What would a stylist wear…
We recently caught up with top local stylist Claire Jacklin to ask her advice about choosing a wedding dress! Claire started her career in the design rooms of Paul Smith but after relocating to Wales and having had two beautiful children she finally carried out her dream by becoming a personal stylist. Claire strives to help women understand how to dress for their body shapes, in a way that suits their personality, lifestyle and budget.
Hello Claire! Thanks for chatting with us and sharing your expertise!
There’s so much choice for brides now, have you got any tips on knowing where to start?
I think doing some initial research really helps. I started to look through wedding magazines and pulling out tear sheets of styles that I loved. I collated them into a scrapbook to keep me focused. – But this has also made a lovely keepsake which I now and then have a flick through! If you enjoy shopping then head out to the boutiques where you have seen the dresses that you love, it makes for a great day out! If you are not a keen shopper, I’d suggest going to boutiques that have been recommended to you locally and stick to what you know works for your body shape. By all means experiment, I did for fun, by trying on the ultimate ‘meringue’ but the dresses that worked for my body shape and proportions were the ones that went into the final picks.
Many brides find it difficult to express their personal style through a wedding dress. Do you have any advice on how to inject and little personality into a wedding look?
I think there are so many ways in which you can inject your personal style. Firstly by choosing the style of dress ‘you’ love, in the colour ‘you’ want and with any special detailing you choose. If you feel you have to stick to ‘traditional’ colours, then go for quirky accessories such as shoes, bag, bridesmaids colours or even have a funky petticoat, hair piece etc. This is your very special day and probably the most money you will ever spend on a dress, so go for it and own every part of it!
We understand that you offer a ‘colour analysis’ service. Would this be appropriate for brides-to-be when the options of a traditional dress are fairly limited?
Absolutely, in fact this is probably ‘the time’ to get your colours done if you haven’t already done so. Somebody with a warm skin tone is far better in a warm ivory coloured dress rather than white. There are so many different tones of ivory and it needs to be right. To wear a bright white you have to have specific colour characteristics, as you do to carry off soft pink, champagne, etc. What matters the most is whether you have a warm or cool skin tone. You want to work in harmony with your natural colour characteristics of hair, skin and eyes, to look your most radiant. Once you know your colours this applies to the rest of your wardrobe too, so it is a real investment, as you know which colours you should be buying for all of your clothing choices.
With four different bridesmaids, all with different styles, shapes and personalities, how does one begin to find a dress that suits all? Do you offer a service where you could come along to help/referee?
I feel so sorry for some bridesmaids. Often they are instructed to wear identical dresses yet all have different body shapes. They feel uncomfortable, self-conscious and can often look totally miserable! It is essential to bend the style for individual body shapes. I offer advise to all my clients on how to dress for ‘their shape’ and would offer this to a bridal party. The way in which you can sync the bridesmaids is with colour, accessories and hairstyles but again, I would far rather these be tailored for each individual, as this is the way to have a truly stunning set of ‘happy’ bridesmaids! If the colour, cut and cloth is right, known as the three C’s then you can’t go wrong!
In your line of work did you feel extra pressure to look great on your wedding day? How did you choose THE dress and what was it like?
Yes, I absolutely felt pressure to look good, but because I understand what suits me, this was really helpful to narrow down the options. I could talk about my dress all day because I still love love love it!!! At the time I lived in London and took advantage of places such as Suzanne Neville, Sassy Holford & Browns, in fact I went to as many high end places as I could because I felt it was a the one time I could justify trying very expensive dresses on! After doing the whole dressing up thing I knew from an early stage, that my usual styles were still the best. I have to say I fought against this a bit initially because I wanted to go for something quite full for my wedding dress. However, as my body shape hadn’t changed and my height certainly hadn’t increased, there was no surprise that this wasn’t going to work. What suited me were sleeker cuts but I still wanted something that had that ‘va va voom’. This again comes down to Style Personality of which I definitely have a ‘dramatic’ side too! So, after lots of trying on, I felt I needed to take various bits from each dress I liked and combine it into one. So I decided to design it myself! I had worked for a bespoke bridal wear designer during my placement year of my fashion degree, as she was based in Nottingham where I am from, I thought this added a lovely touch to have it made from home. I also added on quite a long train and had a long cathedral veil, to give that ‘fuller’ aspect. However as I am petite, I ensured there were not too full otherwise my accessories would have been out of scale and I would have looked out of proportion.
Right, we’re off to find the dress, scrapbook in tow, do you have any final tips before we go?!
My main top tip is to feel yourself in your dress. If you feel yourself relax into the dress and enjoy wearing it then this is a key sign it is ‘the one’. This comes down again to that all important ‘style personality’ and we all have one. It is discovering what your style personality is – which is how you ‘really like to dress’ and embracing it. This is where a Personal Stylist comes in, helping the client not only know about their body shape, body lines, proportions, face shape and scale but also about their style personality too. If a bride feels themselves in their dress and that they are wearing the dress, not the dress wearing them, then they will radiate for the whole day and will feel extra special!
Claire Jacklin lives in Penarth, Vale of Glamorgan and offers a vairety of affordable services. She is able to run bespoke bridal style workshops and hen party afternoons for something a little bit different. To learn more see www.clairejacklin.co.uk