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Brides looking for alternatives to the traditional dress

NEW YORK — Andie Potamkin Blackmore’s approach to life is creative and non-traditional, so why should her wedding “gown” have been any different? The 27-year-old gallery space co-owner, art dealer and fashion lover married hair stylist Jordan Blackmo

NEW YORK — Andie Potamkin Blackmore’s approach to life is creative and non-traditional, so why should her wedding “gown” have been any different?

The 27-year-old gallery space co-owner, art dealer and fashion lover married hair stylist Jordan Blackmore last November in an outdoor ceremony at the Utah desert resort Amangiri.

The Williamsburg, Brooklyn, couple loved the location, and the bride wanted her outfit to reflect the sandy, arid landscape as well as her personality.

She wore a tiny bra top with a skirt she had a designer make using loose tubes of chiffon in gradient colours, from creamy white to peach and blush, with touches of gold and a train. Underneath, she wore cowboy boots.

“It seamlessly transitioned into the desert. I wanted it to look like I was growing out of the desert,” Potamkin Blackmore laughed. “I wanted to look like a really cool, weird, desert, alien princess.”

Her desires played right into a trend that has been building for several years: the anything-goes bride who chooses to bare a little midriff in two pieces or rock her wedding in a jumpsuit or menswear-inspired tuxedo look done in bridal white, ivory, Champagne or equally soft wedding tones.

“It’s definitely something in the air,” said Jane Keltner de Valle, Glamour’s fashion news director.

“In general, when you’re getting married, you’re typically in the best shape of your life. You’re working out like crazy. A lot of brides feel like they want to show off those hard-earned abs.”

There’s no danger that two-piece looks will topple more traditional gowns in popularity any time soon.

According to a 2015 survey of brides who used the wedding resource site, fit-and-flare dresses, also known as mermaid or trumpet styles, were most popular, with 40 per cent, while just one per cent said they picked two-piece outfits.

When it comes to baring midriff, bridal trendsetter Vera Wang is on board for brides who know they’ll feel good wearing them. “I think anyone can wear it if she feels confident, but I do say that it’s very important to have it cut properly,” she said.

The same goes for jumpsuits, the flipside of showing off the abs, but also a trendy alternative to traditional bridal dressing.

Sara Cody Lanard, 28, in Boston, wore a flowy white jumpsuit last October from Anthropologie’s wedding collection, BHLDN, for her vow-renewal ceremony and party a year after getting hitched in a short dress during a civil ceremony.

She and her groom, Jeff Lanard, chose as their venue the building where they met, the campus centre at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.

“I wanted to feel like a bride, but not so bridal,” she said. “We wanted it to be fun and lighthearted. A gown felt too over the top.”

With brides celebrating in more than one outfit — one for the ceremony, one for the reception, for example — those who might feel uneasy about trousers, jumpsuits or bare midriffs walking down the aisle have plenty of other opportunities to wear those looks.

“The two-piece trend is definitely something that is catching on, and it doesn’t have to be scandalous,” said Shelley Brown, associate fashion and beauty editor at The Knot. “Brides more and more want to feel that their weddings are personalized and reflect their style.”

More bridal designers are offering two-piece options, along with jumpsuits, she said. Keltner de Valle urged brides to be sure before committing to either style.

“If you aren’t confident about your stomach, you’re going to be shifting around or self-conscious about it all night. Another important thing to keep in mind is setting. If you’re getting married in a traditional church ceremony, perhaps wearing a crop top might not be the most appropriate thing,” she said.

Showing just a sliver of skin instead of a lot is a safe choice, Keltner de Valle said.

“Another thing to keep in mind is that you’re going to be photographed all night from every angle, so you want to make sure that it’s flattering in different situations — when you sit down, when you’re dancing, when you’re leaning over to cut the cake.”

Getting more use for the dollar is another consideration.

“A white ball gown is pretty much a one-use-only type of thing, whereas a white jumpsuit is something you could totally wear again and again,” Keltner de Valle said.

She suggested staying close to traditional tones. “You don’t want to push the envelope on everything all at once,” she said.

Potamkin Blackmore has no plans to stash her sexy wedding outfit in a box, choosing instead to have it incorporated into a piece of furniture — made by the designer who created her outfit, Maurizio Galante.

“He’s a master screen printer and does great embroidery on chairs, and does tables made of rubber tubes,” she said. “I wanted it to live on.”