Classic and Modern Dresses: Accessories for Any Style

Martha Stewart Weddings, Summer 1999

As with any ensemble, accessories can build on a style or steer the look in another direction. Bold jewelry, like a triple strand of oversize pearls or long drop earrings, high-heeled sandals, a bouquet of garden flowers, an airy flyaway veil, or a simple trail of tulle attached without a headpiece will give a contemporary spin to a traditional gown. Making a modern gown more romantic may be as simple as wearing a delicate strand of pearls or an heirloom necklace, small diamond studs, classic pumps, a waterfall bouquet, or a long, lace-edged veil. "All brides love tradition," says Suzanne Newman, owner of Suzanne Millinery in New York City. "A bride may say she wants a little headpiece and no veil, but once I put a layer of tulle around her face, it takes her breath away."

Which is just as it should be. After all, whether a bride is modern or traditional, informal or rather formal, on her wedding day she should be at her most comfortable and her most beautiful.

Modern Sheath, Classic Train
From the front, this gown (above) appears to be a straight, simple dress; with a fantastic trailing tulle veil and long satin train, it becomes utterly timeless.

Classic Trim, Modern Silhouette
Ornate beadwork is the hallmark of the most traditional gown. When just a bit of beadwork embellishes a pared-down dress, the effect is much more modern.

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