1,000 Brides In Pants

APW's newest mission

A zillion years ago (maybe, 2009) I was talking about my “feminist wedding website” with friends at a bar. If people don’t take my work seriously now (they don’t), back in 2009, most people thought that APW was some sort of vivid hallucinatory fever dream I was having. So. I said the words feminist + wedding together in the same sentence, and one of David’s friends looked me dead in the eye and said, “How feminist can weddings possibly be, when women won’t even wear pants?” Point. I mean, obviously some ladies rock suits at their weddings. But for most of us, pants at our wedding isn’t an option we ever seriously consider. Most of us are going to stick with a dress, even if we’ve never worn a dress a day in our lives. In fact, one of the most common questions on our open thread about wedding dress shopping was, “How do you get comfortable in something that doesn’t feel at all like your style?” (Hint: you usually don’t.) So, anyway, back to the whisky bar. Never slow on my feet, I shot back, “Fine. I’m going to launch 1,000 Brides in Pants, and then we’ll talk.” The fact that most of us don’t consider pants a serious wedding option points to just about everything wrong with the wedding industry today. And I’m not arguing all of us (or hell, most of us) should wear pants to our weddings. As one of the femme-iest feminists out there, I wore as many layers of tulle as I could cram on my body at my wedding, and if I could go back in time, the only thing I’d change is to add more lipstick. But my point is pants should feel like a viable option. Women wearing pants has just a little bit of a history. It was only, you know, one of the earliest feminist fights. And as hard fought as that right was, most of us don’t think anything of it when we pull on our jeans in the morning. Let’s take a quick look: So, after years of wanting to launch 1,000 Brides in Pants, the relaunch of the site (coming atcha on Tuesday) seemed the perfect time to inaugurate the project. The aim is to collect inspiration to prove that you can wear a (hot as hell) pants ensemble, and still feel as bridal as you want to. Plus, we really, truly, want to collect 1,000 photos of women wearing pants to their wedding, and maybe, just maybe, change the conversation. (And yeah, we’re going to find pants outfits for those of us who like ruffles, too.) So here’s what what this means to APW. It starts by collecting brides in pants. If you wore pants to your wedding, or have a friend who wore pants, or just have a hot photo of a pants outfit someone REALLY SHOULD wear, send us a photo one of three ways:

Tell us why you’re wearing pants to your wedding, and once per month we’ll publish a “Bride in Pants” of the month here on the site (along with some feminist history and pants shopping roundups). The rest of the time we’ll be putting your submissions up on our Tumblr page. If you’re thinking of wearing pants to your wedding, that’s also where we’ll be publishing our pants inspiration photos (basically all the hot white pants we can’t fit here). So help us kick off the mission by sending in your photos! (We’ll be digging through the archives in the meantime to see what we’ve already got.) In the meantime, some inspiration for your journey: APW’s Brides in Pants Tumblr. East Side Bride’s (obviously awesome) #PantsWeek. Recent article on wearing pants at your wedding in the New York Times. Also recent, from Vogue Australia, about a couture designer creating bridal pants.

**Note: We’re updating the Brides in Pants Tumblr as we go, with your suggestions. Hop over, it’s awesome.**

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  • Emma

    I think this is a great idea (though I don’t think I’d choose to wear trousers myself).

    I have to admit, though, as a Brit I’m really struggling to keep a straight face at the name…

    • meg

      HA. That should be a sub section.

      I mean, I’m for that too, obviously ;)

  • I love the idea of this.

    And I wish I could be part of it, however finding pants that are flattering (or even fitting) to my body type is… one of my least favourite things ever.

    But I’m not doing the white wedding dress thing either. I guess I need to make a website: 1000 Brides in every outfit imaginable.

    • Marina

      Hey, I mean, if people spend hundreds of dollars getting their wedding dress custom-fit, it’d be reasonable to do the same with pants. And oh my goodness, custom fit pants are freaking awwwwwwesome.

      • That would imply that I would be spending hundreds of dollars on a dress, let alone hundreds of dollars on alterations… :)

  • Peabody_Bites

    This is great.

    But I truly thought when I first saw the heading, that this was going to be about knickers (underpants) and I was all geared up to tell you how great my wedding knickers were.

    Two nations divided by a common language….

    • stella

      I thought exactly the same thing!!

    • Emmy

      Let’s talk about our wedding knickers/pants/panties! I wore a blue cotton bikini pair that said “Love” on the back. Kinda cheesy, but totally cute and comfy!

      • Peabody_Bites

        My wedding pants were cream silk, with ruffles on the back and wide silk ties on either side. I LOVED them.

        Unfortunately though I couldn’t manage my massive dress and my tie-pants when I went to the bathroom, so rather late on in the evening I found my aunt-in-law holding my dress up while I tied my pants!

        • js

          Ok, is this a British-English vs. American-English thing? Pants for the Brits are underwear (or panties or underpants or my personal fave, knickers.)? I hopped on the ESB link and she has some amazing underpants to wear under all the high-waisted pants that are happening right now. I had so many pairs of wedding underwear, I swear I was obsessed with having “Bride” on my ass. Now, I wish I would’ve used the wedding as an excuse to buy amazing, once-in-a-lifetime under garments from agent provocateur. This would be my advice to future married persons out there-but the hot f@#&%$# undies, already!

          • Jessica B

            I believe that is what anniversaries are for.

            I am actually super bummed out that I didn’t get a bunch of frilly knickers for my wedding/honeymoon, but I had a my period over the wedding and ended up getting a pair of Dear Kates–aka leak proof undies. They were a life saver, but I did get a plain pair so I could use them under a lot of dresses I own. Pretty sure our first anniversary is going to be some hot blue lace action that I’ve seen at Journelle recently!

      • I worte grandma panties. Seriously, I wore the biggest, comfiest, softed Mom Undies I could get my hands on. They were 100% unattractive and 100% comfortable.

  • Tattered Notebook

    I love this! I really wanted to wear jeans, plain white tee and cute little veil to my wedding but alas, I had to give in to convention. The thought of the endless discussions with my mother made me give in. (In the end, it all turned out great as my grandmother offered to make my wedding gown!) Just last night, my husband and I were talking and he casually mentioned saving up for a second wedding where I can finally wear my dream wedding ensemble. :)

    • meg


      • Oakland Sarah

        My friend’s parents both wore jeans and (matching?) flannel shirts. I will have to see if they are open to letting me send in a pic…or if they even have pics.

        • Marina

          Holy shitballs they’re adorable. I wore a big ol’ dress at my wedding and loved it, but if I could go back in time I would totally wear those outfits. My goodness.

        • meg

          ADDEDDDDDDDDDD. They are AH-dorable.

  • Ant

    First time commenter here, but I just can’t resist this topic: Dolores O’Riordan, singer of The Cranberries, was the first woman I remember mentioning that she wore trousers for her wedding (“I don’t want to look like a lampshade!”) way back in the 90’s.

    So this http://c2.dmlimg.com/abeafefb1775bcdec36d9c59ed895122e8078ac7f16693ae3933dab33dca5ea7.jpg seems to have been her outfit, and although I went quite a different route fashion-wise, I can’t get over how she rocks her boots and giant bouquet! And lacy trousers! And short hair!

    • Holy hotness! That outfit is amazing.

    • meg

      God. I loved her. God. That’s hot. Tumblr being updated after breakfastttttttttt!

  • Emily

    Not quite trousers, but Temperley’s new bridal collection features a rather fabulous jumpsuit – which I would never dare wear, but would look pretty amazing with a Bianca Jagger-style white tux jacket! http://www.temperleylondon.com/lookbook/15y

    • Laura C

      I generally don’t think there’s any such thing as a fabulous jumpsuit, but if there was, that would definitely be it.

    • Y

      Monique Lhuillier has one out too. I wanted to wear this with the overskirt so badly… And would give it serious consideration if somebody made a cheaper version…


    • I can’t spot the jumpsuit. But…so many things with sleeves! That is also quite exciting.

      • one more sara

        top row, 4th from the left ;)

        • Oh! This really only looks like a jumpsuit on close inspection. I missed it. Kind of nifty.

    • meg

      OMG HOT. I love today.

  • js

    My best friend had two weddings, out of respect to her husband’s very religious family. They had the wedding they wanted on Saturday. Sunday, they were married in the Catholic church of her husbands childhood and she wore a white pants suit. I didn’t realize what a bold statement it was at the time since I was still hungover from the Saturday wedding, but it remains one of the most bad ass things she’s ever done, in my opinion.

  • DBeth

    “that’s also where we’ll be publishing our pants inspiration photos”

    Pantspiration, please.

    (As someone who has fantasized about wearing a white suit to my wedding, but who, upon voicing this to a lovely, feminist friend, was told “That might look a little aging on you–maybe more of a second wedding look, don’t you think?”, I am so ready to be pantspired.)

    • meg


      (Since when are trousers aging? I’m wearing jeans right now, and I think I look plenty youthfull…)

      • DBeth

        I don’t think it was pants per se, but white pantsuits in particular–which I sort of understand, because the easiest mental images I can pull up are Diane Keaton and Hillary Clinton, who are both much older than I am. But I’m sure that the problem here is that my mental images need updating. Which is where pantspiration comes in!!

        • Sarah

          Maybe it’s the mental image of the 80’s power suits? When my parents got married in the early 80’s, my mom wore a white pantsuit with some serious shoulder pads. Awesome look, but with a very specific date on it.

        • Lauren

          I don’t know if you watch Scandal, but the main character, Olivia Pope, wears a lot of white and suits. I imagine this is partly because the actress Kerry Washington looks great in white and also because the writer is trying to symbolize she is one of the good guys. Google should assist you here, if not it is an addictive show.

    • Alison O

      Not to be confused with butt sweat…

  • EF

    I’m one of the most androgynous feminists out there…and privately, outside of my fairly conservative job field (law), it’s not unusual for me to be known as third-gender. I’d rather be more open about that, but I can’t and hope to be taken seriously at the workplace. Not yet, anyway.

    I regularly rock suits, blazers, waistcoats, skinny trousers with desert boots, fedoras, etc. I steal shirts from my fiance, and he sighs about how I pull them off better than him. If I weren’t a lawyer, I probably would be a men’s fashion designer. When we got engaged, my first reaction was not ‘omg dress!’ but ‘omg I can’t wait to find you the perfect midnight blue shawl collar tux! none of that navy blue or funeral black stuff!’

    So. That leads to the current dress problem. I sometimes ‘clean up’ and dress feminine. For work events, I have a decent selection of cocktail dresses. But a wedding dress? I.just.can’t.
    I jokingly said to my future-mother-in-law, who wants to take me dress shopping, that I want to wear a lady-tux (a la janelle monae) for the wedding. the look of horror on her face was too much for me. I adore this woman almost as much as I adore her son; there’s only so much of a shock I can be to her.

    Back to the horror in my life: the wedding dress. I think I’ll probably order a j.crew dress (I love this one actually: http://www.jcrew.com/wedding/Wedding_Bridesmaid/silkchiffon/PRDOVR~41825/41825.jsp) but as much as I like that dress, I’m not sure I can see *me* in it. The last time I was in the states (I live in the uk, but am originally from the usa) banana republic had an excellent woman’s tuxedo line. I was so excited. I wish I could just wear that instead.

    • Emmy

      Ehhh, maybe give your future mother-in-law some time. I did some fairly untraditional wedding ideas. People grimaced at first, but they got used to it over time.

    • M.

      My first thought:
      I hope you really consider becoming a men’s fashion designer! I think that sounds so rad and you sound like you would be frakking great at it.

      As a consolation, that J. Crew dress is so pretty – my best lady is wearing it for my wedding in the dark teal color, and it’s just so flattering.

      Is there any chance for talking to FMIL about it? If she adores you back then maybe there’s some chance for a middle ground, or some compromise. J. Crew’s Ludlow shawl collar tux in Navy is just sooo goood.

      • EF

        Aw, that’s great to hear the dress looks fabulous in person too! Sometimes these things don’t translate over, and I’m gonna have to get it shipped from america anyway, so it’s sort of a risk and ahhhhh.

        as for the MIL — she’s just gotten a really, really serious medical diagnosis, so honestly, I don’t want to rock to boat more than we already are for the wedding. I want to see her smile and be happy that she’s alive to see her son get married, even though she doesn’t have a whole lot of time left. It’s heartbreaking, but as we weight what’s important — I’ll probably wear an awesome suit to the afterparty, and I’ll go dress shopping with the MIL because she’s so excited for it, and in the end, it’s not going to be impossible to wear a dress. I’ll just tell her I’m probably getting one from america rather than with her, and that it’ll be an inspiration visit to the boutique. :-)

        • M.

          This made me smile :) You have a big heart.

          The J.Crew Kylie is very cute, and the fabric and detail is well done (my wedding dress is also J.Crew silk chiffon with wrap detail and it’s so nice). Their sizing charts are right on. Best of luck to you!

        • Gina

          Just chiming in to say I love your selfless attitude. It’s a great reminder to me that, yes, I should get to have things “my way” sometimes, but in the end there are more important things. Your MIL is blessed to be getting such a wonderful DIL, and I’m sorry about her diagnosis.

    • lady brett

      would it be feasible (logistically, financially, but mostly would it help any) to be a 2-outfit-bride with a traditional ceremony dress and rock the tux at the reception? because that could be awesome.

      • EF

        Not really, because we’re having a humanist ceremony downstairs in our venue, then moving upstairs to the reception. But it’s an afternoon reception, and after a couple hours off, we’re having an ‘after-party’…basically just going to our favourite pub for drinks with the younger crowd. so I think a wardrobe change for that would be appropriate!

    • I love the compromise you’re working out with your future mama-in-law, but can I also say that I ADORE the idea of you or any bride taking inspiration from Janelle Monaé? I can totally imagine any of these or similar outfits strutting down an aisle (or whatever setting floats your boat).

  • Emmy

    I wore a dress because I’m a dress person, but two months before the wedding, I was seized by an overwhelming urge to wear a fitted cream tuxedo with a cropped jacket and ankle-length pants and some bangin’ pumps. My then-fiancé was all about it. Sadly, I’d already purchased my dress. Next time, maybe. (JK)

  • M.

    My step-mom, who put herself through college as a cab driver, is a published poet, founded her own free mag (sold but still in print!), was MAYOR of her town, wrote her own crossword puzzle book, and generally rocks at living her own life however the f*ck she wants, wore a black pillbox hat with black birdcage veil, a black blazer, RED AND BLACK STRIPED LEGGINGS, and black combat boots to her wedding to my dad on leap day in 1992…and then wore the SAME OUTFIT to their “fifth” anniversary last year. God she’s so badass.

    • meg

      WHAT DO I HAVE TO DO TO GET YOU TO SEND ME PICTURES? Undying love? What will it take?

      • M.

        Workin’ on it! :)

    • ART

      i…love her

      • M.

        Me too!

    • Marina

      Uhhhhhh interview with her on here please??????

  • Class of 1980

    Well, this is funny. I just learned that something from my own history didn’t go down the way I thought.

    We HAD to wear dresses to school in elementary and junior high. We wore shorts under our dresses in elementary so we could do gymnastics and stuff in phys. ed. On cold winter days (as cold as they get in Florida), we wore tights.

    The only time we were allowed to wear pants in junior high was when the winter temperature reached a certain degree. We prayed for cold days. All the girls were so mad about the stupid dress rules. Okay, so we looked good in mini skirts, but we were mad. And we complained bitterly every chance we got. I mean … bell bottom hip huggers, man … we wanted to wear them to school.

    I started high school (10th grade) in the fall of 1972 and we were allowed to wear pants. Meg, you have destroyed my memory. I actually thought we were suddenly allowed to wear pants because of all our complaining!!! Who knew it was an Education Amendment!

    Anyway, there was such a pent up demand to wear pants, that girls almost quit wearing dresses completely to school. I wore pants a lot too. Except then I decided to buck the crowd and started wearing dresses more. ;)

    • It was over a decade later that my parochial school finally allowed pants (with a lot of restrictions) for girls. It was in 2nd grade, an it was so very exciting.

      • Wow, typo city up there.

        I think it was 1983 or 1984. We weren’t allowed to wear jeans or sweatpants. When stirrup pants came in, we could were those either. The dress code change happened literally overnight, midweek. We didn’t really own any pants I could wear in the dress code, but I was determined to find a pair that would be allowed, and I did.

        • Class of 1980

          We didn’t wear jeans to school when we started wearing pants in 1972. We wore jeans outside of school. School clothes were dressier back then, even when pants came on board..

          Wearing jeans to school was just starting to come in after I graduated in 1976. It was designer jeans with embroidered pockets.

          Jordache Jeans were huge. If you look at old commercials from back then, it’s amazing how tight they were!

          • Not only were we never allowed to wear jeans, or shorts, we weren’t allowed shirts with “pictures” on them. My sister was almost suspended in 4th grade for wearing a shirt with a ribbon applique of a bunch of roses on it, made and give to her by our grandmother. Fortunately, my parents where able to talk them out of that ridiculousness.

          • Class of 1980

            Good grief!

  • lady brett

    i was super impressed to find out that my mother-in-law wore a pantsuit at her wedding. apparently that was one (though not the only) reason that her family did not attend! kind of puts it in perspective that they didn’t come to our wedding either (after all, my wife wore pants too…but i don’t think she counts toward your 1000 =)

    • Class of 1980

      What year was that?

      There was a brief fling with brides wearing pants in the late sixties. But it was mostly celebrities and the look was very mod.

    • meg

      Pictures! Pictures! Pictures! (Of course she counts, everyone counts!)

      • lady brett

        what i mean is my genderqueer wife was not really a “bride.”

        but i will see if my mother-in-law would share a picture. that would have been in the late 90s or maybe 2000.

        • Karen

          Lady Brett, I do understand where you’re coming from regarding your genderqueer wife not being a bride. On our wedding webpage in the FAQ section I said that neither of us is a bride. I’m the more femme one of us in the couple and even I don’t feel comfortable calling myself a bride. “Bride” sounds much younger than I am and it sounds much more femme than my partner is, for sure. Then again, neither of us is comfortable with the word “wife” either. Words are complicated!

        • meg

          Totally. In fact, I’ve been very careful to not put any photos of people I know are gender queer on Brides In Pants, because, yup.

  • Rachel

    I love this! Also, I think the industry is finally getting it…when I was at Bridal Market in October, there were tons of bridal pants! Some were already mentioned here, but my favorites were the glam jumpsuit from Rivini (http://lover.ly/image/754572) and the pants/sweater combo from Theia (http://lover.ly/image/754604).

  • april

    OMG. If I could do it all over, I’d wear this http://www.bumpinghanger.com/2012/12/antonio-berardi-spring-2012-rtw-3/

    Not that I could afford it …

  • alpelican

    I’m pretty sure bicycles had a lot to do with women wearing pants (bloomers!) as well. Ride a bike, it’s a feminist rebellion!

  • ART

    I definitely want to wear a dress, but I am going to not-so-subtly suggest that my bridal party ladies could wear some sexy pants or even like a romper (it’s going to be hotttt out) if they chose…off to do a personal roundup of purplish pants/rompers! yay

  • Cate

    I have a badass acquaintance who wore an awesome pants outfit to her wedding (around 2000) and I would love to send pics, but her husband recently left her so I dont feel comfortable asking her to share. :( I love this idea though and can’t wait to see it !

  • Next month is the second annual Wear Pants to Church Day for Mormon feminists. Participants last year received tons of backlash from within the faith for what was originally conceived of as a relatively benign form of activism. Mormon women can’t wear PANTS to CHURCH, they said. At the same time, outsiders were bewildered. Mormon women can’t wear PANTS to CHURCH, they said? I’m bringing this up here because it would appear that Mormon churches (and temples) and weddings are the last bastions of inequality on the pants front. It feels trivial, a token effort at making the more world an equal place, but as long as women are scared to do it, its totally not.

    • meg

      I have friends that did it last year, and I was super proud of them.


    This is amazing to see this finally come about, I CANNOT WAIT!!!

    • meg

      I KNOW!!!!!


    Some sweet pants action from The Row. http://www.pinterest.com/pin/54535845460914105/ The Row is Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen’s line, right? Because that’s pretty much all I need to know.

  • Peabody_Bites

    Just saw this J. Crew sequinned playsuit highlighted as a wedding option in the Guardian (dress 7).


    Not just brides in pants, but brides in short pants!

  • It’s well worth browsing the “Dress + Pants” (http://www.onabicyclebuiltfortwo.com/category/real-wedding-inspiration/rwi-attire/rwi-pants-dress) and Pants + Pants (http://www.onabicyclebuiltfortwo.com/category/real-wedding-inspiration/rwi-attire/rwi-pants-pants) tags over at the fabulous On a Bicycle Built For Two lesbian/queer wedding blog.

  • Zia

    Late to the party, but love this pant suit by CH. (You have to scroll through a few dresses first.)

    And this bride in South Africa wore a gorgeous pantsuit…

  • veronica
  • How about the suit Brittney Griner wore for the WNBA draft? Pictures 3-7 on this page: http://www.autostraddle.com/style-thief-how-to-dress-like-brittney-griner-181251/

  • Can it be not just white pants? Three years after my wedding, the assumption that weddings will generally feature a white or white-shade (silvery white and champagne are still shades of white) dress/outfit/whatever on the bride.

    Brides in blue pants, brides in purple pants, brides in red pants, brides in striped pants…that would be amazing.

  • ANON
  • April

    I will never forget the 20-something woman that came into Ann Taylor in 2001, and chose a gorgeous cream silk pant suit for herself. When I asked the occasion, she beamed and lit up like a firecracker, “My WEDDING!” My retail addled 28 year old brain recoiled. It showed in my face. A shadow passed over her lovely complexion and she nervously mumbled, “Um, can I try it on?”

    I felt like an ass. I hung the suit in the dressing room for her. She went in, and I walked to the jewelry stand and chose a pair of chunky blue earrings, and after that, a pair of spiky gold heels from the shoe display. I knocked on the wardrobe door, “You ok?” She stepped out – a vision. Like the suit was MADE for her. She smiled and I offered the earrings and shoes. She giggled and put them on. I asked where they were getting married… “New York!” She answered. I told her she would stop traffic and probably her fiance’s heart.

    She bought the suit. I gave the earrings as a gift. And that day, I realized that wearing pants to your wedding was SO hip. It was Katharine Hepburn cool. Sexy. And best if all – it was her. And I’m sure she rocked the hell out of it.

    BRING ON THE PANTS!!!! :-)

  • Jessica
  • Caiti_D

    JUST as I’m settling in to the idea of wearing my mom’s (fabulous!) dress, this post comes along. I’m much more a pants girl, but oh the dress!

  • Pingback: Feminist Weddings: Going Beyond the Dress | Safe Schools | Desert Cities()

  • Mary

    My partner and I are getting married on Jan 2 in Santa Fe – both of us in pants. Kind of funny, but after 14 years, we’re just so thrilled to be getting married that the “wedding” seems irrelevant. We’ll have our daughters, sibling, and the one living parent in attendance. We are giddy.

  • Alee

    Hi, I realize this discussion is a couple months old but I had to share.I am a soon to be bride who never wears dresses and wedding or no wedding I will never wear a dress. I am not wearing a dress for my wedding because:
    My opinion is my wedding day is for me and my man, it is a day for us to celebrate our union, our love. He loves me for who I am. By listening to the majority of society saying a bride should be in a dress would result in me spending my wedding day being something I am not. I want my day to be a reflection of us, of our love, and of who we are. I want to be ME!
    For my big day I am wearing a new pair of black wranglers, my red and black cowboy boots (all cleaned and shined up), a beautiful white lace top that I am making, a red bolo style jacket, and my black cowboy hat. I will still have a garter on for my groom to throw, and my bouquet will be wild flowers. I will look just a beautiful and sexy as any bride in a dress but I will be in my own style, a true reflection of who I am and in my opinion my day will be perfect, dress or no dress. My two bridesmaids were free to choose whatever they wanted to wear. One is wearing a beautiful black denim dress with red lace and boots, and one is wearing black jeans with a beautiful red top.
    I feel more and more that brides need to think more about their style and what will make their day the best not what society in general says you should do. We are individuals and we are free to chose our style and what is right for us. I am free to rock my own style and make my wedding day a reflection of ME!

  • Kay Lee

    I probably won’t, because I happen to have found a dress that I love, but I seriously considered getting married in blue jeans.

  • Claire Booth

    You have inspired me to consider wearing some damm hot pants (or trousers as us English refer to them – I’ll have you know I wear “English pants” everyday!!) as my second outfit for our yet to be planned wedding! I have long thought I wanted a change for the evening do and despite being a girly girl who loves a good dress many of the second dress options do nothing for me while a gorgeous pair of trousers perhaps with some sequins for good measure is far more my style and will allow me to show off some truly spectacular shoes (which I will of course have!) rather than them being hidden beneath layers of tulle! Thank you! Cx