Picking out a bridal dress – while every girl’s dream – can be a stress-filled time. After all, it is THE big day and every bride wants to look fabulous. But for the bridesmaid, dresses can be nothing but fun.

The Art Institutes most recent Passion for Fashion Competition grand prize winners, Graehme Field of Tiverton, Rhode Island, winner in the Fashion Design category, and Nash Gilley of Des Moines, Iowa, winner in the Fashion Marketing and Merchandising and Retail Management category, both received a full-tuition scholarship for their design and marketing know-how. And as you might expect, they have pretty definite ideas about what makes a great dressy dress, whether it’s for a wedding, a prom, or just a special night out.

For aspiring fashion designer Field, spring bridal dresses are all about color. “Stay away from maroon, dark blue or black,” he says. “Dark colors should only be worn in the winter. In the warmer weather, you want a color that says lightness, freshness and natural beauty.”

Field, who will attend The Art Institute of New York City in the fall, says when choosing a bridal gown, a prom dress or just a special occasion outfit, be careful with the fit. “Just because designers are marketing sack dresses doesn’t mean it’s the right look for you,” he says. If you’re buying “off the rack,” he recommends tailoring for a perfect fit. When shopping for bridal gowns, look for styles that flatter most shapes such as an empire waist, and keep comfort in mind for dancing.

As for accessories, always invest in quality, suggests Field. Even though you think you may only wear the shoes once with the gown or dress, consider buying a classic style that will inject the whole outfit with a modern, fresh look, like a classic red pump.

For the aspiring fashion marketing executive Gilley, nothing beats the pomp of a wedding or a prom. “I love everything about dress shopping,” says Gilley, who will attend The Illinois Institute of Art – Chicago in the fall. She recommends scouring local stores for beautiful, unique dresses that are very well-made. For a small wedding party, these shops usually carry enough of the same dresses to accommodate everyone. If you have a larger wedding party, Gilley, recommends the Internet as a great source for beautiful dresses.

What are some of her favorite looks for hair and make-up, the finishing touch of a great bridal or prom look?

“Up-do’s are always cool. You can go funky or keep it classic, but I love going to have my hair done for a special occasion,” says Gilley. “I like hair up rather than down for dress up occasions. I match my eyes to my dress and keep the rest simple, usually a neutral gloss over foundation for my lips.”

The Art Institutes Passion for Fashion Competition is open to high school seniors across the U.S. and Canada. The grand prize in both Fashion Design and Fashion Marketing and Merchandising and Retail Management is a full-tuition scholarship to study at The Art Institutes.

For more information on The Art Institutes Passion for Fashion Competition, visit www.artinstitutes.edu/passionforfashion.The Art Institutes (www.artinstitutes.edu) with 34 education institutions located throughout North America provides an important source of design, media arts, fashion and culinary arts professionals.

Courtesy of ARAcontent

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