Thursday, Feb. 22, 2007

Bride’s accessories need to mix style with comfort

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All eyes are on the bride as she comes down the aisle. Her hair, make-up and gown take center stage but the performance would literally fall flat without a supporting cast of bridal accessories.

Essential items like shoes and undergarments should never be an afterthought as the wrong pair of shoes can turn the most beautiful face into a grimace. Fashion trends, comfort and personal taste all factor in when choosing accessories.

According to Fred Hord, owner of, pleats are in for the 2007 bridal season. These pretty folds and gathers can be found both in gowns and accessories like shoes and handbags.

In addition to pleats, brides are likely to incorporate hints of color into the traditional white this year. Along with whites and ivories, purples and lavenders will make their way down the aisle this year and not only in bouquets. Having color on the soles of your shoes or the crinoline in your dress are subtle yet dramatic ways to include color in your trousseau.

Comfort, however, is a major consideration in the choice of shoe. Wearing a pair of everyday shoes for eight hours straight is difficult even if you aren’t standing for most of them. Add heels to the mix and things could get pretty painful. But trying to find a shoe that’s both aesthetic and comfortable is like the proverbial needle in the haystack.

Prince George’s County bride to be Tisha Carter, who is scheduled to walk the aisle this August, believes that it is possible to find a shoe that you can live with. WORD MISSING If you are interested in designer shoes for less, she suggests because some of their shoes are leftover from fashion show runways and are extremely discounted.

But Hord, who has been in the wedding business for most of his life, believes that finding a comfortable shoe that doesn’t sacrifice style is the exception rather than the rule. Rather he suggests that brides ‘‘try to find the least uncomfortable shoe.”

Trying to dye your handbag to match your shoe? Why bother asks Hord. ‘‘That’s preposterous,” he said.

Hord considers purses nothing more than table decoration.

‘‘They have nothing to do with the reception,” said Hord, who notes that you never actually see a bride carrying her purse. ‘‘They look good on a table.”

So, perhaps brides would be better off finding a purse that matches the centerpiece.

Finally, but perhaps most importantly, personal taste is vital when planning for your big day. Every bride is unique and her choices should reflect that. This is why Hord advises brides not to ruin their shopping experience by trying to exactly match whites and ivories.

‘‘White is white, ivory is ivory,” Hord said. ‘‘After you find something you like stop shopping. One hundred people buy the same dress and buy a different shoe. There’s no wrong answer, buy a shoe that you like,” said Hord, who believes that sometimes it’s easier for brides to find their grooms quicker than their shoes.

Top tips for the 2007 bridal season?

Don’t be afraid of a little color, choose your shoes wisely, and keep things in the same color family without getting buried under a pile of color swatches, Hord said. Just enjoy the shopping experience and the wedding day.