Solutions Bridal stylist, Ana Oliveira, sat down to interview bridal stylist and salon coordinator, Jamie O’Neill, about her personal life, career, her attendance at Bridal Fashion Week, and more. Jamie answers questions from our Facebook live audience, too, sharing her favorite celebrity wedding gown along with how she personalizes her wardrobe for work! If you want to find out more about Jamie and the bridal industry, keep reading!
Q&A with Jamie:
Where are you from?
I am from Orlando; my family is from South Jersey.
How would you describe your personal style?
I really dress the same inside and outside of work—a lot of black. I’m not big into color. I try to blend in with the crowd, rather than stand out so I do wear a lot of black and neutral tones. I love Zara, wide-leg pants, and typically fitted clothing.
What can you not live without?
There’s a lot of things. I can’t leave my house without my blush; otherwise I’m really fair. I wear blush every single day and I wear a lot of it. And I drink a lot of water; I always have a water bottle with me everywhere I go.
What is your role at Solutions Bridal?
This is my fourth year at Solutions Bridal, so my role has stayed consistent but just added things to it. I am our salon coordinator, blogger, and I also do some styling, so I do quite a few things here. With being a salon coordinator, I book appointments, help Tali and the managers, and I do day-to-day tasks—things that clients don’t see. And with styling, I help brides on the floor with accessories, whether it’s a gown or jewelry. And with blogging, I do our blog and post to Facebook and such. So, every day is different.
What inspired you to work in the bridal fashion industry?
I was actually recruited when I was eighteen years old. I was really terrified at first just because I didn’t know anything about wedding gowns. The only thing I knew, which was a year after Kate Middleton was married, was a little bit about her gown. I wasn’t really into the whole “Say Yes to the Dress” thing. It was very new, but as I’ve grown I’ve just grown to love it, and I couldn’t see myself doing anything else right now.
How would you describe your dream dress?
I don’t know. I feel like when I get married it may change, but right now I love either straight across necklines or plunging necklines. So, I’ll want one of those. I’m not really big into lace, so probably something a little bit more fabric-based, and like a fit and flair.
Ana Asks: Any beading?
No, I’m not really into the beading. Maybe on the veil; I think beaded veils are really beautiful, but I’m not a shiny person.
Ana Asks: Would you wear a veil?
Yes, I love veils.
If you could go back to the past, what would you say to your 16-year-old self?
I would tell myself to remember that everything is just in the moment, that every day is different and to not get so caught up in the little things just because everything will be in retrospect at some point—you’ll just look back. So I guess I tell myself to calm down and not worry about the small things.
What do you think makes one designer stand out from the next?
In bridal there are so many bridal designers, so I think specifically the designers we carry are different because of the fabrics they use as well as their fit and construction—so I think, even from the designers we carry versus other designers, what separates us and our gowns and designers is the fit. They’re really light, they show off all your curves, but they don’t cover them. They’re not heavy; they’re very light, so I think that’s at the end of the day what makes them different.
Is there one specific moment from a bridal styling appointment that stands out to you and why?
Yes. So there is one of my brides, I won’t mention her name, but I always remember her and her experience with myself in the store. She came in with her fiancée a year before, tried on a few gowns, and then we didn’t hear from her for a while. I followed up with her, checking in, making sure she had her gown. And when she came back she just had some personal stuff going on. One day she e-mailed me out of the blue and said, “I’m ready to find my gown.” So after a year of touching base with her, making sure everything was going smoothly, she went through some stuff, I was able to help her find her gown. It’s just so important to stay in contact with people and help them because at the end of the day they always will need a dress and we want to have a relationship with them. She looked beautiful on her wedding day!
What has been your favorite experience at Bridal Fashion Week?
Oh my gosh there’s been so many! I don’t know, every time just feels brand new and it’s hard to get jaded just because it’s a really cool experience and I wish that I could take my friends and family, but I can’t! I worked with Maria Elena twice, and I’ve also worked with Rita Vinieris, the designer, Rivini and their team from backstage for the fashion show, which was really unique. It’s just a lot of experience and seeing stores and Monte from “Say Yes to the Dress,” who’s really cool. I don’t know. I think working with Maria Elena and that team was really fun.
Who do you admire in the bridal industry?
I think I have to admire the designers themselves. Designers are constantly putting new trends out there and having to possibly put something out there that’s never been done before and people might criticize it but at the end of the day it’s still their hard work.
What are the best bridal fashion trends you have seen in your career thus far?
I guess the first one would be color. When I started four years ago, I think color was just being introduced. At first I didn’t know how I felt about it but after seeing it done in different ways I really love the color option. For someone that’s very fair-skinned, the blush tone works really well. There’s cafe, blush, and even blue wedding gowns. I think it works for everyone. There are different options if a sample is in blush tones there are options for the gown to be ordered in ivory, so I think color is a really big trend. I love the detachable capes and body veils. I think those are so unique just because not everyone wants to wear a veil, but it’s like an additional statement piece.
How would you describe the style of Solutions Bridal?
Our style, I would say, is very timeless-chic with edge. The gowns we carry are timeless just because our designers do use one-of-a-kind fabrics from Europe. There are timeless pieces but I think we do have some gowns that do have an edge; or even if it is timeless, we’ll have a little edge to it. It may have a lace scalloping at the bottom or a different neckline. Even if it’s a classic gown it may have edge to it.
How should a bride prepare for her bridal appointment?
I think she should pick the most important people, whether if that be mom, grandma, best friend, co-worker, or if she thinks that she wants to be shopping by herself, I think that’s really important, too. She should know if she wants to bring people or if she wants to shop alone. She also should look on Instagram. Some people aren’t big on social media, but you can go to Pinterest and look at some different styles; as well as look in your closet and see what you typically wear. If you are a boho bride or shop at Urban Outfitters or if you shop at Lilly Pulitzer, there are two very different brides, so I think it’s really important to again make your personal style just because that will translate into bridal.
If you could change one thing about our industry what would it be?
I would say the way that people shop, just because I think with shows, people think that they need to shop at every store before they make a decision. With bridal, it’s not really about that. It’s more about the experience that you receive and the company that you’re with. If you are in something that you love, and you’re with the people that you love, you should definitely take that moment to say yes to your gown no matter if it is the first dress at the first store just because you’ll always remember that moment. As well as your friends and family will always remember that moment—that’s the one thing I would change.
Ana Asks: What has been your most embarrassing moment at Solutions Bridal?
Anybody who knows me knows I do something really embarrassing everyday—at least three embarrassing things a day! So, it’s hard to choose one, but I was helping a bride get a dress off the rack, it’s a strapless dress, and the straps on the hanger came flying off. The dress went flying one way, and the hanger came flying at me and stabbed me in the eye, and then hit me in the nose. I also managed to drop the dress all at the same time. And the client was looking at me. That was probably my most embarrassing moment.
Questions from Facebook post
Rosa asks: What kind of dress do you see yourself getting married in?
Ana asked me this a little bit earlier, but I really love plunging necklines or something strapless. I like to have a good time and party, so I could never wear something off the shoulder just because of the whole moving thing. So either one of those necklines and something fitted; I like to show my hips.
Rosa asks: Do you have a favorite celebrity wedding gown?
Yes. I love Carolyn Bessette-Kennedy. She’s my all-time fashion, wedding, everyday icon. I love the way she dresses; she’s super chic. She wore gloves, and it was more of like a chic dress, but it was really pretty.
How do you personalize your work wardrobe since you wear black everyday?
Playing with different textures in the wintertime. So, I’ll usually wear black leather leggings with a sweater or something. But in the summertime, I try to dress cool. I love pants; I wear pants all the time, almost every day. I have different pants and regular t-shirts or a blazer. I like to layer a lot.
What is your funniest moment at Solutions Bridal so far?
I don’t know. I feel like we’re just always laughing. So, Newell was in the store one day and we were doing this hula-hoop thing, and I was in this gown that had a really high slit—like really high. Newell’s a male, so I was trying, while hula-hooping, to be conservative and we were trying to get it over our head or something; so I’m holding the slit down one way and trying to get it over my head another way. He didn’t realize that there was a slit in it so I’m trying to hold my dress down with my hand and Newell asks me if I could stop moving and I said no! I think that’s probably one of my other embarrassing/funny stories.
What’s your most memorable engagement story?
We typically will work with brides after they are engaged, so it’s more so hearing about them. And I always love the stories of just the couple at home cooking dinner and he just gets down on one knee and asks. So nothing too over the top; I think those are really sweet and in the moment. And then the ones that are elaborate are really really nice. So, we hear them all time. But I do really admire the male and female who proposes, if they just do it while making dinner at the house just hanging out. I think those are really sweet.
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