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Welcome to our wedding dress webchat with Phillipa Lepley

Hi Everyone

Got a question about your dream dress? Phillipa is here to answer all your questions - whatever your style, shape or budget!

We'll keep track of all the questions so no one will be missed out, but please bear with us if we start to get busy. Please do make sure that you post within this thread (by clicking "post reply" at the top or bottom of the thread) as unfortunately we're not able to answer questions posted elsewhere in the forum.

Enjoy yourselves!




  • Hello Everyone

    Let me know if you have any questions about your big day!

    Love Phillipa
  • Hi Phillipa,

    I am planning our wedding for spring 2010, can you tell me when do you think would be the best time to start looking for a dress? (I am on a very tight budget so will need to get it in the sales) and what colour do you think will be 'in' for bridesmaids dresses?

  • UmfriendUmfriend Posts: 307
    I'm 45 and v. curvy, about a size 18-20. I don't want a traditional white dress and I don't want a big skirt. I'd like something flattering, 1940/50s Hollywood, a real gown. I must have my back and arms fully covered and do not want to wear a jacket/bolero/shawl. I'm having terrible trouble finding a dress - most people I've seen have been very offhand when I've turned down their strapless, sleeveless numbers (politely) and don't seem to understand that to feel comfortable I really must be covered up. Any suggestions?
  • Dear CarlaBear,

    For a tight budget its an excellent time to start looking for your dream gown in the sales. Our Winter sale finishes on the 24th January, But we do also have our Summer Sale starting 6th June where we will be reducing the sample collection again. But do call in to my Boutique for further details.

  • Hi Phillipa,

    I'm quite flat chested and am dreading going wedding dress shopping for the worry that I'm not going to find anything to suit me - most wedding dresses seem to be strapless which is a style that does nothing for me. I'm 5'7 and a size 10-12, athletic build. Any ideas? Thanks for your time!
  • Hello Phillipa

    Do you have any advice on the style of dress a 5'4", pear shaped woman should wear?

    I like the more fitted styles in pictures but havent actually tried anything on yet.



  • ljcsurreyljcsurrey Posts: 657
    Hello Phillipa,

    I have an appointment at your London shop coming up soon. What sort of price range are your dresses and are they all made to measure?

  • Dear Umfriend,

    It sounds like you need a good base to start with, I have some really lovely gowns with internal corsetry that give a fantastic shape and then you could play with the detailing on top. Its also about finding what balance works for you, what fabrics etc. Ruching and silk georgette give a very glamorous Hollywood look and then perhaps accent your waist with a satin band or a bejewelled detail.

    With covering your arms there are lots of options that will work, and can made as part of the gown.

  • Hi Phillipa. I absolutely love the dress you designed for Emma Griffiths - so much so i've been carrying it around in my purse for 9 months!

    Unfortunately i'm on a budget of £500 for my dress. Do you do low-budget designs off the rack, or have any ideas how I could re-create that look on a budget?Jules

  • petahuntpetahunt Posts: 183
    hello just to wish you all a Happy New Year and I am here to answer any other questions you may have

  • Laura0701Laura0701 Posts: 1,455
    hi phillipa & peta

    im due to get married in august 2010 and was wondering what colours will be in for bridesmaids, i was thinkin along the lines of an aqua possibly.

    thanks xx

    [Modified by: Laura0701 on January 20, 2009 04:27 PM]

  • Dear HannahK123,

    Dont worry at all, its all about trying lots of styles on and finding what is right for you. Come to my Boutique in Chelsea and have a consultation with a member of my team who are trained to find what is best for you. We are also very flexible about design changes so if you find a lovely dress shape but find the neckline of another gown works best for you we can combine the looks to make it perfect.

    The best thing is to find what accentuates your best bits and on that. You will be very pleasantly surprised about what suits you and how many options you have.

    You just have to jump in!
  • melwingmelwing Posts: 2,666
    Hi Philippa

    I would like some advice on which dress you think will suit me.

    I'm a Size 8 - 10 and 5 ft 4.6. I have fairly slender arms and a small waist (25.5 inches) with wider hips (37 inches). I want something sophisticated and has the wow factor without being too busy i.e. too many sequins. I liked the gathered effect and simple brooches. Would you think that lower backs would be any good as well? I was also wondering whether a corset style or button up would be better?
  • melwingmelwing Posts: 2,666
    Happy new year to you too Peta!
  • petahuntpetahunt Posts: 183
    As a general note to all of you, no matter what size and shape you are you never have to feel bad about not wanting strapless, however when you have a dress made for you and only you it will fit perfectly, It is also very reasonable for an over 45 to want your arms covered I find a high waisted dress with soft elbow length sleeves very easy to wear . All of you must take time to chat to your designer and hear their suggestion so that you can work together and make the best of your shape.

    Good hunting
  • clarekellclarekell Posts: 6,666
    Hey Phillipa - Hope you are well! image

    I already have my dress - I like it but I don't LOVE it - basically because I can't find the right underwear to go with it! Maybe I am exaggerating - When the seamstress pinned it to fit my curves it looked fab - I am just worried that I need the RIGHT underwear to go with the dress otherwise I will spoil the look!

    The dress does not have internal corsetry so I need structured underwear.

    All the sites I look at either have corsets / basques which end by the belly button ( I will squish out underneath!) Or are ridiculously pricey and rather risque!? image

    Can you reccommend anywhere which is mid range and suitable for good strapless supportive underwear. ( Am a size 12 .....10 on a good day! image )

    Many thanks

    STBAM x

    [Modified by: soon to be a missus on January 20, 2009 04:34 PM]

  • melwingmelwing Posts: 2,666
    I found that the ones with medium sized straps made me look like I had very narrow shoulders. It sort of made me look unbalanced with the wider skirt and narrow shoulders.

  • Dear Ljc Surrey,

    I am so pleased you are coming to visit us, you have two options to buy a gown firstly -

    Our couture service is the most extensive process and also the most flexible in terms of design choices, as the dress is made

    entirely for your measurements from your own personal pattern. The making starts with a range of your body measurements

    being taken, from which we will create a pattern and make a calico toile. (This is a mock-up of your dress that you will be fitted in,

    to ensure absolute perfection with the fit and proportion of the finished dress.) You may have more than one toile depending on

    your shape and the complexity of the design you have chosen. From this your pattern will be amended, and your actual dress will

    be cut and made. In total a couture dress typically takes between 5 and 7 fittings, and we like to have a minimum of 6 months, but can

    do things more quickly if your wedding day is sooner. The cost of having a dress made in this way varies depending on the style and

    fabrics you choose, but start from around £3900.

    The other option which is also a very popular one, is to purchase one of our showroom samples, and have this tailored to fit.

    We make all our gowns in a size 12, so of course it will depend on your shape and figure if this is a good option, and we will advise

    you on how well we can make the dress fit by amending it when we see you in the different dresses. All your fittings are done by the

    same team of fitters and seamstresses that make our couture gowns, so if the starting point is good we can make the dress look

    fantastic on you. As the garment is already made it is a slightly quicker approach, and typically takes 3-4 fittings. The cost is also

    slightly different, and depends not only on the fabric and style, but also on how long we have had the dress. There are some

    considerable savings to be had on some of our dresses, and we also do a big sample sale in January and June every year.

    [Modified by: Phillipa Lepley on January 20, 2009 04:38 PM]

  • melwingmelwing Posts: 2,666
    Hi Phillipa

    How much do your sample sales gowns start from?
  • Dear Meldolly,

    Its really about finding the right proportions and the right shapes that suit you, also look for styles that are not to heavy on you. Especially bulky straps that sit heavily. A lovely look is something slim fitting to the top hip then a fuller skirt to maximise your slender waist. Drop waisted corsets with fuller skirts a a good place to start. Also if you love your back maximise this with a low back.

    My general rule is maximise your best bits and dont go with too may stories so if you have ruching detail dont overcomplicate it with extra beading that doesnt fit the look.
  • Dear Meldolly,

    We are just coming to the end of our Winter sample sale but still have some lovely gowns starting from £900, When are you getting married?
  • melwingmelwing Posts: 2,666
    Not until the 30th May 2010 so a long way to go but it would be interesting to pop in-store to see your designs. Will you be at the National Wedding show?

    I have noticed that the fitted ones that have a wider skirt past my hips look very flattering.
  • Dear Fragile???????1974,

    You have lots of options available to you, the main thing is to get the proportions right. A lovely look is something that has an empire seam or waistband detailing as it gives your legs a longer line. Also get a good foundation to your dress that makes the most of your curves and gives you hidden support is always a bonus.

    Once you have found your perfect shape then look at detailing, you might find that a lovely French lace complements your skin tone beautifully of something crisp and fresh like a silk organza works best.

  • Dear Meldolly,

    You are very welcome to pop into my Chelsea Boutique, its at 48 Fulham Road, London, SW3 6HH. If you would like to try gowns on though you will need to make an appointment on 0207 590 9771.

    We do also start our Summer Sale on the 6th of June untill 26th June 09 which will also be an excellent time to find a beautifull gown at a fantastic price.

    Also throughout the year we do offer discounts on our Sample gowns. Its best to call in and have a more detailed chat with one of my team.

    [Modified by: Phillipa Lepley on January 20, 2009 04:59 PM]

  • petahuntpetahunt Posts: 183
    Dear Soon to be missus in the next issue of YYW we have bodies (infact there are 2 pages of useful underwear! Try figleaves they have Spanx bodies and al l sorts of sensible bit long line bras and high waisted pants or look for the Miracel suit waist cincher and a collection by Annette these are not sexy pieces, a quick change out of them before your 1st night and you should be ok. It is always a good idea to buy a dress that does hold you in with boning but, it is worth spending a few ££££'s to enhance your curves

    Good shopping

  • petahuntpetahunt Posts: 183
    Just thought !!! for all your underwear questions we are having an underwear web chat on Feb 3rd by the head buyer from Figleaves so prepare your questions now!
  • Hi im having the Eddy k dress 1335 but not many people have heard of the designers have you??xx
  • petahuntpetahunt Posts: 183
    Dear powhay,

    Yes I know of Eddy K they are an Italian manufacturer and are really huge in Europe not so many dresses are available in the UK but they do have a large range including bridesmaids, cocktail dresses and accessories

    hope that helps


  • clarekellclarekell Posts: 6,666
    Thanks Peta!

    x x x
  • lrbpielrbpie Posts: 2,280
    Hi Phillipa and Peta

    I have bought a very simple strapless A line dress with a lovely overlayer in organdie.

    I am thinking of asking a dressmaker to make some changes to it, in particular something to cover the seam round the waist. However I don't want a sash as I am only 5'3" and I think it will cut me in half.

    I would be really grateful for any other ideas for ways to "decorate" a plain dress, in particular to hide the seam at the waist, but without cutting me in half... !

    Many thanks

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