Thursday, February 28, 2013

Seeking: rehearsal shooz.


FH husband and I are getting married on Miami Beach in March and I've relied heavily on your blog for wedding advice and etiquette. We'll be having a non-traditional rehearsal dinner that will involve rooftop cocktails and dancing. I'll be wearing this DVF dress [pictured above] but can't seem to find shoes that are fun and under $250.  

Any chance you and your awesome crew can help?

Just Missing the Shoes


While I'm on an Emerson Fry kick (thanks, ladies)......

How bout these nude leather ankle straps?

They're a teence over your budget, but look how great her legs look!


And I feel like they might actually be *comfortable.*

Wednesday, February 27, 2013



Both pairs.

That is all.

Here's another pregs-y one you'll like....

Dear ESB,

Help! I am pregnant and need a super chic, special cocktail dress to wear to a friend's early April wedding here in NYC.

By the time her big day rolls around I will be just about 8 months (I'm due in early May). I'm a girl who loves her cocktail dress and heels and so far have not been able to find anything that will fit both my belly and my style. I am normally quite petite ( 5'5" size 0-2), and really have only gotten big in the boobs and the belly area. Most maternity dress options I have found just are not special enough.

Just because I am pregnant does not mean I am willing to give up my style! I would love to find something sexy, chic and all around awesome to wear that night. I am not afraid of color, prints or embellishments and would be grateful for any idea that do not resemble a tent or you typical ruched down the sides fitted, jersey maternity dress. Boring!

Please help!

Preggers and Fashion Deprived



I mean. Right?


At top: Roisin Murphy photographed by Dancian and styled by Sarah Bachs for Zoo Magazine via Fashion Gone Rogue

What should the (recently pregnant) best (wo)man wear?

Hey hi!

I'm excited to be writing you with my very own dress challenge. I have no doubt you and your trusted b*tches will do good on me.

My brother is getting married at a farm house in Sonoma County this August and has asked me.....wait for be his best (wo)man. When he first asked I thought it would be fun to play up the role a bit and dress a little masculine. Like a rad pantsuit [pictured above].

Buuuut then I got pregnant, and I highly doubt my gunt (can I say that on here) will be back in high-waisted form by wedding time. So what do you think I should wear to a semi-formal, evening wedding that will flatter my post-pregnancy body (nothing sleeveless ya'll) and be a killer way to support my brother, not take (too much) attention away from the bride?.

Best woMan?


How bout stripes? Am I crazy? These silk pants look hella comfy (and gunt-friendly).

With something like this cutaway blazer....?

And killer heels, obvs.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

AAAAARgh the Catholic guilt is killing me!!!!!

Dear ESB,

I'm a long time reader and lurker, and right now I need someone with lady balls to get some sense in my head...

My super boyfriend proposed to me last year in February and being the lazy asses that we are, we just enjoyed being engaged for almost a year without planning anything in particular.

Fast forward to July last year when I moved to switzerland for a new job and we started to think about planning everything so we could get married and he could come and meet me (he'd need a visa to stay here for more than 3 months, and I have one, so if we're married he gets one visa just like mine).

Ok, fast forward to Christmas, and still no concrete planing (did i mention we're lazyasses?). We decided that we'd want to get married either in June or August, depending on the dates the priest we  want to marry us have available. We talk to the guy and he tells us that he'll get back to us on the dates. So we waited for the super cool priest (yes, they are rare but they do exist) to get back to us, and when he finally did in the beginning of January we were so happy that he had one of the dates available in June (yay date set, check!).

That evening, after I skyped my mom to tell her the great news (the priest dude is the same one who officiated her wedding to dad) and after she was totally thrilled her sister (and my godmother) calls me... And here's where all the drama begins...

We were talking about normal things when she asked me what were the developments in the wedding department, and I told her "hey, great news! We spoke to the super cool priest dude and we have a date!" And she tells me "oh yes?" and I told her "yes, 29th of June, isn't that great?" And she just answered "oh, that's just fantastic. So you schedule those things without asking anybody else?" and hung up almost immediately.

I was completely struck by this, as I didn't even think that I was supposed to 'ask permission' to set my own wedding date, and suddenly started to feel like one of those bridezillas you see on tv.

So this was just a little over a month ago and we haven't talked since (apart from an email I sent her on the day that followed our skype conversation to which she hasn't responded).

And the drama ensued… All my family (except from my awesome parents) think that it is me who should call her and 'apologize' and ask her to be my wedding godmother (a catholic equivalent of a MOH, since we don't have the MOH/Best Man tradition).

The thing is, I don't really want her to be my wedding godmother just because she's supposed to be 'by tradition.' She *never* *ever* *ever* sounded minimally happy when we spoke wedding stuff (not even when I told her I was engaged). She asked me over and over again if I'm sure of what I'm doing because men are terrible hard work and boring as hell. She gave shit to my mom because we went (me and mom) check out wedding dresses and didn't give her a call or sent pictures (I found my dress for about $500 in the 1st store we entered but the clerk wouldn't let us take a picture). She kept saying that we're rushing into this (I'm 26, he's 29, we've been together for 4 and a half years, and this is not a rash decision).

All considering, I do not want this woman to be my witness at the wedding, because frankly she seems to be bothered by it.

As I said earlier, all my family think I should be the one to bury the hatchet and give her a call, because they think I owe her a lot. I lived with her for a few years during college and she was of great help when it came to find my first job. All of which I am very grateful for, and all of which I have thanked her during the course of our relationship. I just don't think that a wedding is a place to 'settle debts.'

Shit, what should I do, oh wise one? Everyone is f*cking pressuring me to do something I'm really not comfortable right now (and don't know if I'll ever be), and they're all Catholic guilting me! This is supposed to be a happy time, and has been, in a way but not totally because of this crap.

Sorry for the overly long e-mail, but I've been stewing in my own juices (does that sound dirty?) for a month and really need a perspective from somebody from the outside.


Ps- the rest of the planning is going really well, we already have a venue, photographers, wedding bands and the priest, yay!

Ps2 - I forgot to say that my mom is actually hurting with all this situation, because my aunt is her only sister, and i'm her only daughter. I guess in her head, the day of my wedding would include her sister as my 'godmother'. Still she's hurting but not pressuring, which is kind of sweet.

Ps3 - Again, sorry, this aunt of mine is an overbearing member of our family. If everything is not made to accommodate her desires she'll throw a tantrum (of silent treatment, but still a tantrum). I mean, she doesn't eat mammals or duck, and if we're all have dinner in grandma's house and there's roast beef for everybody and turkey for her or whatever, she'll give us all shit because we're eating 'smart animals.' That kind of thing.


First off, it IS good practice to run your date by the VIPs before you lock it (mom, dad, best man + maid of honor, wedding godmother?? anyone you have to have there on the day). Whether or not your godmother counts as a 'VIP' is clearly up for 'debate.'

I can't tell you what to do.

Basically, you have to decide which is worse: 1) sucking it up and asking the a*hole to be your witness, or 2) dealing with the Catholic guilt for the rest of your life.

Photo: Ben Toms for AnOther Magazine

I already have a catholic guilt tag!! I love me sometimes.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Seeking: A couple of ballgowns. nbd.


I'm going on the Queen Mary 2 transatlantic cruise this coming July with my husband, parents, in-laws and brother and his gf. My Dad did it once before and adored it, and wanted to do it again so my hubby and I jumped on it cause a) he was paying for part of it (you'd do it too) and b) we love traveling and when the hell else are we going to sail across the Atlantic and sing the Titanic theme non-stop?

The QM2 has several balls - one of which is a black and white ball, the other a "Royal Ascot" ball (I'm not kidding). There are gonna be lots of old folks, I'm already prepared for that. So I'd really like to look modern (eff those old folks) but also glamorous, since I will likely never have the occasion in any future years to wear an evening gown three times in one week. I'm a size 2 or 4 - small boobs, nice butt, and a normal sized stomach. My budget (here's the part where you get bitchy on me) is $1,000 and under for each dress. Oh, and my husband and I actually do dance so I need to move.

I don't expect you to find me multiple modern evening gowns, but any advice on websites or stores to check out would be much appreciated. And yes, I've been stalking gilt and other online sales.

Thank you.

Yours truly,
Rose Dawson
(I will move the hell over and let my husband up on that piece of driftwood if shit hits the fan)



I keep wanting to suggest this Lover, but it may not be ball worthy.

And I still like the Alice + Olivia leather bustier gown [pictured above]. Only available in a 2, but returnable.

As for websites/stores to check out..... UM. Search dresses and click on all the links and then search dresses some more. And search the comments on the dress posts. That's what I do.

p.s. Who's your pick for best-dressed at the Oscars? I only ask so that I can point out I have to go with Quentin's mystery date. Again!

Friday, February 22, 2013


I just spent the entire day working up a guest post for the Barneys blog. (Not that I'm complaining or anything but PHEW! there's a lot of product to dig through.)

These items didn't quite make the cut, though now that I'm pasting them up I can't think why.

Now I'm second-guessing the whole thing. FML.


Dresses (left to right): Lisa Perry, L'AgenceNarciso Rodriguez

Shoes (left to right): Manolo Blahnik, Christian Louboutin, Manolo Blahnik

Thursday, February 21, 2013

The Night Before?

Dear ESB,

I liked your advice on first looks, and I am wondering what your thoughts on spending the night before your wedding with your partner. 

It seems that even the most modern brides are still spending nights apart. Then again, these modern brides invented The KnotMost people are living together before they are married right? So wouldn't they get ready together and see each other the day of? 

What did you do?

Apart we are together.


We spent the night before the wedding together (I mean, COME ON) and then spent the morning together running around setting up tables &c. But we split up an hour or two before the ceremony and I took a bath, shaved my legs, spent a few minutes alone contemplating the enormity…. and got ready with my bridespeople. And he did whatever he did with his groomspeople.

So we saw each other for the "first time" at the altar. Which was incredible. Which is what everyone should do. (OPINIONS! I'VE GOT EM.)

Photo by Mikael Jansson for Interview Magazine

p.s. Dan Savage also has some opinions about weddings. I particularly like his exhortation to "Fuck first." Seems relevant here.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

looking for the impossible dress

Dear esb,

Fashion is not really my thing but I love your style. And right now I am having huge shopping issues regarding a formal, evening wedding I'll be attending in a couple of weeks.

The last year has been a bit tumultuous and I feel like this is a great occasion for me to look and feel sexy. Basically I was in a pretty bad car accident and have scars along one arm and on both knees. I broke a leg and am still pretty wobbly in heels and so want avoid those. What I want is a dress that makes me look great but can hide as many of my scars as possible (arms are more of a priority than knees and the worst scars are high up my arm). 

Also, I'm three months pregnant (it was a surprise, but the hubs and I are excited) and so can't wear anything tight in the abdomen area. I also don't want to look obviously pregnant (I am not yet showing, though might be by the time of the wedding), as I just don't associate that with sexy. 

As if the dress I'm describing is not impossible enough to find, I'd like to stay under $200 since I'm not sure I will wear it again (I've gained some weight between the accident and the pregnancy). I'm probably a size 6, with short legs and most of my weight in my thighs (and now belly).

Can you help me?

Many thanks,
Almost recovered


With an embellished sandal similar-to-but-perhaps-cheaper-than these studded suede Alaïas.

I'd wear that outfit. 


Top image: Stella Tennant by Steven Meisel for W March 2013 via Visual Optimism

Monday, February 18, 2013

who's got $500 to spend on a shrug?

Because this one by Stella Forest is lovely.

another dress request

Dear East Side Bride, 

My best friend is coming to visit me in New York (from Glasgow) and I'm convinced he is the love of my life. 

In the last two years that I've known him, he's been my very best friend; he fell in love with me while living with his live in girlfriend and soon his feelings were reciprocated. After a messy night, he broke up with his girlfriend and he and I realized that this feeling we shared, regardless of how young we were, was something uncommon that was meant to be seized. 

I have since left England (after completing my BA at the school we both went to in London) and he has been kicking ass at his job in Glasgow. He is coming to visit in three week and I want to propose. Despite a history of disenchantment and cynicism, I know he is the man that I not only want to spend my life with, but is the only person I can see myself having children and growing old with

That being said, I think we will be having a city hall wedding in NYC (my hometown where I currently work) and I want a killer dress. I've never been much for ceremony but I want to look good at the casual event that will be our wedding date. I'm tall and a size 4 and love structural, unusual pieces and have about $800 to spend. Asking for help from you and your diligent readers in finding the perfect dress. You always seem spot on. 

Unexpected young bride



Right now you should be concentrating on having lots and lots of sex with this guy. Maybe dipping your toe into *living together.*

Marriage isn't going anywhere. Marriage will still be there in a year or two (or FOUR) if you still feel the same way.

Michelle Williams by Willy Vanderperre for AnOther Magazine Spring/Summer 2013 via Visual Optimism

Thursday, February 14, 2013

I didn't want to get out of bed this morning. And H got out of bed CRANKY. And I was ready to be all, fuck Valentine's day.

But then he made me my coffee and stirred the sugar in so thoroughly (like he always does) and heated the milk to just the right temperature and smiled at me and said "Good morning."

And that will do.

Photo by our own Peonies

Tacky or timeless?

Hello ESB,

I am "pre-engaged" (or whatever the hell you call having a wedding venue and date that is still under-wraps to most) and trying to figure out my ring.

I have just wanted diamond bands for a long time and recently had decided to have the diamonds from this ring of my grandmother's reset. 

I like the idea of having something sentimental, and am a huge fan of not spending our future on a piece of jewelry. Now I'm considering leaving it as is, but I'm struggling with whether it's awesome or a little tacky. It's from the 80's... Does it look like it?

I love the Kathryn Bentley organic oval ring you posted -- is this channeling that or just insulting it?

I would love an honest opinion.

Fucking over thinking things, as usual


First off, you are ENGAGED. You have a wedding venue and you've set a date and you're trying to figure out your ring? YOU ARE ENGAGED.

Re the ring: Yes, it looks like it's from the 80s. Which wouldn't matter if you looooooooved it, but you don't love it or else why would you be writing in with this question.

Get the stones reset.

(Dynasty Cast via Nick Verreos)

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Are you guys up for another shoe challenge?

(7 days ago)

Hey ESB,

I come to you with a conundrum. 

I have been unable to find decent looking low wedge or chunky heeled shoes. I say decent because, so far, I haven't even found decent options. I'm getting married in the great outdoors and need something that won't cause me to sink into the ground- so please no high heels. And I don't want to be towering over my groom, so no higher than three inches.  

Can you and your readers help me out?

Many thanks!

Here is my dress [pictured above], only imagine a pinkish color under the lace. 

I bought these shoes on a whim but I'm undecided.


(2 days ago)

Dear ESB, 

I emailed you last week when I at least had one potential option. Now anthropologie has emailed me to let me know the mini wedges aren't ever going to be available- and now I'm down to zero options.

Help me, ESB-kenobi, you're my only hope


I'm stumped.

ESB-kenobi fail :/

Black shoes shouldn't be hard, right?


I'm a grad student and a bridesmaid at an upcoming wedding (Iowa in March), and blah blah blah, I need low-to-flat black shoes that are under $30 and I could preferably wear again to work. The best I can find is target, payless, or Forever 21 (this or this?).

The wedding has an old Hollywood glamour sort of feel, and the dress is simple, black, and plain. I'm not generally a stylish person (did I mention I was an engineering grad student?), so I was hoping that you or your stylish readers could help me?! I generally struggle with which t-shirt has the least holes, but aspire to more eventually.



First off, please please PLEASE invest in a pair of shoes that costs more than $30. Shoes made of real leather, not "faux suede" or "faux patent leather" (What does that even mean? They're not patented??) or "thermoplastic rubber." With my apologies to the vegans. I mean, if you're vegan I guess those rubber ones wouldn't be the worst.

A good pair of shoes, say an $80 pair of shoes, or even a $120 pair, will last you four times as long as the $30 ones. Longer even, if you take good care of them and reheel them when they start to wear down. And they will be comfortable, and your feet won't get all sweaty and gross, and you won't get blisters while you're dancing at that wedding or tromping around at work.

Again, my apologies to the vegans. I don't know how you do it.

Anyhoo, dear reader, I'd go with something uber-simple like these Seychelles.

(Which you could even rock with a holey t-shirt. Who's got two thumbs and loves a t-shirt full of holes? This blogger.)

$59 down from $108 on Gilt for two more days

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

for the vegan on a budget

I can't attest to the quality of these, but I think they're pretty cute.

Python pointy ankle-straps, $60 at Pixie Market

Monday, February 11, 2013

Duties for Bridesmaids?


So it would be hella helpful if you put together a list of duties for bridesmaids that I can use as a checklist for when I think hey, I think the current Bride in my life has some reasonable/unreasonable/crazy expectations of me

Every time I've been a bridesmaid there hasn't been a MOH. So what things am I meant to do? The current one won't tell me what she wants, I'm meant to know.

thank you wise one.


No prob.

Here's my extra special super duper list of bridesmaids duties:

1. Throw a bachelorette party (or make sure someone else does)

2. Show up at the wedding. Possibly in a dress of some kind.

Emily Senko by Alice Rosati for All Magazine via Emma Robertson

you just have to let the fuck go sometimes

I've been very methodical about when I was going to finally write in with the update of our wedding. Truthfully I had to police myself and promise that I would only write in after I was able to process and package this whole thing (cause truth be told I was not ready for the quicksand of doubt and guilt that followed our wedding...)

And not a shred of guilt about marring my husband - thank God I was able to get someone who can be my true foil- but the crazy grey area few talk about, where you realize that you could start to question why and what you did, what you missed and how quickly the whole fucking thing happens! What I can say- now that I have worked through this is that you should really allow yourself to be honest- indulge in small measures in the things that you can do and have this whole process be a lesson that you just have to let the fuck go sometimes. Cause the scary truth is that there is some serious and character building work after you get married (which is why I feel it's sound advice to allow yourself controlled "indulgences"- save for the future but if you want to rock an awesome frock and have everyone drink beer- I promise all will be happy- or if you have a chance to get away for your honeymoon- do it! Celebrate the shit out of it cause it's a big deal- then come back to reality with some cushion because you didn't go crazeballs spending cause you as a pair looked ahead!)

I do want to thank you ESB and your community of readers - your blog was a critical manner in which I kept my cool and was constantly inspired and reminded that there is equal measure of beautiful things and tough love and if you could balance both you could come out the other end not a totally insipid bride/wife/human being.

And no update would be complete without a quick rundown - ended up having a custom made dress (awesome decision that ended up cheaper than most of stuff I tried on in stores), got married in Miami at not-for-profit rowing club, Ronald Shane Center (super affordable space in Miami Beach) that allowed outside catering (who was a family friend that Rocked it). But most importantly I was introduced to Alicia, our photographer who single handedly was able to cure aforementioned funk as soon as I finally got her images. There is a certain magic to being able to find someone who captures moments so honestly. As a artist myself, who also take photos, I knew I wanted someone who would be able to approach capturing our day in this manner and I just was blessed to be connected with her. 

Again- thank you for having this place we can gather our thoughts and create a community- it helped me through the highs and lows that last year brought. As was the first time I wrote in, this was such an indulgence and again am grateful for this forum in which to share my thoughts!

Much love,
Mrs. Jackie Kerouac

I guess I can't hate on balloons anymore.


♥ ♥ ♥

(Photos by Alicia Osborne)

Friday, February 8, 2013


via erin

Desperately Seeking Sonia Rykiel

Hey ESB!

So my friend is getting married and she has asked me to help her find a white dress or suit for her civil union. I've been looking all over the internet and have not found anything in her price range, style and size! 

She is a size 10, but in euro sizes more of a 14. Her budget is $500-$1000, so we've got plenty to work with. You and your readers always seem to find the perfect thing, so I figured I'd ask for your help :) 

[Pictured above] is a photo of a dress that she wants, but is unfortunately sold out.

Thank you thank you thank you!


Didn't find your dress, but I did find this Sonia Rykel Asymmetrical Jumpsuit which I will be needing for that fashion-y casting gig I'm doing again this spring. 

Can anyone find me one for, like, less than $300?


Thursday, February 7, 2013

simple greens + medical bottles

Def has a Sunday Suppers vibe, no?

I'm way into it.

We Love Pictures via Miss Moss (click through to see tons more fucking great photos + a DONKEY)

Seeking: LA restaurant to get married in

Dear ESB:

We've been engaged for 10 months. During that time my fiance has lost his job, relocated to LA for work, I quit my job, packed up our crap and moved myself and our two cats from Chicago to LA to join him and now I'm studying for the bar exam.

I'm ready to just marry the guy, but with his lay-off earlier this year and my "studying housewife" status, I can't stomach the idea of spending a lot on a wedding.

From my research, LA weddings are $$$. I'd like to forgo the traditional ceremony/cocktail hour/reception/first dance/dj/bouquet toss/etc. and instead have a small wedding at an LA restaurant with some DANK food and then whoever wants can hit the town after dinner. My guest count can be limited to 30 people [if necessary], but I really want to keep it under $10,000.

Any suggestions for restaurants in the LA area?

I am eternally grateful!


I'm throwing this one out to you guys…. I have not a clue.

p.s. wtf is DANK food? sounds nasty.

Some Pig by Donna McKenzie on etsy

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

My sister is a special snowflake

Dear ESB,

My two-years younger sister, who is also my Maid of Honor, is a special, slightly psychotic, snowflake. She got married, years ago, and I was by her side as her MOH for her big day, and did all of the stuff that goes along with that title. That marriage ended, and about a year later she got married again (to a guy I had never met). Once again, I put on my big girl pants and did the MOH thing, including flying to the other side of the country with 2 months notice to throw her a bachelorette party and watch her get married all over again. One year later (fall of 2012) she was divorced again. I was there for her from courtship to demise in both instances.

Currently, I am preparing to get married in July (and have been engaged for about 2 years). My sister is my MOH (I didn't consider anyone else, as I have only one sister and my family would FREAK if she weren't IT) and she has been absent. To say she doesn't give a sh*t about any of it would be an understatement; she hasn't asked about the wedding in months. 

She, of course, has a new serious boyfriend whom she wants to bring to the wedding, and I told her no. Not only do we not have enough room, but I really don't want this guy (whom I've never met) at my wedding. My entire family will, of course, be present and I know that if she brings this new guy, so soon after her second divorce, the family will spend the entire night whispering about THAT. She told me that if she's traveling all the way to my wedding (which is taking place in the city where I currently live, in another state a fair distance from hometown where she still resides) she thinks she should get to bring him. At which point I told her that if she doesn't want to come without a date, then she shouldn't come.

We are barely on speaking terms, now, but she's still planning on coming and says "it's no big deal" about new boyfriend, but I know better. I also know you're always telling brides to invite only who they want there and not to care about the rest of it, but I'm having a really hard time NOT freaking out about my sister throwing a hissy fit at my wedding because she doesn't have a date.

Scared of my sister


You know your sister is flaky, but you ask her to be your maid of honor ANYWAY, and then you get all pissy when she acts like a flake?

If you don't let her bring a date, your whole family will feel sorry for her and whisper "Poor thing, she's already been divorced twice." What do you want them to talk about? YOU and how gorgeous you look in your dress? That takes FIVE SECONDS.

Blame Spring 2013 via Fashion Gone Rogue

why not start your day with an illegal gay wedding?

just wanted to say thanks for all the frank talk. ESB really helped me keep perspective while we did our planning, and we wound up with an awesome day.

because it doesn't have to be so LOADED, lady.

Okay you know I don't really approve of two wedding dresses, but DAMN.


(Photos by The Life You Love. Check out more photos of Molly and Tracy plus gorg details &c. over here.)