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Your Stylist: Wedding dresses for brides who don't want the big bustles and bling

June 21, 2010 |  8:00 am

Resident Image stylist and market editor Melissa Magsaysay soothes your sartorial woes in the weekly Your Stylist blog column.

Dear Your Stylist-
I’m getting married in less than a year, which means it’s time to let the dress search begin! I’ve heard horror stories about the larger local retailers and I’m dubious of Yelp reviews, so I don’t quite know whom to trust. Could you recommend a couple local shops for me to explore?

While I appreciate luxury labels and retailers, our wedding is small and more relaxed so I’d like a gown that reflects that in price tag and design.  I have my eye on more Bohemian-style dresses, and I’m expecting to pay around $2,000 for the gown, prior to alterations, etc.  -- but I’m willing to explore lower or higher options if you have some good suggestions.  W.P., Hancock Park

Congratulations! Searching for that perfect dress is the most fun, exciting as well as potentially frustrating part of wedding planning. But since it sounds like you know what you’re looking for, the process should be Temperley-london a breeze.

In the L.A. area, you’ve got the usual bride-to-be gathering spots including Saks Fifth Avenue on Wilshire, Monique Lhuillier and Oscar de la Renta in West Hollywood and those bridal shops with bedazzled cream puff gowns in the window peppering the streets of Beverly Hills. None of these places sound like they’d fit your taste or budget, so I suggest checking out some of these more low-key options.

Designer Jenny Yoo started her business making bridesmaids and special occasion dresses and then began creating bridal gowns that she calls “bridal alternatives.” These gowns are perfectly suitable as wedding dresses, just with no crinolines, crazy crystal beadwork or bustles, tiers and gathered fabric that pool behind you in a train. No, these are classic, understated and good for a young bride who plans on having a low-key or destination wedding and doesn’t want to spend a fortune. 

Most of her “bridal alternatives” fall under the $1,000 mark and seem to suit the understated elegant look you’re going for. (Jenny Yoo, 8311 Beverly Blvd., L.A. CA 90048)

Anntaylor Plenty of the mall store brands we all love such as, Ann Taylor, J. Crew and The Limited are also doing bridal lines (some more successfully than others, but the options in price are refreshing). I particularly love two styles from Ann Taylor for their feminine and whimsical qualities. Plus, these dresses are under $500, which leaves tons of room to play with amazing accessories and killer heels.

But if it’s that really romantic, bohemian splendor of a dress you’re aiming for, then you must check out Alice Temperley’s boutique at Melrose Place. Like the colorful, intarsia knits she’s known for, her bridal line possesses a charming vintage feel.  The opening price point may be slightly higher than $2,000, but it’s worth checking out her store for inspiration, or there may be a dress you fall completely in love with that comes in around your budget. (Temperley London, Los Angeles, 8452 Melrose Place, L.A. CA 90069)

And lastly, there’s a store on Robertson Blvd. called Les Habitudes that for the most part, screams Renaissance Fair/Twilight wedding to me whenever I walk by, but I have definitely clocked a couple of very romantic, boho gems when browsing the racks in the past. Prices here vary from hundreds to thousands and can definitely jump pretty high, but it’s certainly worth a trip to the store, especially if you’re looking for something other than a cookie-cutter, strapless white ball gown. (Les Habitudes, 101 N. Robertson Blvd., L.A. CA 90048)

Send your style queries to

Melissa Magsaysay

Photos: Top, from left: Jenny Yoo "norah," $825; Jenny Yoo "Mira," $935; Jenny Yoo "margaux," $825. Credit: Jenny Yoon

Middle: Temperley London. Credit: Temperley London

Bottom, from left: Ann Taylor, $275; Ann Taylor, $495. Credit: Ann Taylor


Photo gallery: Wedding dresses from J. Crew, Limited, Ann Taylor