Photo By: Photos by Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Women growing up in the era of search engines are savvy to the bridal style inspiration amassing on sites like Etsy, Pinterest and Offbeat Bride. But for the bashful fashionista, the sheer volume of inventive, adorable design going into fascinators, pendants, cuffs and clutches can be overwhelming.
The Town Crier walked Los Altos’ Main Street last week in search of bridal style closer to home. If you’re bent on building a bridal look, can you do it in one hour downtown? Short of a gown and veil, the other elements quickly came into place.
Thanks to last summer’s Royal Wedding, millinery has taken a wild swing toward the fascinator, with brides suddenly finding themselves in good company when it comes to blinged-out headwear. Fascinators – the architectural confections perched atop a lady’s hairdo in place of a hat – abound in band and clip styles at street markets and online. But in Main Street’s brick-and-mortar shops, a toned-down approach with gleams of pearls or the glitter of crystal beads is easier to find.
A headband forming a simple arc of pearls ($24) at Stuart’s Apparel by Nellie K (157 Main St.) captures the classic, luminous look of white. Pearls have been a nuptial go-to for women ranging from Queen Elizabeth to Jacqueline Kennedy.
At Gemma Boutique (208 Main St.), HotHead headbands ($28-$48) combine ribbon and beading to let glimmers of glitter sparkle elegantly escape the bridal hair.
Around the throat and wrist
Sticking to the traditional, a necklace by I Love Bracelets strings pearls on five slender brown strands of twisted leather ($94) at Oz Boutique (203 Main St.). Mired down by all the delicacy? A gold metallic cuff by the same designer, dripping with crystal beads and big pearls, adds a chunky heft to bare arms ($84).
Too offbeat to tolerate pearls? A Kathy Gaiser necklace ($200) at Gemma pairs antique gold beads of different shapes in a lariat style, and drapes a sinuous dangle of raw labradorite and turquoise down the décolletage.
For a budget-friendly option, wander a block off Main Street to Repeter (308 State St.) to browse the consignment jewelry (and shoes) tucked away behind the clothes racks. Last week, a delicate bracelet of pearls dangled in clusters from a knotted leather cord ($26).
Necklaces can put in two times the work when repurposed into the bridal industrial complex of wedding parties and their attendant rituals of gift-giving.
Addi McClure, who works at Therapy (366 Main St.), said she’s had a customer buy six Dogeared necklaces ($45-$65) for a bevy of bridesmaids. The teeny silver pendants vary in design, but the hammered-silver heart option hits the cliché – if desired – head-on.
Back at Stuart’s Apparel, a Mary Frances compact ($56) resplendent with beadwork boasts two sizes of mirrors for touch-ups mid-wedding-dance party. The shiny gold round compact not only suits women wearing white, but also their posses.
“We sell these when the bride wants to get a little present for the girls,” said owner Nellie Kumagai.
A similarly over-the-top Mary Frances clutch ($138) features a vintage-lace look with its layers of gold fluff and metallic bow, but inspect closely and you’ll see every variation of bridal bling possible packed into its little shape: peacock feathers, a white gemstone, white and gold beading, even sequins. If you’re sticking to white otherwise, why not sell the farm when it comes to the handbag?
What about mom?
Word among shop owners was that mothers of the bride were the prime nuptial customers at many Main Street locations. Many modern pieces (particularly those that aren’t all pearl) can cut either way between the generations. At Stuart’s Apparel, a gauzy Lee Andersen embroidered bolero in a sheer green ($138) would suit a modern bride with a taste for color, or a mom with an eye for detail.
“They’re looking for feminine, soft fabrics that have to look good coming and going – they can’t be plain in the back,” Kumagai said.