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how to shop for evening wear

How to Shop for Evening Wear

As the holidays approach, the party invitations start to accumulate. There’s the office party, the charity gala, the winter formal, a New Year’s Eve party, and even a winter wedding. Trying to find the right dress for each event can be overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. Knowing how to shop for evening wear before you start shopping can take some confusion out of the process, making it a lot more enjoyable. After all, who doesn’t like trying on gorgeous, sparkling dresses?

how to shop for evening wearWhat’s In a Name?

Special occasions don many different names – ball, gala, formal, holiday party, black-tie event – and usually are accompanied by equally varied dress codes. These dress codes include: holiday attire, cocktail, formal, semi-formal, formal, black-tie optional and black tie. Knowing which dress code applies to your specific event goes a long way in helping you find the right dress.

Holiday and Cocktail Attire: For men, a nice jacket with tie or suit is sufficient. If the event is holiday-related, the guys can add a holiday-themed tie or choose to wear a shirt in that holiday’s colors. For women, cocktail attire is defined as a short dress, dressy skirt with top, or dressy pants and top. Holiday attire is the same but with a twist; add sparkle and holiday colors such as a red satin skirt with a silver sequin top.

Semi-Formal and Formal: These both have the same dress code. Men should wear a suit or go with a tie and dinner jacket, while women should wear a knee-length cocktail dress, a little black dress, or a dressy skirt and top.

Black tie: The most formal dress code, men always should wear a tuxedo. Women should choose a formal, floor-length dress or a dressy cocktail dress. If the event is a wedding, avoid light colors such as ivory and white as well as light-colored lace.

how to shop for evening wearPlanning Ahead

When buying evening wear, give yourself as long as possible to make your purchase. Unless the sample dress is your size AND for sale, most evening wear dresses must be ordered. If the designer has the dress in stock, expect the dress to arrive in-store in approximately two to three weeks. If it’s not in stock, dress orders can take up to 14 to 16 weeks to arrive, depending on the designer and arrival of shipments. Also, include time for any necessary alterations, as well as time to shop for shoes, accessories and jewelry.

Men also should shop as soon as possible for a special occasion. Whether renting or purchasing a tuxedo or suit for the event, the guys will find a great selection at budget-friendly prices. Don’t be afraid to talk with the sales staff to help you find the best look for the occasion.

Attending special occasions during the holiday season is part of the fun and enjoyment to be had during this time of year. Don’t let shopping for the right evening wear dampen your spirit; by following these tips on how to shop for evening wear, you’re sure to find the exact look you want to wear to celebrate.




#Say Yes: Atlanta for #SOARD

As you know from previous posts, Bridals by Lori is no stranger to philanthropy. In continuing with our commitment to Sunshine on a Ranney Day (SOARD), the Bridals by Lori staff got “down and dirty” to construct a princess-themed room for four-year old Peyton, who is battling Stage- 4 Leukemia. The process took several weeks of planning and countless hours  of construction, but the results were rewarding.

Peyton was very sweet and grateful that the Say Yes crew were able to aid in creating a comfortable space for her to play and relax. The room was complete with a dress-up station, a princess tiara over her bed, and custom princess sketches created by designer Lazaro!

A special thanks to Sunshine on a Ranney Day and Mohawk Flooring for making this possible. SOARD is a non-profit organization that works to create dream rooms & home makeovers for children with long-term illnesses.

Check out the gallery outlining our experience:

  • Peyton was thrilled to be in her new room!



BBL: 2015 Wedding Recap!!

At Bridals by Lori, we play a huge role in preparing our clients for the “Big Day.” We not only help brides and grooms find their wedding dresses/ tux, but we assist the entire wedding party in looking and feeling great for the wedding. Often times, the wedding party will send us pictures to show their appreciation for our assistance. We take great pride in helping them through this process, so it is amazing to see their vision come to reality on this special day. Here is a recap of some of the weddings that have taken place this year. All of our brides and grooms look amazing and we are indeed proud. Enjoy!




Now it’s your chance to get up close and personal with Lori Allen. Watch Lori answer your questions on EVERYTHING from fashion advice and the bridal industry to the latest trends and everyday tips. Just email your questions to [email protected] with the hashtag #AMA (Ask me anything) in the subject line. Lori’s answers  to your questions will be posted on You Tube!

Below are a few of the most frequently asked questions to date:

  • Is it important for brides to wear a veil?
  • Is it acceptable for a bride to wear a color other than white?
  • What styles do you suggest for busty brides?
  • Who was on your best-dressed list for the 2015 Emmy Awards?
  • Which celebrity couple had the best wedding this year?
  • How long did it take to start Bridals by Lori?
  • What are your favorite products in your makeup bag?

As you can see, NOTHING is off limits! Start emailing your questions now!


Mother of the Bride/Groom Blowout Sale

Bridals by Lori is hosting a blowout sale for Mother of the Bride or Mother of the Groom all September! This sale offers some the most exclusive special occasion gowns, including designers: Montage by Mon Cheri, Vm by Mori Lee, Jovani, Ivonne D, Kay Unger and many more. Check out the gallery for a look at some of the samples offered here in the store. For further details, call or stop by the Bridesmaids Department. 404.252.8767 Ext. 192



Mother of the Bride-Designers- Bridals by Lori


Co-Ed Formals: Inside the Black Tie Department

Black Tie by Lori is one of the many departments that outline our full service bridal boutique. At Black Tie by Lori we carry the largest selection of men’s formal wear tuxedos  for rent and purchase in the southeast. This includes tuxedos, suits, shirts, vest, ties, and other formal wear accessories. In addition, Black Tie by Lori offers the most exclusive prom/ pageant/ and homecoming dresses in the Atlanta area.

Our highly trained consultants and sales associates can help educate you in everything there is to know about men’s formal wear and special occasion dresses so you are sure to look stylish and appropriate. So here is an in-depth look into the black tie department, including a few of your questions answered by the consultants.


Production:  Men’s Formals


What does it mean for an event to be “black tie?

A: Black Tie is a dress code of formal wear for evening events and social functions. This dress code is usually worn to events after 6 pm and the events range from galas and dinner parties to fundraisers and of course, weddings!

Who normally picks out the tuxedos? The bride/groom? 

A: It’s really 50/50. Sometimes brides have a vision that they will communicate to the groom and he will then start shopping within those guidelines. Other times, the groom is not involved as much…. he just comes to get fitted and follows her lead. We also have guys that may have seen a certain look on TV or in magazines and wants to re-create it. So everyone is different.

Is it important for the tuxes to match the bridesmaid dresses?

A: Traditionally speaking, yes. However, things have moved away from just the traditional standards, so you really don’t need to match unless it’s important to you. There are no rules now. Anything is fair game. 

Which brands do we carry in-store?

A: We currently have Ike Bahar, Michael Kors, and Hugo Boss( retail only).

Examples below: 

DSCN5605 Ike BaharDSCN5600 Michael Kors

Any color or style recommendations for Fall?

A: I would say ‘dress for the season.’ In the Fall:  Navy/ Black or the Classic Black/ White. I would choose the vest instead of the cummerbund. The weather is cooler so the groom/groomsmen can layer their clothing a bit more.  

What about for Spring?

A: We can start experimenting with color a little more in the Spring. The Ivory Shawl and Tan Havana are excellent choices. With the warmer weather, a cummerbund is a better fit– It allows for more movement. The pleated shirts match nicely with the cummerbund as well. I would pair our gray Michael Kors tux with the pale pinks or other shades of grays/pewter or I would choose the tan havana with pastels and corals. The tan havana is also great for destination weddings (example below) 


Is it better to rent or purchase?

A: If you attend more than one black tie event a year, I recommend that you purchase a tux……So it depends on your social calendar. In fact, we have a promotional deal that allows customers to get the cost of the rental subtracted from the purchase price of the tux, if the customer rents a tux more than once in a 6- month period.  

Other promos** If the bride purchases her wedding gown from Bridals by Lori, her groom gets (a) free rental OR (b) $200 credit for the purchase of a tuxedo (any brand)***

Do we carry style options for children?

A: Yes, we do. For infants, we choose the “Peanut Butter” collection. This is usually standard for any child under 4 years old. If the child is age four or older, then they can choose a better fit with one of our rentals. 

How far in advance should a groom and his groomsmen start shopping for tuxedos?

A: The sooner, the better! The bride and groom can decide on their vision for the wedding and as she is purchasing her dress, the groom can start creating the look for he and his groomsmen. 

What is the ordering process for rentals?

A: Our policy requires a $50.00 deposit on rentals. This secures the order and sends it into production. Customers can pay online or in-store. The rental must be paid in full before it can leave the store. 

Do you have any advice for prospective customers?.. Any misconceptions about shopping for tuxedos?

A: Most of our customers assume that rentals have a tailored fit–they do not. It is not a custom piece. The only areas that are adjustable are the sleeves and pants (hem.) The chest and shoulders are not altered to fit your body. If you are looking for a tailored fit, then you must purchase a tux for that look. ….(Monte modeling  a tailored tux below)


Favorite part of this job?

A: I love being apart of their special day and watching everything come together. Working in black tie is quite different from the rest of the store because it allows the groom to have his special moment. So I’m happy to be apart of that. 

Fun Fact**

A: I make modern, pop-art jewelry for fun! My pieces are made of recycled beads and material. I really enjoy doing that in my spare time. 




Consultant: Prom- Pageant- Homecoming


Which designers are actively carried in-store? 

T: Right now we have Jovani, Sherri Hill, and La Femme. 

What are the major differences with each designer?

T: Well, Jovani is sleek, sexy, and sultry. If you want to make a statement or have a grand entrance, Jovani is your designer. Sherri Hill is fun and youthful! They offer high quality bead work, the styles are trendy, and it is age appropriate to cover a wide range of events. La Femme is simple and elegant. You won’t see the elaborate bead work, like a Sherri Hill. Nor is it over the top like Jovani. It’s more of our middle ground line. Just very chic and elegant. 

Examples of Jovani dresses we carry in-store: 

DSCN5648Tiffany’s fav!       DSCN5666

Typically, how are the three events categorized in seasons? (Prom, pageant, and homecoming) 

T: Pageant dresses sell year-round. There isn’t really a season for that because they vary in time. Prom season is in the Spring when it’s warmer. Homecoming typically is in the Fall. 

What’s your favorite trend? 

T: Well, I actually have two (laughs**) so, I’ll show you both of them! The first one is the Jovani lace– you guys know by now I love Jovani! This dress is so intricate, it’s classy, and timeless. It’s definitely a statement piece. 

The second is the Sherri Hill high neck. This look is trending everywhere right now. The dress is fitted and has an overall high quality style. 

Examples of both: 

DSCN5630 Jovani Lace             DSCN5643Sherri Hill 

How soon should customers start shopping?

T: For Homecoming, you should start shopping in the summer. We usually have a lot of the newer styles by that time. For prom, start as soon as possible! Prom season is busy!! Usually, teenagers will start shopping the day after Christmas for prom. They’ll come in with Christmas money and it gets hectic! …again, pageant is year-round. Also, we have so many unique gowns that it doesn’t require you to shop at a certain time. Come in anytime and I’m certain we’ll have what you’re looking for. 

Do we have a system that keeps records of purchases? Will any two girls mistakenly purchase the same dress? 

T: We do keep a record of who-buys-what. It is categorized by schools. We are very careful in guiding the girls into finding what they want for the event. It’s very rare that two girls will end up with the same dress. That’s also why we buy such unique pieces to avoid those mishaps. 

Are we able to order a style if we do not have the sample in-store?

T: ONLY if it is available! It’s not a problem for us to order it, but it has to be available to order– which can be tough with certain styles. We require a non-refundable 60% deposit to order samples that are not carried in the store. 

Do you have any Advice? Tips?  Misconceptions for prospective customers?

T: Be open-minded!! 9 times out of 10, most girls buy what they least expect. So you have to be willing to try something different. That’s the only way to know if you really like it. 

What’s your favorite part about working in this department?

T: I love making a difference. Girls come in here frazzled, sad, and exhausted from shopping. So it’s my job to step in and make it easy and fabulous! We have accessories in addition to dresses, so let us help to create the full package. 


Fun Fact***

T: Well, I’m newly engaged! So after 5 years in this industry, it’s a different perspective being on the other side of things. Now I’m the one choosing venues, colors, and details. (Yikes!) I have these high expectations to be different and unique. The pressure is  definitely on!





2015 SOARD GALA: Sunshine on a Ranney Day

Recently, Lori Allen attended the  2015 Sunshine on a Ranney Day Gala. Sunshine on a Ranney Day (SOARD) “is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit approved organization based in Atlanta, Georgia that creates dream room & home makeovers for children with long-term illnesses.” It was founded in 2012 by Peter and Holly Ranney, who were adamant in creating a foundation that would allow children to have their own space to be comfortable, free, and imaginative.

Lori believes in the mission this organization represents because it asserts hope and courage in such a critical stage of the child’s life.  Events such as this gala is needed to generate support– as the organization relies 100% on donations. Community involvement is one of the best ways to stay connected to social issues and create a positive impact. When asked why she chose this particular organization to support, Lori replied, “SOARD has a done an amazing job to build self-esteem and confidence in these children. To see active participants in the community brings such gratitude and humility and I’m proud to support a organization  such as this.”

Check out the gallery below to see snapshots from the event held on September 12th, 2015 and former projects designed by the members of SOARD.  If you wish to get involved, go to for volunteer and partnership opportunities.

  • Stacy Halstead, Lori Allen, and Mollie Allen at the 2015 Sunshine on a Ranney Day Gala.





Sherri Hill: Limited styles & designs exclusively at Bridals by Lori

Bridals by Lori is getting a head start for next season. Currently, we are featuring Sherri Hill. These designs “epitomize the fashionable lifestyle of today’s contemporary women. Each look is designed to enhance and fit the female form with fashion-forward styling and wear-ability.” We have some exclusive dresses fit for any special occasion, from prom and homecoming to winter formals. These dresses are ready-wear straight from the runway! Check out Black Tie by Lori for a closer look at our new collection! Don’t miss out…

  • Sherri Hill


Lori and Monte have been so busy this season!! In addition to filming Season 9 (which we’re all excited about, right?), they have a list of events to host, places to go, and even more people to see. Recently they hosted an event sponsored by TLC–Discovery, titled “Say Yes to the Prom.” It is an annual TLC initiative, created to build courage and self-esteem among young women.You may have seen Monte traveling the country as a host for the event. If not, don’t worry …we’ll catch you up to speed with video coverage of some of the activities.

The event was held at America’s Mart in Atlanta, Georgia during prom market. Take a look at some exclusive footage of the event. Also, don’t forget to check back with us during prom season. We will have some of the newest styles available on the market! Stay tuned guys!!

  • Georgetown Cupcake did an excellent job with the dessert table!


Bridals by Lori Goes to Market: New Season, New Dresses!!

Bridals by Lori has a reputation for having the latest and most exclusive styles in the bridal industry. However as a full service bridal salon,  it is important to extend that image in every department of our store, i.e. Bridesmaids, Special Occasion, Black Tie, etc. This season, many of our designers are introducing a new line in the Special Occasions department.  Special Occasion dresses encompass unique style and intricate bead work that allows for sophistication and chicness at any formal event. The dresses are timeless and come in an amazing selection of colors, sizes, and brands. Managers Krystle and Ashlen were there to see the exclusive styles and hand-pick several from each collection.  Take a look at what goes on behind the scenes at Atlanta Market!

First up: Kay Unger

Representing clothing for a wide range of special occasions, each collection includes glamorous evening wear, bold cocktail creations, and even demure day dresses, all of which are fashioned with luxury fabrications that include exquisite detailing, signature fabric combinations, and original artistic prints.

  • Kay Unger


Mon Cheri: Montage, Ivonne D, Cameron Blake, Social Occasions 

Designed with the sophisticated, fashion-forward client in mind. With a wide selection of full-length and tea-length dress suits, elegant ball gowns and chic formal dress sets in silk chiffon, silky crepe, taffeta, lace, shantung, satin and organza, Mon Cheri provides styles for both informal and formal affairs.

  • Mon Cheri


Teri Jon 

This line includes distinctive style, excellent quality and unequaled craftsmanship, all combined with genuine value. The finest fabrics in the wildest spectrum of colors with extraordinary detail and embellishment to create beautiful and distinctly feminine silhouettes.

  • Teri Jon


Adrianna Papell 

This brand offers an exquisite sense of style, quality craftsmanship, and superlative fit. Adrianna Papell breaks age barriers creating a style of elegance and flair for ALL women. They model their clothes for the “everyday women” appeal—transitioning from one event to the next.


  • Adrianna Papell


Rina diMontella

The design sense of this brand commands a sophisticated look with an acute sense of taste for elegance and glamour. They featured streamlined silhouettes in luxurious fabrications with elaborate beading and embroidery. The gowns are at the front line of special occasion with emphasis on high fashion. 

  • Rina diMontella


VM by Mori Lee

A brand embodies the 3 C’s of fashion: Contemporary, Confidence, and Couture. It captures a timelessly elegant and sophisticated look. The result is a series of figure-flattering evening gowns that are at once sexy and reserved, classy and daring, shockingly simple and attention getting.

  • VM by Mori Lee