undergarments or by the yard. As for foolproof invisible underwear, she called out Commando thongs.
In order to determine if your tailoring is right or if any undergarments are visible, Erlanger recommends taking pictures from every and all angles. After all, that's a major part of what brides will save for a lifetime everywhere from family albums to Facebook. "Ultimately the photos are what’s going to live on," she said. "These are your memories and you want to look perfect on your wedding so... take photos and look at them closely."
Tune out the peanut gallery
What if the bride's family disagrees with her chosen dress? Tough, said Erlanger. "Ultimately I think the bride wins because she's the one wearing the gown and you have to feel comfortable and confident and that’s all that matters," she said, adding that she advises her clients the same way when their teams have conflicting opinions. "Do what makes you feel good."
No one's going to see your shoes
So make sure they are walkable. "Walk in your shoes in the store for awhile and choose shoes that really are comfortable," said Erlanger. "Get something with support an ankle strap or something over the bridge of the foot or choose a shoe that has a pitch that’s a little bit lower." For added comfort, she recommends Foot Petals inserts.
Less is more when it comes to accessories
"Your accessories need to accent and punctuate your look, they shouldn't be competing," she said, adding that she is partial to a veil. "There are a million variations now for the modern bride, whether its a little bit of tulle over the eyes or a headband or beret or whatever it might be. I think veils are beautiful and traditional and when done appropriately, really add dimension and glamour to a look." What if a bride is on a budget? "I think your jewelry can be borrowed, and your shoes aren’t seen," said Erlanger. "Invest in your dress. That’s it, and it’s also something special that you’ll have forever."
Try something unexpected
"My biggest tip or advice is be open minded, try something on that maybe necessarily doesn’t look right on the hanger because you might surprise yourself," said Erlanger, adding that she encourages the same in client fittings. "And worse case, you take it off. But funny enough, most of the time, you’ll get lucky and maybe it’s the one."