Non-Traditional Wedding Dress Shopping Tips from LOHO Bride’s Christy Baird
It can be tough out there for non-traditional brides. No wedding dress seems to meet your expectations and you feel like the dress of your dreams just doesn’t exist (or it does, but it’s 1. couture, 2. way out of your budget or 3. from some untraceable Pinterest photo that is also #1 and #2). Believe me, I’ve been there, and I know it sucked. Luckily for me (and you), LOHO Bride, a beautifully curated and non-traditional bridal boutique in California, is out there to solve all of these woes. I was able to find my dress literally 1.5 months before my wedding (yup — I really, really held out until I found the perfect dress). For brides that don’t seem to fit within a specific style or category, I can vouch that LOHO Bride is a godsend. The boutique is chock-full of gorgeous dresses that are on-trend but not too trendy — and nothing remotely traditional or boring — by hard-to-come-by designers like Houghton, Bo & Luca and Mariana Hardwick. *Insert praying hands emoji*
Can you tell us how LOHO Bride got its start? Was there a place in the market for a non-traditional bridal boutique?
Christy Baird: I have always thought of marriage as something I would do if I was so madly in love that I couldn’t help myself! I never dreamed about it or set a timeline for when that needed to happen by. I’ve always thought that if you put pressure on “I have to do this by this time,” that you would stop really living. With that being said, so much of the mass wedding industry just didn’t feel desirable to me. One year I had nine weddings to attend, and all along, I couldn’t help but wonder where someone like me would go to get her wedding dress. After a lot of intensive research, I found there was a very clear gap in the market.
Fast forward to a few years ago, when I still didn’t see multi-label stores commit to the aesthetic I was going for, yet there were a lot more designers out there who were breaking the mold. I felt a “now or never” window of opportunity and took the plunge. Thankfully, my gut intuition was spot on. We had brides booked out for two months before opening our San Francisco location after throwing a successful pop-up six months earlier.
How would you describe the LOHO Bride woman?
CB: When I close my eyes and think about who our bride is, I have visions of her instead of adjectives, because she’s the type of woman who transcends labels and convention. That’s how I came to naming the brand League of Her Own. After writing down all of these ways to describe her, I decided that the ethos of the brand was to have her define herself. She decides what kind of bride she is, and there might not be a name for it specifically, just an organic confidence behind how she feels during an incredibly meaningful day. She doesn’t have to ask herself if she can pull something off; she just does. Our brides are looking for quality-made, hard-to-find designers. They come to us for a tightly curated rack that they can rely on without having to weed through racks and racks of gowns that aren’t them, while receiving a personalized experience. When I’m buying, I gravitate toward gowns that have personality; gowns that we all haven’t seen over and over again. Our selection ranges from edgier, minimalist styles to airy, ethereal silhouettes.
What are your top tips for a non-traditional bride who is trying to find her dream wedding dress?
CB: 1. Think about your personal style and how that would look elevated. I think it’s important for non-traditional brides to resemble an extension of themselves. Keep that vision in mind while shopping.
2. Start getting as many silhouettes on as possible so that you learn what highlights your body best. Many times what pictures well doesn’t always end up looking good on your shape. It’s important to witness this in person and keep those findings with you as you try on potential options.
3. Start following bridal Instagram accounts or Pinterest boards while shopping in order to draw inspiration. You’ll gain favorite designers and it’ll allow you to conceptualize your bridal style. You can then research how to track down their gowns, or you can show a store for reference so that they can find a designer with similarities.
Who are your favorite non-traditional wedding dress designers?
CB: Is it lame to say our designers? Because it’s true! If I had to pick gowns that I absolutely love, but don’t fit into our store’s price range/vision though, I would say Valentino, Elie Saab, Givenchy, Balenciaga and Naeem Khan.
Are there any celebrity or real weddings you like to draw inspiration from?
CB: Heavy social influencers have been a significant factor in the non-traditional bridal wave, so yes — we’re extremely inspired by the fashion choices that they make. Some of our all-time favorites are Jane Birkin, Carolyn Bessette, Kate Moss, Solange, Katie Shillingford, Rachel Chandler, Erica Pelosini and Vanessa Traina.
What bridal trends should we look forward to this spring/summer?
CB: 1. Cape-like or kimono sleeves: Stevie Nicks-inspired sleeves are having a comeback.
2. French layering: fitted silhouettes with loose overlays.
3. Customized separates: I see separates gaining “normalcy” because brides can really personalize their look. The skirt doesn’t have to go with just one matching top, thus, they don’t have to look like the stock photo. They can style up separates to be their own.
4. Gold-accented beading and detailing: a beautiful way to mix up the all-white or ivory look.
5. Cocktail-length slips + high-low hem: After seeing Erica Pelosini and Whitney Port strut their long legs down the aisle, I loved seeing some alternatives to the traditional floor length gown.
How would you advise a bride to stay true to herself on her wedding day?
CB: I would remind her that feeling and looking knockout gorgeous on her wedding day is characterized by her. Not by her friends or family. Try to avoid too many opinions. Remember that this is a day to highlight the woman her partner fell in love with, so steering away from over-styling, over-gemming or over-caking on the makeup is highly advised.
How gorgeous is LOHO Bride’s wedding dress selection? Book an appointment at their San Francisco or Melrose boutique. And don’t forget to follow Brit+Co on Pinterest for more wedding inspo!