Celebrating its second year in business, Fondren Watts is the owner of Blush Bridal Sarasota, a beautiful and premier bridal boutique. A Sarasota native, this lovely lady talks about her girly and glam flair. The gracious host also discloses her fashion inspirations and summer’s trends.
WHO: Fondren Watts, 31, owner of Blush Bridal Sarasota
WHAT I DO: A typical day at Blush is filled with new bridal appointments [and] assisting brides with their gown alterations. During each appointment, the bride has the boutique to herself and her guests. It is my firm belief that a bride should feel special while planning her wedding, especially while picking out what is arguably the most important dress she will ever purchase and wear. We serve champagne and spend time at the beginning of every appointment learning about the bride and her style. We help her with selecting the perfect gown and work one-on-one with her through the ordering process.
FAVORITE ASPECT ABOUT THE BUSINESS: Working directly with our brides during the most exciting time in their lives Their joy is contagious, and I’ve been lucky to forge new friendships with many of our brides.
WHAT’S THE BUYING EXPERIENCE LIKE? Twice a year I travel to New York City for Bridal Fashion Week, where all of the bridal designers in the industry show their latest collections for both spring/summer and fall. I’m always amazed that every collection seems to surpass the last in terms of style and quality. It's an incredible experience seeing all of the new collections firsthand on the runways and having face-to-face meetings with designers to discuss the latest trends and select new styles for Blush. I’m always trying to stay ahead of the trends and trust my ability to choose new styles for our brides. I also value the feedback from our social media followers, so if I post a sneak peek of a collection and get hundreds of likes and comments, it’s usually a good indicator that it’s a good pick for our boutique.
WHAT TRENDS CAN WE EXPECT FOR SUMMER 2017? Three-dimensional floral appliques are still very popular, but expect to see the addition of feathers and bows to bridal gowns, too. Designers are paving the way for the modern-day girly-girl to tie the knot. But if that's not your scene, not to worry. Overskirts, watteau trains and capes are all very hot right now, especially in place of the traditional veil. And designers are taking a new spin on gowns with sleeves. We’re now seeing loose, sheer sleeves (also known as streamer sleeves or dreamcatcher sleeves) that flutter down the arm, creating a soft and ethereal look.
MY STYLE: Depending on my mood, I always fit one of three categories: girly, glam and polished.
HOW HAS YOUR STYLE EVOLVED? As my style has evolved, I’ve become less inclined to run into stores like H&M (although I still love it!) to scoop up all of the latest “it” clothes and cycle [through] them for the season. My fashion objective these days is to find designers that I love who create good-quality clothing that can be worn for longer periods of time and fit my body as well as style aesthetic. I love designers like Camilla and Zimmerman because I feel like you can really build on their collections, and the fabrics they use are amazing.
FAVORITE DESIGNERS: Camilla, Zimmerman, Alice and Olivia, DVF, Cavalli and Chanel.
WHOSE STYLE INSPIRES YOU? I follow a lot of bloggers on Instagram for style inspiration these days. I really love resort wear (I mean, we live in Sarasota), so for that I enjoy following Palm Beach Lately, which focuses on the style of two sisters out of Palm Beach. I also love following Blair Eadie, Cortney Dryden, Emily Jackson and Lauren Murphy. I found most of them through @liketoknow.it, which I follow a lot, too. If I’m ever having a day where I am just staring at my closet and I don’t know what to wear, I pull up a few of my favorite bloggers to get inspiration. I also appreciate how bloggers combine high fashion with affordable luxury. The best part is they always link their outfits directly to the source so you know exactly who made the outfit they’re wearing, rather than having to hunt online for the designer name.
BEST STYLE TIP: Choose styles and silhouettes that flatter you. Trends are great, but try to use them as a compass for what is currently in style vs. allowing them to dictate how and what to buy for yourself. I try to encourage brides to follow that same thought process and not buy something just because it’s trending on Pinterest right now.
MY GO-TO ITEM: I’m always reaching for my phone! Whether it’s to snap a photo of a bride in her gown, take a picture of my daughter or to check emails - it’s always nearby!
FAVORITE DRESS IN YOUR COLLECTION RIGHT NOW: It is really hard to choose a favorite because year after year our designers keep coming out with the most amazing gowns! Although, I think if I had to choose one gown to “say yes to the dress” to, it would be the Remmington gown by Hayley Paige. It came out a few seasons ago, but it remains one of my favorite and best-selling styles. I love the intricate, beaded long sleeves combined with the flowy tulle skirt.
MOST-PRIZED POSSESSION: My family! During my time outside of Blush, I most enjoy spending quality time with my three-year-old daughter Charlotte and my husband Danny.
FOR A NIGHT OUT ON THE TOWN: I would wear either an off-the-shoulder maxi dress with sandals or a short and flirty swing dress with tie-up sandals.
Fondren is wearing a floral and lace Zimmerman dress from Lotus Boutique, Schutz nude heels and a bracelet from Influence Style, a Chanel watch, stud earrings from Nordstrom, Buxom White Russian lip color and Sugar nail color from PAINT Nail Bar.
A Florida native, Alicia King Robinson is the director of public relations at Sarasota-based ThreeSixOh Public Relations and the blogger behind New Version of You. Her love of fashion and eye for stylish living began at an early age. Meant to inspire, she explores fashion and the evolution and ever-changing versions of ourselves with style-inspired content.