For brides, grooms, their families and friends, the quest for the right clothing to wear to the wedding looms over the excitement of counting the days. Relax. Even if the big day is just a few weeks away, there’s a style calling your name.
Chanie Koplowitz, owner of Augenbraun’s and Monarch in Monsey, knows time is of the essence for brides. In the Orthodox world, engagements can be as short as nine weeks. The quickest solution is to choose one of her many in-stock gowns and have it altered for the perfect fit. But if you have more time, and a photo of a gown you have your heart set on, Augenbraun’s will make a custom design, with a turnaround time of four to six weeks. All wedding gowns can be rented instead of purchased, even when custom designed.
In a sea of white gowns, it can be hard at first to discern subtle differences in style, texture and fabric. Chanie showed me what to look for. “Lace is very in,” she said. “And continuous fabric from the neck to the hem. You can still have a waistline but it’s one continuous fabric as opposed to say a lace top and a tulle skirt.” She pointed out how one gown had full lace going from top to bottom. On another gown, she showed how applique, sequins or flowers can be sewn onto the tulle but still in a continuous pattern.
Style is a combination of what you like and what is flattering. While Chanie was showing me what to look for in a wedding gown, she took breaks to oversee a kallah trying one on. She pointed out the positives to the bride—how the gown showed off her waist and fit slim on the hips before the gathers started. And for a spot that was a little snug, she said the seam could be taken out or a new gown could be ordered. While the largest selection of gowns is in sizes 8 to 10, the collection runs from size 4 to 24.
Augenbraun’s has a large selection of gowns for the family and bridesmaids, also for rent or purchase. “People are liking the vintage-y kind of look with a lot of lace and ruffles,” said Chanie. Blue and pink in different shades are the dominant colors. Ombre—mixed shades of the same color—is a good choice for bridal parties where there is a color theme but not a mandate for everyone to have the same dress.
Chanie showed me a blue tiered gown with tulle and lace together, and other variations of that style. One has glitter underneath for a little bit of shimmer. Popular fabrics are silk and chiffon. Many have tiers and big ruffles. Mothers of brides and grooms like sequins and beading.
Custom gowns are another option. “If you see a gown in pink and you want it in light blue, we can make it up,” said Chanie. “Or come in with a picture and we can make you a custom design based on the picture.” As long as she can get the fabric, a custom dress can be made in four to six weeks. The production is not done in house, but when the gown comes in, Augenbraun’s does the alterations.
Monarch is an adjoining store where relatives and friends of the couple can find the perfect floor-length or midi dress. The vintage look in lace is here too. Floral dresses are great for daytime events. A touch of drama, in a good way, adds contemporary style to some dresses, with stripes or the metallic look of silver or gold on black. And the all-black dress is still a wedding-guest staple. Two-piece looks can be dressy enough for weddings. Wear a pleated or A-line satin skirt with a sheer organza top over black, white or a pop of color.
Grooms may choose to wear a tuxedo and sometimes the fathers and groomsmen do as well. When the invitation calls for black tie, all the men can come in a tuxedo. Otherwise a nice, rich black suit is appropriate.
Emporio in Teaneck has tuxedos, suits and all the accessories men need to be perfectly dressed for a wedding, including shirts, cufflinks and studs, ties, tuxedo suspenders, socks and shoes. Sam Rappaport, marketing director, showed me two styles of tuxedos—one with a peak lapel, meaning the collar points upwards, and one with a notch lapel, with a V-shaped indentation in the collar. Both have satin buttons, a satin front, satin stripes on the pants, a satin waistband and buttons inside for suspenders. Since tuxedo styles don’t change much, Sam said many men find it pays to buy a tuxedo instead of renting, especially when they know there will be more black-tie events coming up. For men who would rather get a quality suit they can also wear on Shabbos and Yom Tov, Emporio has beautiful, rich black suits that look similar to tuxedos, but without the satin. Emporio does tailoring on premises so alterations for tuxedos and suits take just a few days to a week. Emporio has five locations in New York and New Jersey. When someone needs a size that isn’t in stock, it can usually be brought in from another Emporio location.
Tuxedos should be worn with a shirt made to have studs in the buttonholes and cufflinks in the French cuffs. The Oliver tuxedo shirt, with creamy soft fabric, can be worn with studs, or with the regular buttons underneath. The Ciro Citterio is a fuller cut, also made for studs and cufflinks.
There’s a tie for every wedding aesthetic. Grooms usually wear white ties, and Emporio has many in shades of white and cream. Men in the wedding party often wear ties to match the wedding color scheme. Emporio has every shade and texture of beautiful ties in stock and has a book of fabric swatches so ties can be ordered in the same color for multiple members of the wedding party. The ties are produced at a factory in Italy with a turnaround time of about six weeks. For the ultimate statement, the couple’s monogram can be woven into a tie along with a custom matching pocket square. That would require about eight weeks. For guests who want a tie to freshen up a suit or go with a new one, Emporio has several tables with a large selection of ties, currently on sale at two for $70.00.
Weddings are beautiful events. Don’t fret about what to wear. Visit Augenbraun’s and Monarch at 48 Route 59, Monsey, and Emporio at 215 W. Englewood Avenue in Teaneck, or in Flatbush, Boro Park and Cedarhurst.