Category Archives: Fashionista Friday’s

Fashionista Friday

I love shopping!  What woman doesn’t?  And I love doing research on shopping.   Everything from what’s hot for the season, new stores or websites and bargains at our local malls.  Now I find myself researching topics of unfamiliar territory.  A bit of “off roading”- if you may.  Being single…and well…never married, you’re probably wondering why the heck I’m writing for a wedding blog.  What do I know about wedding topics?

Well I’ll be honest…I don’t know much about the wedding stuff….that’s why you guys have Bobbi-Jo.  But I do know fashion, and I’m continuously reading and researching information for the other shopaholics like me!

 One website I like to browse through on a regular basis, is a store in New York City called “White House Black Market”  www.whitehouseblackmarket.com

White House Black Market is a boutique that offers beautiful clothing in a simple palette of white and black.  Splashes of red, grey and blue sometimes frequent the apparel, but for the most part it’s pretty simple in color.

“The Wedding Boutique” which is featured on their website has a handful of bridal gowns, bridesmaids dresses and accessories for the more classic and minimal styles.

They have four beautiful bridal dresses this season to choose from.  All under $700!  And I LOVE the accessories especially the “Rosette Bridal Clutch” and the “Ivory Satin Double Rose Clutch”.  Rosette’s are BIG this season.  They are trendy yet elegant. 

Take a peek at the website…and then yet another reason for a roadtrip!  Enjoy!

Barb Griffin

Fashionista Writer

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Fashionista Friday

Today’s Blog isn’t about the coolest bridesmaids dresses or the “in” shoes, but simply appreciating what we have.  Clearly I can’t take credit for writing this little story, but I received it via email and I thought it was perfect to share for this time of year.
 
In all the wedding kerfuffles, crazy appointments and expenses of all kinds, this tremendous story brings us back to simple joys in very hard times, reminding us what is truly important.  Be thankful for those in your life and remember this remarkable moment in history.
 
Enjoy the read, and Happy Thanksgiving!
 

Barb Griffin

Fashionista Writer
 
The Wedding Gown That Made History
Helen Zegerman Schwimmer
Posted Dec 31 2008
     Lilly Friedman doesn’t remember the last name of the woman who designed and sewed the wedding gown she wore when she walked down the aisle over 60 years ago.  But the grandmother of seven does recall that when she first told her fiancé Ludwig that she had always dreamed of being married in a white gown he realized he had his work cut out for him. 
 For the tall, lanky 21-year-old who had survived hunger, disease and torture this was a different kind of challenge.  How was he ever going to find such a dress in the Bergen Belsen Displaced Person’s camp where they felt grateful for the clothes on their backs?
 
   Fate would intervene in the guise of a former German pilot who walked into the food distribution center where Ludwig worked, eager to make a trade for his worthless parachute.  In exchange for two pounds of coffee beans and a couple of packs of cigarettes Lilly would have her wedding gown.
 
   For two weeks Miriam the seamstress worked under the curious eyes of her fellow DPs, carefully fashioning the six parachute panels into a simple, long sleeved gown with a rolled collar and a fitted waist that tied in the back with a bow. When the dress was completed she sewed the leftover material into a matching shirt for the groom.
 
   A white wedding gown may have seemed like a frivolous request in the surreal environment of the camps, but for Lilly the dress symbolized the innocent, normal life she and her family had once led before the world descended into madness.  Lilly and her siblings were raised in a Torah observant home in the small town of Zarica, Czechoslovakia where her father was a melamed, respected and well liked by the young yeshiva students he taught in nearby Irsheva. 
   He and his two sons were marked for extermination immediately upon arriving at Auschwitz.  For Lilly and her sisters it was only their first stop on their long journey of persecution, which included Plashof, Neustadt, Gross Rosen and finally Bergen Belsen. 
 
 
 
Lilly Friedman and her parachute dress on display in the Bergen Belsen Museum
 
   Four hundred people marched 15 miles in the snow to the town of Celle on January 27, 1946 to attend Lilly and Ludwig’s wedding.  The town synagogue, damaged and desecrated, had been lovingly renovated by the DPs with the meager materials available to them.  When a Sefer Torah arrived from England they converted an old kitchen cabinet into a makeshift Aron Kodesh. 
    “My sisters and I lost everything – our parents, our two brothers, our homes. The most important thing was to build a new home.”  Six months later, Lilly’s sister Ilona wore the dress when she married Max Traeger.  After that came Cousin Rosie.  How many brides wore Lilly’s dress? “I stopped counting after 17.” With the camps experiencing the highest marriage rate in the world, Lilly’s gown was in great demand.
 
    In 1948 when President Harry Truman finally permitted the 100,000 Jews who had been languishing in DP camps since the end of the war to emigrate, the gown accompanied Lilly across the ocean to America.  Unable to part with her dress, it lay at the bottom of her bedroom closet for the next 50 years, “not even good enough for a garage sale. I was happy when it found such a good home.” 
   Home was the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. When Lily’s niece, a volunteer, told museum officials about her aunt’s dress, they immediately recognized its historical significance and displayed the gown in a specially designed showcase, guaranteed to preserve it for 500 years.
 
   But Lilly Friedman’s dress had one more journey to make. Bergen Belsen, the museum, opened its doors on October 28, 2007.  The German government invited Lilly and her sisters to be their guests for the grand opening. They initially declined, but finally traveled to Hanover the following year with their children, their grandchildren and extended families to view the extraordinary exhibit created for the wedding dress made from a parachute. 
    Lilly’s family, who were all familiar with the stories about the wedding in Celle, were eager to visit the synagogue.  They found the building had been completely renovated and modernized.  But when they pulled aside the handsome curtain they were astounded to find that the Aron Kodesh, made from a kitchen cabinet, had remained untouched as a testament to the profound faith of the survivors.  As Lilly stood on the bimah once again she beckoned to her granddaughter, Jackie, to stand beside her where she was once a kallah.  “It was an emotional trip.  We cried a lot.”
   Two weeks later, the woman who had once stood trembling before the selective eyes of the infamous Dr. Josef Mengele returned home and witnessed the marriage of her granddaughter.
                                                                                                                 
  The three Lax sisters – Lilly, Ilona and Eva, who together survived Auschwitz, a forced labor camp, a death march and Bergen Belsen – have remained close and today live within walking distance of each other in Brooklyn.  As mere teenagers, they managed to outwit and outlive a monstrous killing machine, then went on to marry, have children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren and were ultimately honored by the country that had earmarked them for extinction.
   As young brides, they had stood underneath the chuppah and recited the blessings that their ancestors had been saying for thousands of years.  In doing so, they chose to honor the legacy of those who had perished by choosing life.
   Helen Zegerman Schwimmer is the author of Like The Stars of The Heavens.  To contact her please visit:  helenschwimmer.com.
 

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Fashionista Friday

Those who know me, know,  that not only do I love to shop for clothes but I’m also an avid fashion and trend researcher.  I LOVE discovering unique pieces and fun new websites, and I have an eye for it. Now I find myself researching wedding information for interesting options for you, our readers and future brides.  It’s a road I have not yet ventured…so you’ll have to be patient with me.  Some of my discoveries aren’t going to be phenomenal…but I think this one is!

I came across this great website ( http://www.twobirdsbridesmaids.com ), which conveniently  backs up my first article.  No one likes to invest a lot of money in a bridesmaid dress that you’re only going to wear once.  Founder and designer Ariene Goldman, states she was “frustrated with spending too much money on a dress she’ll never wear again”.  So she designed a dress that can be worn 15 different ways.

The website is very user friendly and pleasing to the eye.  It illustrates and provides picture instructions on a few ways to ‘wrap’ the dress to your desired style.   She cleverly names each style as the “Elizabeth”, “Caroline” or “Annie”s.  

Styles such as one shoulder, kimono style, halter, cap sleeves, and strapless are just a few of the options.  This eliminates the stress of finding that right fit for all your bridesmaids who are very different women.  Real women come in all shapes and sizes and this dress gives each bridesmaid the option of wearing the garment in a way that most flatters her body.

The dress simply comes in two sizes (A) 0-14 and (B) 16-24. The nylon/jersey/spandex material allows for a comfortable fit that is not clingy, but falls nicely against the body.   They come in various hemlines and three collections.  Classic, Rosette or Two Toned.

There are 20 different colors, ranging in shades such as black, peacock blue, slate and dusty rose (which to me, looks a bit peachy).  Custom colors are available.  The Two Toned collection can be used with any two colors available.  They are located in the States but ship to Canada, unless of course you want to take your girls on a weekend to New York.  (Have a weekend in New York).

Best of all, the dress is practical and sexy.  Yes –  two words we don’t often use together…but I think this time its warranted.

Personally I love the dress.  It would definitely be a huge possibility for my bridesmaids….only thing is…I’m still searching for my groom!

Happy Shopping!

Barb Griffin

Fashionista Writer

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Fashionista Friday

The bridesmaid dress….Then and now

“Always a bridesmaid, never a bride”.  A phrase, a little too familiar to me!  Luckily, my  bridesmaids’ career isn’t as extensive as that of Katherine Heigl’s was in the hit  movie,  “27 dresses”.  I also haven’t experienced the utter horror of wearing something so ridiculous you want to dive behind the DJ booth!  It wasn’t always that way, though.  The past styles have been pretty outrageous looking. Check out some history of the fashions from 1928 through to the early 80’s.  I’m not sure what’s worse the 1970’s floor length floral explosion or the 1980’s super satin puffy sleeved disaster.

1928

1954

1973

1982

EEEEEEEEK!  My eyes are burning!

The bridesmaid dress thankfully, like all fashion has changed over the years. 

Today a typical bridesmaid dress is much more sophisticated and simple.  A ruffle here, a skinny belt or silk sash there and the dresses are classic, so you CAN wear them again.  I know…I know…the brides always tell you the dresses are practical and can be worn again.  Then find yourself stuffing the one day purchase in the back of your closet never to be seen again. 

Good news though, I’m finding more retailers throughout our local malls are creating “wedding and special events collections”.  This allows the buyer to purchase a less expensive dress that is stylish AND practical.  My favorite Canadian retailer with this option is RW&Co.  They carry a wide range of beautiful dresses that don’t leave a bite out of your wallet. They already have a wonderful selection in the fall’s hottest colours.  Expresso brown, bordeaux, lavender and the always classic black.  As a solid, color block or floral pattern. 

Along with a great selection of amazing dresses, they currently have a contest that you should check out at www.rw-co.com where you can win prizes for just submitting a photo of your bridesmaids (or groomsmen) wearing RW&Co dresses!

So ladies, happy shopping and be thankful that some things in history don’t repeat itself!  Then again who knows….maybe in 2025 we’ll all be wearing green floral floor length gowns, with puffy sleeves!

Barb Griffin

Fashionista Writer

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Let’s Meet Fashionista Friday Writer

I would like to introduce  you to our Fashionista  Friday writer Barb Griffin, 38. She studied Fashion Merchandising at Seneca College and  currently works as a Facilities Coordinator for a software firm. Barb has done some amazing volunteer work for the past 4 years at the Corsage Project as a personal shopper. Corsage Project is an organization that occurs once a year to help an under privileged young girl go to her Prom by providing all the essentials such as the dress, shoes, accessories , make up and hair tips. Barb is currently an amateur  fashion researcher and hopes to work in the area of personal shopper, stylist or buyer.

I email Barb all the time for fashion advice, so I knew she was the right girl for this section. So grab a tea or cocktail and sit back and enjoy. I know  you will enjoy reading her blogs every Friday, I know I’m looking forward to them. See you here on Friday!

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