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Transcript: Wed., Nov. 4 at noon ET

On Love: Bridal fashion trends

TheKnot.com's Heather Levine
TheKnot.com's Heather Levine

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Heather Levine
Fashion editor, TheKnot.com
Wednesday, November 4, 2009; 12:00 PM

Look your best on your big day with help from the pros. TheKnot.com's fashion editor Heather Levine offers style tips and discusses the latest bridal fashion trends.

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Levine is responsible for producing and styling the stories most coveted by brides -- fashion and beauty -- for TheKnot.com and The Knot Weddings magazine, as well as acting as host for fashion segments on The Knot TV, the site's 24-7 streaming video channel. She also serves as an in-house stylist, which includes editorial styling for media and special appearances.

For more tips and to see how other couples have said "I do," visit our new OnLove section.

The transcript follows.

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washingtonpost.com: Good afternoon and welcome to our OnLove web discussion with TheKnot.com's fashion editor Heather Levine. She recently covered Bridal Fashion Week, where designers unveiled their latest styles for the spring 2010 season.

Heather, what are some of the big trends brides-to-be can expect to see in stores?

Heather Levine: First, thanks for having me on today! Next, the hot trends this season: layers, black accents, boleros (sleeves in general), flowers -- lots of flowers! and more...

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Detroit, Michigan: Hi, Heather. I am having trouble finding a wedding dress that looks good on my body type. I am 5'0 and very petite. Any suggestions?

Heather Levine: If you've always dreamed of wearing a ball gown, you might want to consider a full A-line instead. With more fabric (like with a ball gown) you'll likely feel overwhelmed by the dress. If you're open to other silhouettes: Your best bet is a trumpet style (it flares into an A-line just below the hips and is form fitting everywhere else) Search by your bodytype at theknot.com/fashion

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Baltimore, Md.: First time bride at age 50. Any recommendations on a dress (i.e. long, short, strapless). Don't want to look matronly, yet don't want to look like I'm trying to be 21.

Heather Levine: If you want classic, a slim style would be great. However, right now, I'm loving the look of a short dress with sleeves (or a couture jacket) because it's truly chic. Check out Melissa Sweet's latest collection for some great short-sleeve styles, and Oscar de la Renta for some great coats.

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NYC: I love the idea of a reception dress, but feel like if I've spent all of this money on my gown that I won't want to change. Any ideas?

Heather Levine: If you've already purchased the dress, a good way to change up your look for the reception is with new accessories. Think bigger, bolder and more fun! If you haven't gone gown shopping yet, you'll love some of the removable skirt styles from Legends by Romona Keveza and Anne Maier - Ulla Maija that will be in stores this spring.

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Capitol Hill, D.C.: Budget bride here ... I just cannot swallow the idea of spending a fortune on a dress I will wear only one time, yet still want to look elegant and unique. Don't want the cookie cutter dress from David's Bridal and Ebay is not an option either (too risky in my opinion). I love the styles that many name brand designers put out but will the bridal ateliers in the area (Carine's, Hitched) carry dresses less than $1,000? Where else can I find a stunning dress without breaking the bank?

Heather Levine: You can definitely find a gorgeous gown for under $1000. One of my favorite designers with budget-friendly dresses is Watters & Watters. They have couture looking styles at a great price. Also check out: Casablanca Bridal, Nicole Miller, Alfred Angelo and Bari Jay. I recommend taking a look at some of the great articles and galleries on theknot.com/fashion with gorgeous gowns under $2000.

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Bethesda, Md.: For my winter wedding, I would love your advice on how to achieve an elegant look while staying warm. I am looking for a coat to wear over my dress for outdoor photos and a stole, wrap, or bolero for when it's chilly inside. What are some good sources for finding these items?

Heather Levine: You're in luck!! Designers showed tons of gorgeous jacket options this season -- everything from floor length lace coats (Monique Lhuillier) to light tulle capelets (Reem Acra) that will add another layer and still look elegant. I stopped by the Oscar de la Renta showroom to check out their amazing accessories and spotted some heavier options.

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Raleigh, N.C.: I have chosen my dress and want to wear my mom's veil. The dress has French lace inset on silk duchesse satin and the veil has Irish lace. The colors are almost identical (veil is a touch lighter). Is this OK to wear as is? Or is it a huge faux pas to mix laces when the shade is a touch off?

Heather Levine: A tough one. Without seeing the veil and the dress it's difficult to say whether they'll work together, but I still say go for it. Ask for a few opinions at your next gown fitting and then make a more informed decision. At the end of the day, do what you want. Trust me, you'll remember how special it felt to wear your moms veil, and not that the lace was a "touch off" when you're looking back years from now.

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Cleveland, Ohio: Is it possible to find the feel of a traditional dress that might be appropriate for a small ceremony in a casual setting (at a bed and breakfast)?

Heather Levine: Absolutely! Skip the ball gown for sure. Try a slim A-line style instead. Fabric is also key: Something with lace will feel traditional but still light. Silk Satin is too heavy and formal, while organza and chiffon are casual, but still elegant options. Designers to try: Christos, Vineyard Collection and J.Crew.

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Destination wedding: I am planning a July wedding in Mexico (I know, not the best idea because of the weather) so I'm looking for a simple dress that will breathe well in the hot and humid climate. Perhaps even a cotton dress? But, I don't know where to look or what designers to target for this. Most of the dresses I'm finding are silk or some heavy fabric and have many, many layers. Any recommendations? Thank you in advance!

Heather Levine: Layers are okay as long as they are slim, not bulky. Take a look at Claire Pettibone's latest collection for some light and airy layered looks. Chiffon gowns are easy to pack, and are great for beach locales too. Some designers are even known for their destination dresses: Nicole Miller, Sincerity Bridal and Thread. Just be sure that your hotel has a steamer on hand, you'll need to get some wrinkles out once you get there.

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Washington, D.C.: Any style/shopping suggestions for a late-30s bride who would like an elegant, unfussy look, but still wants to "look like a bride"?

Heather Levine: Depends on what style you're going for. Fabric and shape are a good place to start. Lace, paired with a slim silhouette, can be very chic and sophisticated. This season, I saw a gorgeous hammered silk dress at Anne Bowen that is perfect for a more mature bride. Check out her gallery and the rest of the new collections at theknot.com/fashion.

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Washington, D.C.: I bought a dress about six months ago and I'm getting married in another five. I'm starting to have serious second thoughts about it. I haven't seen it in person since I bought it, but I look at it often online. Should I just ignore the feelings and go with this dress? Should I go back and try it on again? What if I hate it?

Heather Levine: Wait until your first fitting. This way, when you try on the gown it will be in your size, and you'll get a much better idea of how you'll feel on your wedding day. I know that doesn't leave you much time if you do end up disliking it, but there are some designers, like Temperly London, that sell wedding gowns off-the-rack. Sample sales are another great last minute option. My guess, you'll still love it when you see it again.

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San Francisco, Calif.: Are blushers in style? I've always dreamed of wearing one on my wedding day, but I don't want to look dated.

Heather Levine: Blushers are definitely big on the bridal fashion scene. To avoid looking dated, stick with a less embellished style. Think a few crystals, not over-the-top glitz. Check out some of my favorite veil designers: Lori London, Laura Jayne Bridal, Erica Koesler and Sara Gabriel Veils.

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Memphis, Tenn.: I really want a unique shape to my wedding dress (I'm so over strapless ball gowns). What are some cool, updated silhouettes you've seen this season?

Heather Levine: One of my favorite new looks is a tulle underskirt peeking out from the hem of a trumpet silhouette (Christos and Alvina Valenta had a few in their collections). As far as necklines go: bold, over-the-top embellished one-shoulder styles are a big trend and will definitely set your style apart.

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Maryland: Any suggestions on flat/low heel bridal shoes? My fiancee has about an inch on me. My wedding is too formal for flip flops. Also, any brides out there use Latte from David's Bridal as a color? If so, what color shoes did you choose? I would like to avoid the dyeable shoes, if possible.

Heather Levine: To match any shade gown the easiest, and still stylish, option is a metallic shoe. Check out MyGlassSlipper.com (I'm pretty sure you can search by heel height) for some great designer looks.

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Washington, D.C.: Need help finding mother of the groom dresses for a spring wedding. The wedding is late afternoon with an evening reception. Don't want to outshine the bride, but don't want to look frumpy either.

Heather Levine: Mother of the Bride/Groom dresses have come a long way. There are lots of stylish options out there and very few "frumpy" looks. Check out TheKnot.com/Fashion for our latest MOB gallery. Some designers that have chic dresses: Siri, Judd Waddell, Sophia Tolli and Liancarlo. A few pointers on how to avoid outshining the bride: Skip excessive sparkle, don't wear bright red or white, avoid anything too revealing.

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Arlington Heights, Mass.: I'm doing a 1940s theme for my wedding and I want to wear a Juliet cap style hair piece with a birdcage veil. However, I can't find them anywhere. Where would you suggest looking for one?

Heather Levine: '40s glam is a big trend in bridal accessories right now, so you should be able to find a few options. Try Laura Jayne Bridal Design or Erica Koesler for some retro styles.

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Long Island, N.Y.: Hi Heather! Any advice for a bridesmaid dress that doesn't look like one? I want my bridesmaids to actually want to wear it again ... and I mean it. I was thinking a dark silver color like a gunmetal silver or black. Any designer recommendations would be appreciated.

Heather Levine: Color is key if you want your 'maids to be able to wear the dress again, so gunmetal gray (very trendy) or black are both great options. If you're really serious about the double wear, let them pick the dress, don't specify style or designer, just pick the color. To point them in the direction for the most comfortable dresses, try a jersey fabric. Amsale and Alfred Angelo both have great styles.

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New York, N.Y.: I'm way too busty for a strapless dress, but that seems to be all I see. The few dresses that actually have sleeves or straps seems to be so low-cut I wouldn't be able to wear a bra. Do you have any suggestions on where to find a dress flattering for my body type?

Heather Levine: During Bridal Fashion Week I stopped in to visit with designers Henry and Michelle Roth. Their collections are specifically made with the busty bride in mind (even DD and E). If you really want to skip strapless, a scoop neck style is the way to go. It's flattering and you can still wear a bra.

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Alexandria, Va.: I am a heavier (200 lbs.) and older (age 36) bride. We are having a formal church wedding. I like simple, elegant styles with sleeves. What specific fabrics or stylistic details would you recommend? The wedding will be in spring.

Heather Levine: There are lots of tricks that will make your wedding gown look flattering. A dark sash will make your waistline look smaller, while a V-neckline will help you look taller and elongate your neck. Take a look at our slimming gallery on TheKnot.com/Fashion for more tips. The #1 tip: avoid slinky fabrics like charmeuse and jersey and focus on more structured materials like silk satin and taffeta.

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Toledo, Ohio: I'm looking for a darker color for my bridesmaids to wear, but I don't want to do black. Is brown still a popular color? Or what other colors would you recommend that would be flattering? Thanks!

Heather Levine: Brown is still a big hit when it comes to bridesmaids dresses. Other flattering colors to try: navy, plum, wine, slate gray.

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Heather Levine: Thanks so much for your questions! I hope I was able to help. For tons more gowns and galleries, log on to TheKnot.com/Fashion. And, you can even check out the latest runway shows at TheKnot.com/TV.

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Editor's Note: washingtonpost.com moderators retain editorial control over Discussions and choose the most relevant questions for guests and hosts; guests and hosts can decline to answer questions. washingtonpost.com is not responsible for any content posted by third parties.


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