Interview with a Solutions Bridal Stylist
Solutions Bridal stylist, Ana Oliveira, sat down to interview bridal stylist, Daphne Durmaz, about what inspired her to work in the bridal fashion industry, her experience as a stylist, bridal trends, advice, and more. In Daphne’s interview, she gives insight into the daily life of a bridal stylist, shares her morning routine, and answers questions from our Facebook live audience. Keep reading to get the scoop on a Solutions Bridal expert stylist!
Q&A with Daphne:
What inspired you to work in the bridal fashion industry?
I’ve always had an interest in fashion. Not everyone knows this about me, but I used to make my own dresses when I was in high school and I used to wear them to school. I always had a love for dressmaking, and when I was in college I worked a lot in the wedding industry. I worked with a wedding planner and I worked with a florist in my spare time because I loved it so much. Working here has been a great marriage of those two things, so I get the best of both. I love the fashion, I love making women feel beautiful, and I love the creativity and everything that goes into a wedding.
How would you describe your dream dress?
I don’t want to give a lot away, but I think that being comfortable is so important. Personally, if I don’t feel comfortable in a garment I don’t feel beautiful or sexy. So, I would really want something that I can move in. I prefer things that are tailored with clean lines.
Would it be strapless or have straps? Do you think it would be sexy? Maybe with a low back?
I’m a fan of a little strap, or possibly something off-the-shoulder, it’s my signature thing. I would like something sexy; maybe with a high slit.
[A bride asks] “I’m getting married and I can’t decide on a dress. What’s some good advice?”
Definitely trusting your stylist is a really big thing. We are experts; we even do go to Bridal Fashion Week. We hand-select all of our gowns, so it’s always challenging when you haven’t tried on or you’re looking at things in photos or on a hanger. It’s so difficult to know how it’s going to look and feel on your body. We would love to have you come in and we do a sit down with you and really learn a lot about you first, and then from there, we’ll be able to pull things that will really help you narrow that down, so whatever you’re between we would love to help you!
If you could go back to the past, what would you say to your 16-year-old self?
I would say, to my 16-year-old self: love your body, trust and listen to your intuition always, and to do things that you’re afraid of. Because even though you’re scared there’s always room to grow and that’s the only way you’ll get better.
Would you say you’re more outside of the box? Do you typically do things that scare you?
Yes, it’s kind of one of my life mottos. If something really scares me I know it’s important that I do it, because if I don’t overcome that fear then I can’t grow from it.
What do you think makes one designer stand out from the next?
Definitely attention to detail is something that I love about a designer. You can always tell a designer that really takes the time to think about how the zipper is going to lay and how everything is going to look; not only when she is in the store but on the wedding day. I think something that really stands out for me is those designers that really take the time—those little things that I know our brides appreciate.
Is there one specific moment from a bridal styling appointment that stands out to you and why?
Yes. All of my brides are amazing, but one moment was really special to me. I had a bride who was actually doing a 20-year vow renewal. I didn’t know that right away. I think she was a little nervous to tell me at first, but it was a really beautiful story. Her husband actually was at the appointment with her, so I really got to feel the love that they had for each other, especially after 20 years. To help her find a gown that was so beautiful and that made her feel so amazing, and she didn’t hold back, was a really special moment for me.
What do you think made it special? Did she end up telling you?
Yes, she later shared with me in the appointment that it was actually a vow renewal and I think maybe she was a little reluctant to do that at first because of different personal reasons. I felt so great that she had trusted me to give me that information and let me really help her get to that point where she felt so good in something and didn’t feel like she had to keep that information from me.
Who is your favorite bridal designer and why?
My favorite designer is Ines Di Santo. I think she really designs gowns that are just made for women’s curves; she does it so well. And everything is so out of the box, fresh, and different. Ines is great at playing with different silhouettes, necklines, color, and texture, so I feel like nothing is off limits with her, and she herself is amazing.
What are the best bridal fashion trends you have seen in your career thus far?
I love things that are really different and really pushes those limits in fashion trends. I get really excited when I see designers that really incorporate color and texture. I love something that’s a little bit not traditional that takes your breath away—something different. There’s definitely a lot to be said about a dress that is classic and clean and I love and appreciate those looks, as well; but I think we just get really excited when something is just jaw dropping and something you have never seen before.
During a styling appointment, has there ever been an extremely tough challenge to where you almost couldn’t find a dress for your client? How did you overcome that challenge?
Yes. I think there are challenges in every appointment. I think a lot of brides have this perception that you come in and you just find a dress, and there are things on TV that make it look so easy, and it should be easy and it should be fun, but I think brides have that pressure on themselves. I think we all have a few our own fears when it comes to finding those things, so I think every bride that walks in that door is a little bit afraid of something. My goal always is just to help overcome whatever it may be and make sure that when she leaves she feels beautiful and comfortable and really excited about the garment.
How would you describe the style of Solutions Bridal?
When I think about Solutions Bridal, I think of the words luxury, quality, and I also think welcoming and family. I think the Southern hospitality runs deep and we treat every single person who walks in our front door like they are family, regardless of what they’re looking for or when the wedding is, where it is, or anything else. Our goal always is to give a great experience and make them feel welcome in our home.
[From a bride] If I buy a dress can a designer make it in a different color?
Yes, definitely. Some of our designers also do a lot of evening wear, meaning they have the ability to get those different textiles in different colors, so we’re really lucky in that way, too.
Are there some ways that wedding planners can help clients prepare for an appointment?
There’s definitely some really great things that you can do as a wedding planner. We always love when wedding planners come to the appointments. We obviously love connecting with you, but it’s a great way to get on the same page as far as the design. We spend a lot of time with our clients before they ever put on a dress, learning things about their wedding in detail, because we know how important it is to incorporate the style of the gown in all of those decision making. Having a planner there is a great tool for her, but I would say the best things to do before the appointment is to talk to your client a little bit about the importance of finding something that you love. We always encourage our clients not to be afraid to fall in love with something in the first couple dresses they try on because we are experts and we do spend a lot of time learning about what you’re looking for and I think coming in with that mentality and expecting to find the dress is always a good thing.
What is your morning routine?
I’ve always been teased by my family and my friends since I was little that I wake up in the morning and the first thing I do is turn the lights on, I turn on music, and I jump out of bed and I’m excited for my day, which is true. I like to workout in the morning; it usually makes me feel energized and ready for the day. I’ll just either jump on my yoga mat or do some quick workouts before a shower. I’m a really big coffee drinker, so I usually make a cup of coffee in the morning. I am one of those rare breeds that enjoy my commute to work, it’s only about 25 minutes, but it’s usually time for me to either listen to music, listen to a podcast or an audiobook, or get on the phone with my mom.
For aspiring stylists what is your advice?
I think the best advice I would say is to network and research. The first network being it’s always great to meet other people, either our current stylists and hearing some of the things about what they did to get where they are and things like that—their experiences; where does their passion come from? And then definitely researching the different designers and what does it mean to these stylists and what role do you play for the brides that come in through the door.
If you were having a destination where would it be?
I don’t know. I’m a huge traveler so there are so many places on my travel list. And I’m very adventurous, so I think somewhere that’s a good combination of romantic and adventurous. Definitely somewhere unique!
What’s your most awkward moment here?
Some wardrobe malfunctions some days, or just the outfit’s not working out well [haha]. We actually do a lot of bending down, and we’re constantly fluffing out dresses or carrying dresses and pinning things, so it’s actually a little bit more active than you would think as a stylist. There are the days where things aren’t cooperating. There was one really awkward moment, I don’t know if I should share it. I was playing music on my cellphone that was playing over the store speakers. I had taken my lunch break so I was in the back, and I played a video on my phone that I hadn’t realized was a little bit inappropriate, and was actually playing over the speakers in the store. We found out very quickly and corrected the problem, but it definitely made for a lot of laughs and I still get teased about it. Yeah, that would be the most awkward.