10 Questions with Julie Sabatino of The Stylish Bride
1) What inspired you to become a personal stylist for the bride?
I had a terrible experience looking for a wedding dress when I got married in 2001. Wedding dress shopping was really different back then because many designers didn’t even have websites. The only information a bride had access to was from magazines. I wanted something sleek and modern in a time where lots of lace and heavy embroidery was popular. After trying on more than 200 dresses and still not finding what I wanted, I realized I needed help, but there was no one there to help me.
2) How did you find your accessories?
It was really difficult because the options were so limited. We didn’t even have Jimmy Choo or Christian Louboutin. We had Manolo Blahnik and Stuart Weitzman, and that’s it! Recognizing a void in the marketplace, I went to FIT and entered an accessories design program with the intention of creating bridal handbags and shoes. While I was in school, I realized I did not want to create or manufacture anything. To learn more about the industry, I went to work for the Amsale boutique on Madison Avenue. While there, I realized that brides needed non-biased help. Day after day, I saw moms coming in with an agenda or sisters or well-meaning friends giving bad advice. I really loved working with brides and developing a connection with these women, and I knew I could help them. So, in 2004, I started The Stylish Bride and I’ve been doing it ever since.
3) What is the common thread you find in shopping today?
Every bride wants to look her most beautiful, and some have trouble figuring out what that means. When I started my business it was because there wasn't enough information, and today there is too much. Weeding through all of that can be incredibly overwhelming, particularly when you know it’s going to be an iconic fashion moment in your life. That’s a lot of pressure. There are some brides who have a super-easy time, but there are a lot of brides who can’t make a decision. They have doubts. What I love is helping these women.
4) Tell us about your services.
The foundation of my service is getting to know the bride really well. Based on her personal style, I show her what she needs to see. Over the past 15 years, I have developed amazing relationships with designers and stores, which allows me to give her access to what she needs. I look at it like I am her guide to finding her perfect dress. I love connecting with the bride and getting to the bottom of what makes her feel great.
5) How does the process work?
For my in-person fashion styling service, I start with a consultation where I really get to know her. Often, my clients are from all over the world, so a lot of the time we communicate remotely, via Zoom or FaceTime. Once I learn all about her, I then put her shopping plan together and decide where I’ll take her to find her dress.
I’m really excited because on Friday, I’m launching a new service called Virtual Styling, which is the process I just described to you but done totally remotely.. I offer them all the information they need to find their wedding dress on their own. I think it's going to be fantastic because I’ll be able to reach so many more people at a more accessible price. Then she can take the information I’ve given her to find her perfect dress.
6) What does your team of stylists do the day of the wedding?
I have trained stylists in five cities — New York, Boston, Chicago, Palm Beach and London — who offer a luxury, white-glove dressing service. Our goal is to not only take care of the fashion pieces, including steaming, pressing and sewing, but we also take care of the bride. Because we have done so many weddings, we can anticipate what will happen next so she doesn’t have to worry about anything.
7) Where do you see trends?
I just do the New York Bridal market, because that is where it all happens. I pay close attention to the couture shows in Paris, since I think a lot of the ideas come from there.
8) Tell us about your podcast series.
It’s been great. I had all this specific knowledge about topics that no one was talking about, and I wanted to share it with brides to help them. We talk about things like how to find a wedding dress. Shopping tips. How a dress performs on the wedding day as opposed to in the fitting. An example might be a bride who wants a super-long train because she’s getting married in a cathedral, but doesn’t know how difficult it can be to bustle. Nobody tells her that you’re not just adding five feet, but you’re also adding five more feet of fabric under the tush! I hope this information educates brides and gives them real advice that will help them.
9) How does a bride find your podcast?
Anywhere you find podcasts, including iTunes, or you can find it on my website: The Stylish Bride.
10) What’s the best part of your job?
I love being able to truly make a difference in a bride’s life.