The Role Of A Wedding Style Icon, Or, Saturday Morning at 9:49am

I’ve never really subscribed to the idea of a style icon. Perhaps because appropriate options were a long time coming. Back in 1983, when I bought my first suit, to whom would I have looked for inspiration? We were sorting out professional style en masse.

By the time style icons appropriate to working women began to appear I had already developed my own fairly stubborn ideas. For better or worse, I thought I knew what I was doing.

If pressed now, in my regular life, although I don’t do icons, I could certainly give style favorites. They’re age appropriate, too. Ines de la Fressange. Tilda Swinton. Sturdy, minimal, aspirational Artsy. No surprise to any of you, I imagine.

But now I’m choosing a wedding dress. And as it turns out, I want to feel neither terribly Artsy nor Sturdy when I wed.

Where to look?

I was talking to my friend Meg Keene, who owns the site, A Practical Wedding. Good resource, no? I was fretting, a tad, over my dress options.  You see, last weekend I made my way to a bridal salon, accompanied by my sister, my sister-in-law, my niece, and baby nephew. While my nephew had no particular opinion, the female contingent was united in their love for a dress more girly than I had planned. Less edgy. Less ironic, if you will.

And guess what. Me too. Imagine point d’esprit. A one-shoulder silhouette. Even some tulle.

What to do?

“Oh,” said Meg, “Here’s what I tell my mother. WWMW.”


“What Would Mirren Wear?”

Oh. Of course. Even though I don’t adore Helen Mirren’s aesthetic for my regular life, I am a stone cold fan of her attitude. And for my wedding, well, yes. I think yes. Armed with her courage,  point d’esprit here I come. I’m reserving the right to change my mind at the last minute and revert to Christopher Kane’s tape dress. But for now I’m exploring the land of blonde satin pumps, in the guise of a Dame.

I suppose icons are signifiers of the uncharted.

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  • I have no doubt your selections will be perfect for the occasion! I am eager to see pictures!

  • Stuart Weitzman shoes cannot be bettered. Last night I wore an ELEVEN year old pair of Weitzmans to a black tie event. Enough said.

    I’ve always loved point d’esprit.

  • The Christopher Kane dress was always my first choice for you, provided it fit you beautifully (no bagging anywhere). And it completely fulfills the WWMW criterion. (Also, I love the subtle irony of the tapes — this is, after all, a second marriage; we have a few lovely scars tucked away that bring wisdom to play this time around). However, in the end, it’s how you *feel* in what you wear, and how Significant Other will feel when he sees you and has you by his side during the ceremony — recognition of a fellow soulmate, a sense of relief and happiness that yes,this (you) are Home to him. :) P.S. The pumps are gorgeous. You can’t go wrong with Stuart Weitzman. Have fun, Lisa! Warmest wishes to you…

  • I am so glad you are getting to have a bridal dress shopping moment or two. It is a special time and you should embrace getting to try on satin and tulle…even if you do end up with Christopher Kane’s tape dress. BTW I think it would make an excellent exit outfit. And I think your ring is amazing too! So classy and timeless yet edgy and modern at the same time.

  • By your own definitions if you aren’t sturdy or artsy then you’re a Dame (funny how the spellers caps that automatically). Must go with the blond up-do. Love makes everyone lovely, so move on to the really important stuff like the honeymoon trip :)

    7:43 pm
    Danielle said...

    Maybe there is room for a fourth style archetype?

    Also, Helen Mirren. OMG. That is one hot lady. (fanning myself over here)

  • The ” tape dress ” with the white shoes will look fine!

  • Tulle… oh my. Tape if by day, Tulle if by night?
    Either choice will be illuminated from within.
    Enjoy, enjoy.

    7:11 am
    Lisa said...

    Ha! That shall be my motto. Actually, I think I’ll do it in reverse. Tape for the night before, point d’esprit day of:). And thank you so much for “illuminated from within.”

  • Such fun, the planning, the anticipation, no? Enjoy! Re-invent!

  • “Girly”!

    Well thank goodness, then, that you decided to crowdsource dress options with your family. What a blast you all must have had at the salon. Or not; maybe it was stressful.

    Do you think the dress you’re seeing in your mind exists, or might you want to design it yourself? Have it made to your precise specifications? Back to that snazzy fabric shop where you got your reunion lace…

    I love what Rosie up ahead of me just said “Either choice will be illuminated from within.” Oh, don’t we know it.

  • Well, I musta missed a whole lot, Lisa. I am so happy for you, darling! A wedding! The fortunate gentleman is very very very lucky. I know you will be radiant and beautiful, it doesn’t even matter what you wear. When is all this happening? Send me an email. Love you X10 !!

  • First of all, I am so happy for you. I love point d’esprit, but I can definitely see you in the Christopher Kane tape dress. I have no doubt, though, that either choice will be illuminated from within,” as Rosie said above.

  • I love the tape dress, but I would not come to me for wedding style advice. I wore a red and white dress for my wedding. I wanted a red dress, but couldn’t find one. (Fortunately, I have found one since.)

    You will look lovely no matter what you wear.

  • I love the Christopher Kane dress, but it’s definitely more tomboy and edgy. I think it’s great that you have a desire for something more traditionally girly and pretty. My only advice is to make sure whatever you choose feels like “you”, even if it’s outside of your usual comfort zone, because you want to feel “in your body” at your own wedding.

  • Wear what makes your heart soar. It will be a special dress of that I have no doubt.
    My SW shoes must be 7 years old and I still love them!

    Hope that you are savouring all these moments.
    I would love to see you in your wedding attire. Perhaps you will email me an image after you return from your honeymoon!

    Hugs to you Lisa!

  • I think you pick a wedding dress with your heart more than with your style point. No matter the age, the tenderness of romance allows us to reveal a bit of our inner core. I do think that the tape dress is an excellent apres-ceremony dress. But no matter what you select, you will be authentic in it.

    7:17 am
    Lisa said...

    That’s exactly what happened. “The tenderness of romance.”

  • I can relate to this full-stop. I too am a person who has always struggled with iconism and finding a “style-guru”. I think that for weddings, all bets are off. I had, like most brides, a certain idea of how I wanted to look. Minimal, easy, sort of deconstructed edgy chic. I ended up in a beautiful drop-waisted deco-inspired satin halter dress with beading on the waistband. I tried it on in the shop, it fit off the rack. No alterations. Done.

    Try everything on. You will undoubtedly surprise yourself. I still have my deco dress hanging over the closet door, waiting for the day when I will have the energy (and the funds) to get the “wedding” altered out of it so I can wear it again for black tie. That is how much I loved the thing. Quel surprise.

  • Lisa, when you first posted on the CK dress I thought it so ‘you’ with your super slim figure so elegant…the buttons at the back add a frisson of sexiness,you will need help with them!!

  • I love that Christopher Kane dress – though I always swore I was going to get married in leather! Dame Helen always looks pretty fab. She’s a big fan of Dolce & Gabanna dresses.

  • Wedding dress shopping is such a unique experience. It feels like a huge decision, but in the end it’s all about you. I remember having a vision of what I thought I wanted (I wished to channel Kate Middleton) but in the end, lace was itchy, and I opted for the simplest of dresses, a ivory silk taffeta strapless, very a-line and no smarkles or beading. I loved it, it felt me to keep it easy. I even wore my hair down (since I never wear it up) and wore fancy flats as I hate heals. I could of looked very different if I’d listened to others, but in the end when my Groom whispered in my ear “my, you look so lovely” I knew I’d made the right choices. I’m sure you will do the same.

    7:18 am
    Lisa said...

    He’s been involved in the decision-making all along:).

  • If you can’t do Mirren for your wedding, when else can you? A one-shouldered point d’esprit dress sounds like heaven to me, and I’ve no doubt you will pull it off with supreme elegance and not a trace of girlishness. So exciting to hear it all coming together.

  • Point d’esprit: the perfect mating of tulle and lace.

    A wedding is one of the most heartfelt occasions, when the ancestral line of your family is honnoured as well as you two. Why not look feminine? (We know this does not mean ballgown dripping with beading.) Edgy + wedding reminds me of Angelina marrying Billy Bob.

    Tomboy can show up for the honeymoon; pack your flannel pjs.

    7:19 am
    Lisa said...


    I like the spectrum between Angelina and flannels.

  • Go to and check out Spring 2013, dress #33 and #34. (If you want to do something a bit different consider Fall 2013 #30). Not trying to give unsolicited input, but couldn’t resist throwing a couple of ideas out there. Any one of these dresses would be beautiful on you. And, no, I have no connection with Lela Rose just having some vicarious shopping fun :)

    7:19 am
    Lisa said...

    Those are beautiful.

  • Am sure whatever you choose will be perfect. Christopher Kane makes such gorgeous pieces. And Helen Mirren as a style icon, when I grow up, I hope to look that good (realising I have a lot of work to do between now and then….!)

  • Better be careful with the taped dress: from the back the tapes can seem to be a see-through-panty-hose (a quite large one) and from the front the tape-pattern also sees to draw some undies. This might look strange on photos, not so much in action such as “kissing the bride” :-)

    You can probably wear any dress and be beautiful!
    Have fun during the process of chosing “the” dress.

    7:19 am
    Lisa said...

    Ha! I will make sure to check from all angles!

  • This is so exciting! Stuart Weitzman… I love his shoes and have two pairs that I adore. I cannot wait to hear more about the preparation!

  • I would definitely go with the CK design- a great play on details and placement; I liked the earlier posts referencing the significance of the “tape”.

    I found your blog by accident over the weekend while doing some research on what the internet viewed as “appropriate” fashion for women 50+ – you know because as the insurance company commercial says “they can’t put anything on the internet that isn’t true” – hah! Anyway, I love this blog and will visit often; I didn’t grow up High WASP or any other kind of WASP, but with great family traditions that likely were a mixture of WASP and whatever the equivalent Native American and Black American upper class privileges would have dictated.

    Anyhoo, interesting reading and I want more!

    7:20 am
    Lisa said...

    Welcome! I’d be very interested to read/hear about your family traditions.

  • The only style icon I know is my mother. I am quite certain you’ll be a radiant bride regardless of your choice of dress.

  • God help me, I went to the Filene’s Basement Running of the Brides, although we went in the evening, so it was more like the Strolling of the Brides.

    Tried on about 5 or 6 dresses and fell in love with one I thought I’d never choose. After the Groom, it was the best choice I made.

  • Happy to be talking to myself now that everyone’s gone. I just finished a seasonal tour through Peterman, wow, completely by accident have found my Fantasy-I’ve-been-invited-to-LPC’s-wedding dress.

    Blue or White, I can’t decide. I’ll get both, classic.