Plus Size Bridal Q&A with Designer Phyllis Brasch Librach

Calling All Plus Size Brides!

Please get ready to take notes of what industry expert Phyllis Brasch Librach has to share about plus size bridal and finding the perfect look for your special day.

PMM sat down for a Q & A with Librach, designer of wedding, prom and evening dresses in sizes 14 to 40 under the Sydney’s Closet, Tease Prom and Michelle Bridal brands. 

PMM: You have been in the plus size bridal business for a very long time. How has the business side changed with technology and social media taking center stage in the fashion industry?

In ancient times, before the Internet, brides relied on magazines for everything wedding-related. That has now changed, forever. She’s not diving into the recycling bin to retrieve magazines anymore.

Today’s bride lives in a digital world and her wedding is no exception.  Social media touches every aspect of her wedding –  even playing Cupid. Consider:

  • One in every four couples hook up through social media, a dating app or dating website.
  • Half of all family and friends learn about a couple’s engagement on social media.
  • Within 24 hours of getting engaged, half of all brides update their Facebook status from single to engaged. 
  • 70% of brides create a unique wedding hashtag.
  • 90% of brides use Pinterest for inspiration (so much easier than tearing pages out of magazines!).
  • 75% rely on Instagram as a planning tool. 
  • 80% of brides find vendors through social media (who has a Yellow Pages anymore?)

First comes love, then comes technology. Brides turn to technology to take the stress out of wedding planning. It’s easy, accessible and affordable. No wonder technology is exploding as a planning tool and way to communicate with family, friends and guests. 

By now the couple’s website, blog and online registry are so predictable. But cutting-edge technology could be coming to a wedding near you soon:

  • Video save-the-date, email and password protected
  • 3-D printed dessert decorations
  • Drones for jaw-dropping photography and video
  • Mini cameras tucked into bouquets to give the bride a live view of her wedding
  • A driverless car to take the bride and groom away in tech style

PMM: Bridal fashion trends have changed a lot in the plus size industry. What are the hottest trends in plus size bridal fashion right now?

A Call to Arms

Brides are in love with sleeves in every style and length: puff, raglan, detachable, belle, cap, bishop and slit.  My personal fave of all times is a full -length sleeve in a soft illusion net with covered buttons at the wrist. It creates a clean, long line and lets the bride dare to bare a little skin.  (And sometimes I add lace appliques to match the dress!)

“I want to cover my arms”  is the single most request I hear as a designer. Not to worry!  If sleeves aren’t your fashion style, cover your arms with a bolero, jacket, shawl or cape. 

Lady in Lace

Lace never goes out of style. Its popularity persists because no fabric has a more romantic look.

Pocket Change

Brides can’t get enough pockets. The design detail adds just a hint of playfulness and a perfect place to stash a handkerchief or something blue.

Clean Slate

Credit the royals for inspiring the trend for wedding dresses with clean, unadorned designs. Now brides worldwide want simple, unembellished silhouettes that stand out. The trend proves you don’t need lace or crystals to be beautiful on your wedding day. Best of all, you get a blank slate to personalize your style with accessories. (Think beaded belt!)

Float Down the Aisle

Dramatic statement skirts add drama to the bride’s walk down – and up – the aisle. No wonder they’re so popular! The tiered and layered skirts in organza, tulle and chiffon make a strong fashion statement and look so fabulous in photos.

PMM: Sydney’s Closet offers a wide variety of special occasion options including wedding gowns, prom, and special occasion. What tips can you offer for people hesitant to buy online?

Plan ahead.  

Buying special occasion dresses online is not a shopping decision you want to rush. Give yourself at least six months, ideally a year, to shop online. You want to be able to click to your heart’s content until you find the dress of your dreams. 

Measure up.

Unfortunately, there are no standard sizes when it comes to Wedding, Prom and Evening dresses. Sizes vary wildly among designers. Never assume you will wear the same size you do in everyday clothes made of stretchy knits. A formal dress fabric and construction is more structured with no stretch.

You MUST take your measurements. It’s not an option. Ideally, it’s done by a professional seamstress or tailor. If not, check this friendly “How to Measure” video

Create a contact on your phone named “Measurements”. Store your bust, waist, hips and desired dress length from the hollow of your neck to the hemline.

Ready to order? Compare your bust, waist and hip measurements with the size chart for your dress. Match as closely as possible, and always plan on alterations for the perfect fit.

Read carefully to see if the dress you want is in stock in your size and color preference. If it has to be ordered, make sure it arrives in time for alterations.

Before you hit the BUY button, check and double-check the return and exchange policy. You need to be comfortable with the website’s terms and policies. 

Warning!  Not all websites selling special occasion dresses can be trusted. Thousands based in China sell shoddy fakes of the real designer gowns. Some take your money and never send a dress.  Click here to learn more so you avoid getting scammed. 

PMM: What does the 2020 bride look like to you?  

She’s modern and a little rebellious. Watch for her to be ready to break tradition when she selects her wedding dress. She still wants to look – and feel – romantic and feminine on her big day. But she also wants to share her personal style and fashion personality whether it’s Boho, Princess, Modern or Traditional.

For Spring 2020, I kept that bride in mind when I designed black as a strong accent color in the Michelle Bridal Collection. Baby blue and pale pink are sure to be other hot hues.  

Thank you, Phyllis for sharing these amazing tips, knowledge and advice on shopping as a plus size bride!

Click here to learn more about Librach and why she became a bridal designer.

Click here to check out our bridal section on the blog!