Rethinking Your Bridal Attire? This Celebrity Stylist is Here to Help

Change of ceremony type or switching up the season? We spoke with red-carpet pro and bride-to-be Micaela Erlanger, to answer 2020's biggest styling concerns.

Audrey Hepburn in Funny Face, 1957. Photo: Everett Collection

Stylist Micaela Erlanger has built her career around creating powerful fashion moments for her clients both on and off the red carpet and inside the pages of esteemed editorial publications. She's the artistic eye behind some of the biggest star's most iconic looks—Lupita Nyong'o, Meryl Streep, Constance Wu, Diane Kruger, and Common to name a few— and in 2019 she decided to expand her business to consult bridal clients as well. "I believe that the closest thing to walking on the red carpet is walking down the aisle," she shares, "There are so many parallels, especially as it's not just about one dress anymore on your wedding day, it can be a whole weekend! Then, even more, if you consider the bridal shower, an engagement shoot, a bon voyage brunch, or your honeymoon. Navigating finding all of these various wardrobe pieces for such an important moment is wild, and I realized there was a real opportunity here to share my expertise."

Micaela Erlanger (@micaela)

2020 is a tricky year for all brides and grooms to navigate and plan, including Erlanger herself, who initially set to wed with a reception this fall. Beyond postponements, though, the current pandemic has couples rethinking their nuptials and, in some instances, even shifting celebrations to digital formats. And after important tasks of consulting vendors and notifying guests, adjustments beg the question: do we change what we wear? Not necessarily, Erlanger believes, who here, lends her pointers on building memorable wedding looks around these new scenarios. She also shares bridal inspiration along the way, noting that day will be beautiful no matter any modifications.

Because couples are faced with the difficult decision of moving wedding plans this year, many are opting for virtual celebrations or smaller, intimate ceremonies. What are some alternative bridal look ideas for those occasions that still feel incredibly special?
In light of all of the postponements, we're going to see so many marriages happening on weekdays or occurring in different settings other than originally imagined. This opens up an incredible opportunity to rethink your wedding attire, and perhaps not get hung up on some of the details that you would’ve been concerned about before. In terms of a Zoom wedding, shop your closet! Don't get stressed out about it. Or if you really want to wear your dress because it's going to be your most significant celebration then go for it, but I would say save your original dress for the big party if postponing. In general, don't be limited to just looking at traditional bridal collections, consider ready-to-wear, e-commerce sites, a color, or a print, too. Eveningwear is so diverse with many [options] to choose from, and suits or tuxedos are just as chic. Today, couples are leaning much more modern, so the wedding wardrobe should be too.

Flounce Sleeve Crossover Dress
Olivia Palermo Collection

Flounce Sleeve Crossover Dress

$525

The wedding landscape is changing for sure, but do you still recommend dressing traditions like incorporating something old, something new, something borrowed, and something blue?
You know, I really think it depends on what's important to the bride. Generally speaking, my brides come to me because they are fashion-forward, and they're untraditional. But that doesn't mean you can't incorporate some of these timeless moments and components into a wedding. On a personal note, I love the traditions mentioned because I think they tell a story, and when I style, I always want to present [looks] in a compelling, creative, and curated way. It's when a moment becomes really memorable and special, and that's what I love about weddings. They are styling with a purpose combined with storytelling. It's a moment that you'll never forget, so for me, it's just so joyful.

For brides that have already purchased their gowns but moved their date to a new season, how can you tweak the styling or adjust a dress to make it seasonally appropriate?
With the current climate plus time of year, many spring and summer weddings have been pushed to the wintertime. In many ways, you can think about reworking or adding to the dress. Consider the accessories for one, like Zoe Kravitz's 2020 SAG Awards look, where she wore a pair of opera-length gloves with a strapless dress. You could also layer a lace bodysuit or knit underneath a strapless gown, which is incredibly chic, or take a nod from Olivia herself and wear a cardigan over a skirt! Some designers also are offering different levels of alterations depending on the silhouette, which is case by case, of course. In such instances, you could add a sleeve, close [or open up] the back, or adjust a neckline to a certain extent. Another step to consider is trying a cape instead of a veil, or if it's cold out, wear a fabulous evening coat as a fashion statement. These are all exciting things to think about, as we're all reimagining and rewriting the rules.

Zoe Kravitz Photo: Gregg DeGuire/Getty Images for Turner / Constance Wu Photo: Steve Granitz/WireImage

On the topic of accessories, what are the best comfortable-yet-stylish shoes to wear on your wedding day? 
Having comfortable shoes on your wedding day is probably one of the most essential things for several reasons. You'll want to dance all night, so comfort is key, and depending on where you are walking down—whether that's cobblestone or grass or uneven surface—appropriate footwear is important so that you do not catch your dress on your heel or sink into the grass. Generally speaking, I recommend a thicker, sturdier heel and something with support at the bridge of the foot or an ankle strap. One of my favorite brands is Margaux New York, and what I love about them is that you actually get to customize your wedding shoes by adding a monogram or your wedding date to the sole. They are just so comfortable—I own three pairs! Overall, there are many amazing brands with a bridal focus, but in the same spirit of considering ready-to-wear for the look, don't limit yourself. Considering other evening options is always fun, too!

Grace Kelly Photo: Getty Images

Lastly, as a stylist, compiling references and inspirations for clients is probably an enjoyable part of the job. In relation, what are some of your favorite bridal looks of all time?
How am I supposed to choose! [Laughs] I think I'm always informed and inspired by vintage and by the past. Audrey Hepburn, at any of her weddings is a favorite, or when she wore a Givenchy dress for her role in Funny Face. Grace Kelly's gown for her marriage to Prince Rainer III of Monaco is legendary, too, as is Kate Middleton's royal look designed by Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen. I've also put some of my celebrity clients in bridal collections on the red carpet before. Winona Rider once wore a black wedding dress from Viktor & Roff, which was very couture, and Constance Wu wore a nude Vera Wang collection gown to the 2019 Golden Globes. Going back to past weddings though, who could forget Elizabeth Taylor! She wore yellow to her [1964] ceremony—that's pretty amazing.

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