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Wedding Emergency Kit
Vintage wedding 1930s - Creating the look
Fashion trends - The 'hi-low' hem: nothing new
'Vintage' parasol

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Fashion trends - The 'hi-low' hem: nothing new
'Vintage' parasol
Vintage wedding 1930s - Creating the look
Size does matter
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Vintage Smart-Dog Blog

The Photoshoot

One thing I have learnt since starting my business 'Vintage Smart' is that photoshoots are much more complicated to arrange than I had imagined!

As a new business it is often a catch22 situation. You know you need to invest in some fabulous photos to promote your products but there are so many financial pressures initially, it is not always possible to finance the professional shoot you might want.

Although I was frustrated by this, I am now rather glad that I built up to the full professional shoot in stages, because I learnt more that way.

I will always be eternally grateful to my first model  Hope Whittington, who modelled for free and spent the entire day in and out of outfits with nothing to eat or drink all day (because we were so engrossed) - well I was anyway! She looked great and I was pleased with what we achieved for a first try, although I know the photos are not technically brilliant. I did use a decent camera for this one.


From this shoot I learnt- EVERYTHING TAKES LONGER THAN YOU THINK IT WILL
  • Work out a realistic schedule
  • Visit the venue first if at all possible and plan your shots before-hand, making sure the background is clear of distractions and unwanted items. It takes much longer to clear these things on the day with the model hanging around in the dress ( which would be expensive if you were paying them and a photographer, by the hour)
  • Arrange for proper styling of hair and make-up. On the first shoot I did not allow enough time for this.
  • If shooting several outfits, more than one model is essential.
  • At least one other person is needed to help to change/arrange model/s
  • Too much light bleaches out the detail of dresses. Shadow works well.
  • Make sure regular refreshments and toilet facilities are available for those involved.

Hestercombe House and Gardens.

It is always a good idea to take advantage of the backdrop of a fantastic venue for a few shots.
This impromptu 'shoot' was part of a venue open day at Hestercombe House in Somerset, where I had been invited to exhibit. I had arranged a model and created a hand-painted 30's style dress especially for the event.  The weather forecast for the day was shocking, so it was a pleasant surprise when it turned out to be not pouring down. The gardens at Hestercombe are lovely and worth exploring with a model and camera. These pics were just experiments really. It was a windy day.The light was not brilliant and the lovely model (Fay Venner) was pretty chilly but cheerful. It was fun though and I was quite pleased with the pics.


















Photos my Meryl Smart
One incidental thing I learned from this shoot was, take a blanket or something for the model to sit on if going around a garden venue: bird poo on the dress is not a good look!

Holford
For my next shoot I was lucky enough to have a professional photographer(Clayton-Jane Photography), who had volunteered his services and the venue - and brought another photographer Lucy Driver and assistant. So, having learnt a little from my previous experience, I lined up three models of different heights, sizes and looks, with varying degrees of experience, who were willing to model for free - as a favour and for the fun of it.


















 Rebecca-Jane (Vintage stylist)               Sue Keates                           Fay Venner (Beautician)
Photos by Lucy Driver

I spent ages planning the outfits and accessories and shoes to go with each. I didn't know the venue but got there early and had a look around. This was a collaborative shoot and because I did not consider myself an expert and was not paying for it, did not feel that I could 'call the shots'. I was busy changing the models into one outfit after another throughout the day and saw very little of the actual shoot. This was a BIG mistake. It was a fun, busy day and everyone got on really well. There were some lovely pictures, but I was wrong to assume that the photographer would take many of the sort of shots I would be able to use.


From this shoot I learnt -
  • SOMEBODY NEEDS TO BE IN CHARGE- don't assume that a professional photographer will know what you want.
  • HONEST COMMUNICATION. Don't be afraid to say what you want from the shoot, even if it is free because everyone's time and skill is being used; be precise ie. I really wanted some full length shots as well as some that showed the detail of the outfits and accessories.
  • Someone with a meticulous eye for detail needs to be at the sharp end to check that the clothes etc are hanging right. Some photographers tend to focus on the composition and the model and don't notice such details that then (to me) become glaringly obvious when seeing the pics.
  • Unless you have an army of professionals don't try to shoot too many outfits at one shoot because the styling has less impact. Best to style each one properly, particularly when shooting vintage clothing.
  • Allow adequate (plenty of) time for re-touching/styling hair and makeup throughout the day.
  • Don't over-use props. Seeing the same things in too many shots lessens the impact of the styling.
  • Don't rush. Less is more.
Photo by Clayton-Jane Photography

I will always be really grateful for all of the people who have been kind enough to participate in the shoots so far.  For the next thrilling installment, please see my  Blog 'Photoshoot- Kilver Court'.



Wedding Emergency Kit

A great deal of planning goes into weddings to make sure that they run smoothly; the worry taken out of your hands a little if you hire a competent wedding planner! However, in my experience the bride and her family are focussed on the normal 'wedding' things and may not have planned for the little niggles that can sometimes create problems at the last minute, when you are miles away from home at the wedding venue.

I normally carry a capacious handbag, and at weddings this always includes my Wedding Emergency Kit.

  • Sewing kit: needle and threads, seam ripper, pins.
Heaven forbid that something goes wrong with the wedding or attendants' dresses or even the grooms trousers! but these things do happen. Best to be prepared to solve the problem with a quick stitch here and there. or......
  • Safety pins:
Trouser hems, broken fly zippers, etc. Trust me, you'll be glad you had a few safety pins!
  • Plasters: for blisters
A real life-saver if those gorgeous new shoes become agony as the day goes on.
  • Make-up touch-up kit: lippy, combi foundation/powder compact, blusher, eyeliner.
Normally difficult for bride and even bridesmaids to carry a bag. They are busy with bouquets and having photos taken. It might be a good idea to ask one of your other friends/guests to take to the reception a bag with some of the things you would normally carry and or this kit! Whether because of tears or dancing exertions. The Bride is normally photographed from the beginning of the day to the end, not just by the official photographer but by all of her guests.These days the pics often end up on facebook too.

  • Tissues or handkerchief:  for teary moments
Sometimes these teary moments happen just before or during the vows when the emotion of the occasion can be overwhelming. Make sure the bride and sometimes the groom have easy access to tissues or a lovely handkerchief.

  • Wet wipes: also useful for spillages


  • Flat shoes/pumps
That 'ahhh, bliss' feeling of getting those shoes off after a few hours of increasing agony or irritation. Nothing like it! Not so easy for the bride wearing a full-length dress, making a transition from high heels, but sometimes it's just worth it towards the end of a very long day.

  • Ring........  
This doesn't just happen in films! Having a 'novelty' ring in your bag just in case, could be a classic moment.

  • Spare batteries (for camera)/camera charger
I carry a digital camera with replaceable ordinary batteries for weddings because it is so frustrating to be 'caught short' at the church or reception venue with one that requires electrical recharging. Carrying a couple of spare batteries in the handbag is no problem. A charger is a bit more problematic.

  • Comb, hair grips and small can of hairspray
It is really useful for the bride to be able to refresh the hairstyle during the day especially if a veil/headress has been worn and removed. These days very small cans of hairspray are readily available.

  •  Umberella
Unless the weather forecast is reliably 'unbroken sunshine' it is often prudent to take an umberella. I've been to several weddings where it has absolutely poured down. At one, the guests were asked to create an 'avenue' of umberellas to protect the bride from the church door to the car. We all got soaked but she made it to the car dry! I now have this Lulu Guinness see-through beauty.

Whilst by no means an exhaustive list, you may be glad to have some of these things to hand on the big day. If you can think of any I've missed please let me know.........

Vintage wedding 1930s - Creating the look

1930's styling has become increasingly popular for brides in recent years and with the release of the latest re-make of 'The Great Gatsby' the 20s and 30s influence is likely to grow.
If you think you'd like a 1930's style wedding, this blog should help you to recognise, find and complete the look.
This was my grandmother's wedding in the early 30s and still shows influences from the 1920s. The dress itself was made from pale pink lace and worn with a looped string of long pale greeny yellow beads.

   pic copyright meryl Smart
The Movies and now TV have always influenced fashion and in the 30s era, the glamour of Hollywood filtered through. The drop-waist of the 20s gave way to more figure flattering dresses with waists in the natural position. The bias cut fluid styles, skimmed the figure but were not tightly fitted or heavily structured with boning. Often accessorised or trimmed with feather or fur for added glamour.

Hollywood glamour meant pin-curl waves, luscious red lips, feathers and furs, slinky fabrics.

Recognising the key features
                                                                 
Dress
  • Ivory.white,pale pink/peach                                      
  • Bias cut- (cutting diagonally across the fabric)          
  • Flared at hem
  • Loosely structured/draped                                                  
  • Slinky fabrics; satin, crepe, velvet.
  • Cape sleeves or sleeveless
  • Often with 'Flying panel' attached to dress
  • Cowl or V neck














                      pic copyright meryl Smart
Finding the dress
Some vintage wedding dress suppliers may have authentic vintage dresses from this period. They are becoming more and more rare, the sizes tend to be small and the fabric quite fragile.



















                                                        
Most bridal designers should be able to create your dress in 1930's style




















                     Pettibone                                                Temperley                                               Packham

D.I.Y. If you are comtemplating making your own.....
Patterns for bias cut dresses are also available, from fabric shops and over the internet, although you may not find them in the bridal section. Etsy and e-bay have sellers who specialise in vintage patterns. (sovintagepatterns.com)

Be warned however, if you are not an experienced seamstress, genuine vintage patterns often come with very little detail on the pattern pieces and the sizes do not correspond to modern sizing. (Vintage sizes are much smaller). Resizing a pattern is not an easy task if you are to keep the proportions right.  Sewing bias cut seams is also a skill as they are prone to pucker.
Most modern pattern suppliers now offer a small 'vintage' slection, based on vintage originals with more practical pattern details and modern sizing.

The'30's bias cut dress has become a fashion staple in subequent generations.  The style is still available on the High Street today, for day and evening wear, in different colours and prints.

Completing the look
Headdress/Headpiece/veil                
In the 1930s Wide brimmed hats for Summer weddings were popular .                                     























Veil Veils often made from beautiful lace were
worn across the head with a band fastened at both sides.


Hair
Waved and pin-curled. longer hair would be worn up at the back



















Bouquet
  • Quite often bouquets were carried sideways
  • Corsages were also popular ( see pic >)
  • and/or a huge rose bouquet, more as an upright arrangement than  posy or hanging bouquet                                          Pic copyright Meryl Smart



























         pic copyright Meryl Smart
Shoes
The rounded toe with T-bar is the iconic shoe of this decade,














Jewellery
The Art-Deco period spans the 20s and 30s
Long beaded necklaces were still in vogue. Beaded 'bib' neckalces, strung pearls and rhinestones


















These are genuine necklaces from the period.
Other details:
Modern brides don't feel compelled to be 'historically accurate' in every detail of their day beyond their outfit, but if you do want to arrive in authentic 1930's style. Here is a car of the period too!




 The style is undeniably glamorous but also very sophisticated.



Fashion trends - The 'hi-low' hem: nothing new

Many fashion trends draw on the past for inspiration.The current Hi-Low/ 'Mullet' hem trend is no exception.
Higher at the front than the back - 'Hi-Low' or



'Mullet' like the hairstyle of the '70s and 80s !







It is a flattering style for dresses. The back view is not everywoman's most flattering angle. The hi-low hem offers the benefits of the elegance of a longer gown with the convenience and practicality of a shorter hemline at the front, making it easier to walk without tripping, or the need to hitch up the dress.

The 1920's is remowned for it's uneven hemline but there were also 'hi-low' hems

                          1920's                           1920's                       1925 Lanvin




















It was also a very popular design feature in the 1950's

                          VINTAGE 1950'S                                            DIOR



























The trend is very strong in BRIDAL wear for the 2013 season
                                                                                                                                                                    DIOR


















I have been commissioned to make a wedding dress with Hi-low hem for this summer. The dress is 50's style made of ice blue silk Duchesse satin with matching silk organza overlay. It has pockets too!.
I think the trend may be around for a while.                                                Design copyright Meryl Smart 2013

The Hi-low hem was already popular in 2012 and continues in 2013

                  DIOR                                                       CHANEL                                                                                 




















Hi-Low hems can be stylishly casual too. The trend can be seen all over the High Street in tops. skirts and dresses,


















                  
                                 
So there is a version for everyone!

'Vintage' parasol


Ever had major parasol envy? I saw a lovely vintage parasol on a wedding blog (as you do) I wanted one!

I've had this theatrical prop in my 'collection' ever since I played Eliza Doolitttle in 'Pygmalion' when I was 16. (I never throw anything out!) I knew it would come in handy some day. Now I am a vindicated hoarder.
It came with the original frills but my mum embellished it at the time with crepe paper flowers! Several decades have not been kind to it and the nylon fabric became stained. It was time for a glamourous makeover. I was sure I could use the frame which had a lovely mother of pearl effect crooked handle to create a 'parasol' like the one I now envied so much.

I took the fabric and trimmings off and was left with the frame. I had planned to cover it with panels if silk and then embellish with vintage lace which would be gorgeous....but take absolutely ages, which is why the frame was languishing naked in a corner whilst I then got on with other, more pressing commissions.
 
Quite by chance. whilst rummaging through my vast collection of vintage paraphernalia for something else entirely (to trim a wedding dress) I unearthed a vintage crochet tablecloth.
I thought it would make a fabulous skirt so I put it to one side to experiment with later.
I had it draped around a mannequin that evening when I had a eureka moment. What if?!...............

Some experimentation revealed that the piece would fit nicely over the frame and dangle attractively over the ends.



The trick was distributing it evenly as there were not exactly enough panels to go with each 'spoke' of the frame. This was achieved through trial and error and using glass headed pins to keep the crochet in place during experimentation. I attached the crochet to the appropriate points by hand stitching.

It was a fairly straightforward process once I had worked out how to stop the spokes slipping completely through the crochet and finish it so that the crochet didn't get caught on the spokes when it opened.
I am really pleased with the end result.

It's a lovely piece and practical because it clicks closed so can be carried in that position.

I love it when a plan comes together

I shall be keeping the parasol for use in photo shoots and fashions shows.
Whilst the  parasol is not for sale it will be available to borrow, free, for any brides commissionning a Vintage Smart bridal gown.


What is 'Vintage'

What is Vintage? .
It appears that there are numerous interpretations of the term 'Vintage', originally applied to wine but now liberally applied to fashion. Some people feel that clothing has to be old (over 20-30 yrs) to qualify. Some specify '20s -'40s. Others even think that items should be 'designer' labels to be considered worthy. The more recent 'Vintage' fashion trend- which reflects an appreciation of 'simpler' times, tradition, old-fashioned values and design, would suggest that anything with styling from Victorian/Edwardian through the 'flapper' '20s, Hollywood glamour of the '30s,









the austerity of the '40s and the 'Rock and Roll' influence of the '50s as well as the futuristic, 'free-love' '60s counts as 'Vintage'.






'70s '80s, even '90s fashion is nowconsidered eligible by some.
Perhaps fashion trends have always taken influence from previous generations but now more than ever people seem to want to be more individual in their choice of styling. I believe it is partly this wish not to be restrained by what is available in the High Street in any current season nor to be a slave to the latest trend that has led to the passion for vintage at the moment. Mainstream fashion in our present decade has, perhaps responded  by providing styles that are clearly influenced from several decades '40s, '50s '60s,'70s and '80s. As seen in the latest trend coverage.
 'Vintage' is now a term frequently applied to anything that has simply been 'used'. One man's second-hand is another man's 'Vintage'. This is perhaps not helpful if one is looking for the 'real thing'
Then there is 'Retro'. This term is often now applied to items from the '60s, '70s and '80s along with the term 'Kitsch'- normally associated with the 'quirky' and weird; even tasteless or gaudy. ' Retro' - retrospective - by definition, is actually a more accurate term for what is now considered by many as 'Vintage' but as it is not commonly used as such, it can just be confusing.

The most useful definition I found that corresponds to my own view of the term 'Vintage' is that, like a 'vintage' wine, for something to be called 'Vintage' there should be something special about it that  corresponds to the period in which it was produced or that it was influenced by. It may be an iconic item that sums up a trend or style; there may be something interesting about the design, the fabric, embellishment or trimming. The item will certainly be of 'lasting worth or value' to the extent that, whilst it may have been 'previously loved', it is of sufficient interest, style and quality to still be 'loveable'.

I believe that it is narrow-minded not to consider items from our more recent past and even present as 'Vintage'. If purists are prepared to consider fashion from the 60s 70s and 80s as 'Vintage' when some of the same labels existing in the high-street a few years ago would not qualify because they are too recent; it makes no real sense.  Quality of manufacture is a valid argument but some of the clothing considered as 'Vintage' by purists is actually not particularly well made either.
Some 'Vintage' purists adopt a particular period as a favourite; dressing and surrounding themselves with items from their chosen decade almost like re-enactment. Other 'Vintage' enthusiasts adopt a more eclectic approach; drawing together items from disparate periods in modern history to create an individual look. I believe either approach is valid.                 
< Me.'80's 'Harem' pants and big hair!
It could be said that we do not have enough distance in time to judge what is of most value from the more recent past. If you have access to recent fashion history books you will notice that they tend to stop at the '80s.    
 Me-not really bothered 1960s>

Having lived through several ground-breaking  decades myself as an obsessive observer and collector of fashion, I feel that some of the conclusions  authors have reached about iconic styles and trends (from the '80s and '90s in particular) are quite strange. I suspect this is partly due to the fact that the freedom and mass production since the '60s has meant that people have been able to select from a much broader range of fashion. With so many different looks to choose from in each decade it is harder to define each one's key iconic trends. I suppose it also depends upon one's own experience but these are books and pictures that will be referred to in years to come- defining an age and style and some do not neccessarily provide a very accurate picture of the iconic fashion of more recent times.                
                                          > Me.'70s. Dungarees and Princess Di haircut.
It is certainly the case that 'What goes around, comes around'. Even in my life-time I have noticed the cycle of fashion returning to certain style elements that I never thought to see again.
< Me. Late '80's hand-painted silk jumpsuit-even bigger hair!
Jumpsuits for example - emerging again. Platforms have been back for a while. Harem pants -popular in the early 80s have also returned recently. Asymetrical hems and necklines have come and gone several times since the '20s, and these are only a few examples. I have never been a fan of 'Feng shui-ing 'my wardrobe on a regular basis. If I had I would have thrown out some real gems. As it is, I need a bigger house to store everything !!- and a lot of it is genuine 'Vintage' in a range of sizes.
                      I am a fan of all things 'Vintage'. I am fortunate enough to have a 'Vintage' sports car. A Triumph TR4 built in 1963. I have had it for more than 25 years. It was considered 'Vintage' or 'Classic' when I bought it. It has been re-built once and is in need ofeven more expensive TLC. For more than 20 years it was my only car. It has stylish design lines, leather seats, classic colour.
It has bags of personality and makes me smile when I drive it but it is also uncomfortable and drafty by modern standards and does 25 to the gallon if I am lucky! Other classic car owners keep their cars cacooned in garages; only bringing them out when it is sunny and they may frown upon the state of mine; driven everyday and kept out in all weathers. My point is that I think, where at all possible, these things should be used. It is their purpose and using them helps to keep style alive. 'Vintage' is not 'Antique'.

'Antique' is another matter. These are items of museum/collector's quality; too delicate or valuable to wear or use most of the time and rare; to be kept wrapped in acid-free tissue paper or in controlled environments where they are seen and not touched and won't deteriorate. I also have a number of these items and I really treasure them, but it still seems a waste for them to be kept in a drawer or cupboard and never seen.
I am a believer in conserving our heritage but also think we should recognise what is of lasting worth and value in our own time as well as the historical past or we are in danger of 'throwing the baby out with the bath-water'.
                  
                      
                                                             Meryl Smart.






    

Not a load of old tat - Vintage fashion

At one of my sales events recently, a customer said,

"Sometimes with Vintage, you have to wade through a load of old tat to find the good stuff, but all your stuff is lovely." 

Praise indeed! It is always rewarding when a paying client appreciates one's selection, and that is key to the way I run the 'vintage fashion' side of my business. I don't buy in Vintage- for- the- sake- of- vintage items, I only buy what I actually think people will like....... to buy. That means I have to like it too. Even if the item would not suit me because of figure type, height, colouring etc, I can see the potential for it to look gorgeous on someone else. I source to re-sell, as a business, not as a museum curator or theatrical costumier.














The vintage section in my studio is literally full of excellent quality Vintage and Vintage-inspired loveliness. Much more than I can list on the website. I am attracted to lace in particular but also beautiful printed fabrics, embroidery and silk.

Whilst there are many genuine vintage items in really good condition, I make no apologies for the fact that I have also selected newer pieces that are clearly inspired by styling from 'vintage' eras. This also means I can stock some larger sizes.

I know from speaking to some of my friends, that not everyone feels entirely comfortable buying, or wearing 'second-hand'. The thing is that, with most of my stock, if you weren't told it wasn't new, you would not know, and some of it actually is new! I aim to source good quality in the first place, but as a seamstress, I also have the ability to restore items that might need some TLC. This means that some beautiful fashion gets a second lease of life!





























Display is also an important element. In my studio, I try to put things together in display, as a suggestion as to how items may be worn. Live models, rather than dummies, always show off the items best in pictures though, and I am still working on that for the website.

If you would like to visit the studio please e-mail me to arrange an appointment. vintagesmart@vintagesmart.co.uk

Wedding burnout


I love weddings. I enjoy the ceremony and always feel honoured when I am invited. I also love a good party as much as the next person.

I attended a wedding recently (as a guest) and I was really looking forward to it. The ceremony was at 1pm, in a church. After transportation to the reception venue, photos took until 4pm, when we actually sat down to eat. The food was plentiful and delicious. The wine and champagne flowed freely. The speeches were long and detailed. The other guests were really friendly. At 7pm the 'evening do' started: more people, more delicious food and a band arrived. It was a great day..... and the bride was really flagging.

The Bride, normally an extremely gregarious, fun-loving person, was exhausted before the day even started and seemed unable to simply enjoy the day because she "just wanted to sit down and do nothing for a while". She hadn't realised that all of the beautiful 'location shots' she had discussed with the photographer weeks before at the stunning reception venue, would take her away from most of her guests for two hours. She found it intrusive on the day, but he was only doing what she had requested.

She admitted to me that, the previous day, she had been planning to put together favours for the tables and all sorts of other little things that brides feel pressured to provide, but realised that it was not that important to have sugared almonds or whatever on the tables. Anyway, she simply ran out of time and inclination. It wasn't as if anyone even noticed! We were all too busy having a good time!

The intense preparation, being the centre of attention and the overwhelming emotion of the day itself had taken it's toll. She had reached 'wedding burnout'. Having a reputation as a party animal, she was perhaps the least likely person I know to whom this would happen.

When asked (as I sometimes am in my capacity as a bridal designer), my advice, drawn from attending hundreds of weddings, is kept to a minimum. I suggest to brides-to-be to try to do the wedding their own way, to focus on what is really important and to keep it as simple as possible. Afterall it is their day. Easier said than done though. Inevitably, however well-meant, everyone else's opinion often crowds in and, in an attempt to please everyone and live up to expectations, the enjoyment of the couple's day can be lessened. The burden of being a people pleaser, and often an understandable lack of experience in organising such an event. Sometimes, reflecting on the day weeks later, brides have said to me 'I didn't realise.........', 'If I had known........ I would have done things differently....'

So much time. energy and money goes into weddings these days. So many hopes, dreams and wishes ride on just one day where everything is so public that, perhaps, a percentage of burnout is inevitable. Unless of course you are the sort of bride who relishes all of the choices, decisions, organisation and co-ordination or can afford to hire a wedding planner to take this on for you.

If you'd like to prevent the wedding burnout, it might help not to over-complicate, elaborate, and pile on unreasonable expectations that could take away from the couple's ability to enjoy the simple pleasures and meaning of their special day.

  • If it is your wedding.....try to work out how you actually want to do things, rather than base your day on what you think everyone else wants. But also do your best to be realistic. You will never please everyone, and if you try, you may make just yourself miserable, stressed and exhausted. Ambitious, complex ideas may be difficult to achieve in the time you have available to plan, or keep within budget. If you can prioritize those things that are most important to you and are most likely to be enjoyable for you and your guests and leave the rest on a reserve list (that you know you may never get around to, or can easily cross off if you go over budget or run out of time,) this could take off some of the pressure.


  • If you are directly related: family, mother of the bride/groom etc.......Try really hard not to inflict too much of your own agenda or tastes. This may not be easy, especially if you are the major financial contributor, but if you can accept the couple's preferences gracefully, even if they may not concur exactly with your own, it will probably be appreciated and aid harmony.


  • If it is your friend's wedding......You will probably be asked what you think from time-to-time. If you can bring yourself to offer advice only when asked, seeing things from their point of view, and be appreciative and re-affirming of decisions already made, it will help to give them confidence to do it their own way, without feeling guilty. Try not to create a drama about things like the seating plan or not having your children invited, for example. If you offer to help with anything, make sure you can deliver. Basically, be a good friend.


         Above all try not to lose sight of what the day is about. Everyone is there to witness the vows and
         to share the couple's special day. Everything else is just decoration.

 Text=Copyright. Property of Meryl Smart. 2012 .May not be copied without permission.









'Vintage' wedding dresses

As a bridal designer  who specializes in Vintage and Vintage-inspired gowns, I am very aware that when a Bride-to-be tells me she wants a 'Vintage wedding dress', this usually means one of four things.

She's looking for
1. An authentic Vintage original from a particular era.






























               Vintage original late 1920's                                            Vintage original 1956

2. An authentic reproduction of a gown from a particular era





























3. An original design with style elements from a particular era

                                                                   Original design influenced by 1950's styling































 Original design with edwardian styling details        Original design with 1930's style elements

4. A lacey, romantic dress, with a nostalgic feel ( No specific individual era)






























In another blog post, 'What is Vintage', I discuss how I use the term 'Vintage ' on my website, because Vintage 'officianados' are quite particular about that sort of thing, but most bride-to-be s, in my experience, are not.

Sometimes you just know you love it.

Copyright. property of Meryl Smart 2012. May not be copied or otherwise reproduced without permission

Wedding Shoes

Shoes for weddings have sold very well on the website recently and, as part of my forthcoming blog series on Vintage Shoes, I have decided to devote one specifically to wedding shoes.






Advice on selecting your wedding shoes

  • Co-ordinate with the dress
Many brides these days have a theme for their wedding. Whether it is colour, era or another kind of style or theme, you may want your shoes to add to the look. The shoes do not necessarily need to match in colour. Dramatic constrast can work really well, particularly with shorter styled dresses where more of the shoes are seen. Some brides decide they want to co-ordinate their shoes with the style of dress in terms of era, particularly if they have chosen a vintage style. At the moment, because of recent fashion trends, it is possible to       source many modern vintage-inspired versions of these styles if you know what you are looking for. (I will be giving more             1920's style 'Mary-Jane' shoes
information on this in future blog posts).
                                                                                             
  • Comfort
You will be on your feet practically all day and possibly dancing into the night too. You wouldn't want to ruin your day by being in agony because of your shoes so, if you are not used to wearing high heels for prolonged periods, either get into training (practice) or go for a more manageable heel height. Platforms with heels are an excellent idea if, like me, you are quite short. This is because the platform means that the angle of the foot is not so extreme and therefore you can achieve height without tottering. However, the higher you go the more careful you need to be. Falling from a great height could result in a broken ankle so, practice is essential.                        1920's-30's T-bar shoes                                                     
If you are buying new shoes it is a good idea to wear them in; around the house sometimes, with a pair of thin socks or tights until they are less stiff and mould to your feet. Often backs of heels and toes rubbing on peep-toe shoes or sandals can be real issues, that you may not feel after wearing the shoes for 5 mins, but with sweat and pressure, can get really bad. (A good idea to have a couple of plasters available just in case anyway).

  • Safety
What ever you heel/platform height and whatever style your shoe, if you buy previously unworn shoes, make sure you scuff or scratch the soles of the shoes. Aisles in churches and tiled/wooden floors, especially dance floors can be like skating rinks, and slippery, unscratched soles will just help you glide or slip rather than grip!


                                                                                                                                            Embroidered mules

Please re-visit the blog for more information as future blog posts will give more detail about specific styles of vintage shoe to co-ordinate with particular styles/periods of dress.


(Text and pictures are the property of Meryl Smart and may not be copied or otherwise published without permission)


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