You tell us: Would you show off your stems in a short wedding dress?


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Who says the bride is the only one who shouldn’t sport a cocktail-length dress during her cocktail hour? Nowadays, everyone from Vera Wang to Melissa Sweet to David’s Bridal and BCBG Max Azria seem to encourage showing some leg with shorter dresses. The look coincides nicely with the retro-inspired movement seen on recent runways.

‘The fashion is harking back the the 1950s and ‘60s ... the natural waist ... the ball gowns ...,’ said Randy Fenoli of TLC’s ‘Say Yes to The Dress,’ comparing the looks to Audrey Hepburn’s tea-length silhouette in 1957’s ‘Funny Face.’ Fenoli, who is the fashion director at New York’s Kleinfeld Bridal, the store featured in TLC’s reality show, added that most brides could use a little extra height, which a long leg adds visually. ‘The average height of a woman is 5-foot-5 and petite starts at 5-foot-4. Having something with a natural waistline or empire waistline will make her legs look longer.’


Katherine Robinson, who sells vintage-inspired gowns via her website, said that women want her (somewhat ironically) old-is-new-again looks because they ‘feel fresh to them.’ ‘I really think the long dresses -- to me now anyway, and I think to a lot of girls, looks too formal,’ Robinson, who is based in Bali, said in a phone interview. ‘It looks anachronistic and not in a good way. It looks ridiculously formal,’ she said, adding that even though she does make long wedding dresses for sale, her clients ‘see the mid-calf as already enough of a dress-up.’

(Robinson also sells a lot of boleros, which she says are great for covering up tattoos).

Sure, it’s easy to blame the gorgeous, glamorous looks of the 1960s TV drama ‘Mad Men’ for this (why not? Those looks seem to have influenced just about every other bit of the fashion landscape), but ‘Say Yes to the Dress’s’ Fenoli said that’s not the only style of ceremony where they’re appropriate.

Fenoli, whose store had short wedding dresses in the windows at the time of the interview, points the finger at another pop culture fashion phenom: He says brides have had a greater need to show off their shoes ever since Carrie Bradshaw accentuated her City Hall wedding day ensemble with those blue satin Manolo Blahniks in the first ‘Sex and the City’ movie.

‘I don’t think a length is as important as the design and the feeling of the dress,’ Fenoli said. ‘You could have a modern chic dress that’s very slim and ruched and tight-fitting that could be great for a chic, modern wedding or a fluffy ruffled short dress that’s very fun and frilly for a fun atmosphere. Then something that’s lacy and retro with short veil with a cage veil over the face for a retro feel.’
Despite all this, Fenoli says that most of the brides who come in with a short dress in mind still end up leaving with a full-length number. And, of course, there are also brides like Carrie Underwood who switch to cocktail length for the reception.

What do you think? Would you/did you wear a short wedding dress on your wedding day? Sound off in the comments section.

-- Whitney Friedlander



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Bottom left, Melissa Sweet Minnie gown, $2,350; Credit: Melissa Sweet. Bottom right, David’s Bridal short shantung dress, $135. Credit: David’s Bridal.