Current wedding dress trends in Iowa

Rachel Cessna

Springtime and warm weather brings about a multitude of weddings. While the ceremony and reception are important, the bride’s dress is one of the focal points of the wedding.

Sisters Kayse and Rita are the co-owners of Pure Bridal, a bridal boutique in Ames. They have been running their successful business for four years and have won Best of Iowa Bridal from both The Knot and WeddingWire multiple years.

I sat down with Kayse at Pure Bridal to discuss the start of the boutique and the trends of the past and present.

Rachel: What first got you interested in opening a bridal shop?

Kayse: I actually went to Iowa State for fashion design. So I went to New York and worked there for a while and worked with Reem Acra, who’s a couture bridal designer. Then I came back here and I’ve always liked bridal just because it’s helping with that special day and it’s one of the most important pieces of clothing you’ll ever wear. So my sister [and I] started this store together. We were like, “If everything works out it’ll be meant to be, if not it’s not meant to be,” and everything just went better than we could ever even have imagined.

Rachel: Since you started four years ago, have you notice a drastic change in the styles and trends?

Kayse: Very. When we first started, our first season was fall 2011 that we bought dresses for. It was nearly impossible to find a lace dress. We literally picked up our companies, Casablanca and Mori Lee, because they were the only ones who had lace options and we needed lace.

Everyone else had that ruched satin everywhere, and it’s still a gorgeous style, but it’s definitely fading and now lace is everywhere. It was also nearly impossible to find straps.

There was no illusion four years ago. So there have been some massive changes in what’s coming out, especially with the sheer. There’ve been so many dresses with the low sheer back or the low sheer front or the cutout sides — stuff that even five or six years ago people would see and be like, “For bridal? No,” and now it’s selling in Iowa. It’s gotten a lot more non-traditional.

Rachel: What would you say is the most popular style right now?

Kayse: That sheath look, actually, and it’s totally different from what’s been around because up until recently, every wedding dress had tulle and had volume in it and crinolines. Across the board, things are getting less poofy unless it’s a true ball gown and then it’s the poofiest.

Rachel: Why do you think that is?

Kayse: I think it’s honestly because of Pinterest. People are wanting to be comfortable and wanting to be able to wear their dress and be less confined. We actually just picked up a private collection from Amsterdam that is all stretchy lace and it looks like vintage lace dresses but they feel almost like yoga pants when you wear them.

Rachel: With so many designers, how do you decide which styles to choose? 

Kayse: Well, Pinterest is a huge one, and then I sit in my office a lot and I will just sit here and listen to what they’re asking for. If we don’t have it and one of our designers doesn’t make it, then we’ll take it to our designer and be like, “Hey, we have lot’s of people asking for this,” but now we’re starting our own private collection and so now instead of having to take them to somebody, I can say, “Hey, Kayse, make this,” and I do.

Rachel: So, you design them?

Kayse: I do, yeah. We haven’t gotten our first collection out yet. We’ve just submitted it [and] we’re waiting for the sketches back and then we’ll get the samples in pretty soon. It’ll be fun. I’m excited.