In our Featured Shop series, we shine a light on a standout shop from Etsy’s talented seller community, offering readers a behind-the-scenes look at their process and story.
If a wedding is the ultimate feel-good day, then wearing a design from Inge Stalyte’s free-spirited bridal collection, Wardrobe by Dulcinea is the perfect fit for the occasion—in more ways than one. From the sparkly straps of their pink sequined bodices to the ombré tips of their blue dip-dyed tulle trains, every piece in Inge’s vibrant, customizable line radiates joy, matching the magic of the moment with fresh, fun looks that aren’t afraid of color. You dream it, the Lithuania-based designer and her team of five can make it; the sky is (literally) the limit, with many a bride sending photos of clouds as inspo for their signature dress shade.
Adding to the atelier’s positive vibes is the fact that each of Inge’s bespoke bridal tops, mix-and-match bottoms, and one-of-a-kind gowns is made-to-measure with a focus on comfort and inclusive sizing, so brides of all body types are guaranteed to feel their best on their special days. “People often write to me and say, ‘Do you do plus-size?’ And I’m like, ‘I don’t even believe in plus-size! We do any size you’ve got,’” says Inge. “I always want to include everyone.”
Read on to discover Inge’s most popular styles and shop the Wardrobe by Dulcinea collection.
You have a unique approach to sizing. Can you say more?
We make everything to measure, and our size tags all say the same thing. It’s not “One-size-fits-all,” it’s “Size: Yours.” We don’t charge extra for different sizes. Everyone has unique proportions—there are absolutely no restrictions.
Where did the idea to make bridal separates come from?
It was inspired by my own wedding dress, which I designed back in 2012 in four pieces: a top, a skirt, a petticoat, and a sash to tie it all together. Doing separates is really cool because you can re-wear them; it’s not just this one-time thing. I still wear the blouse I made on anniversaries and dinner dates.
It’s also really trendy to change up your look during your actual wedding day. You can get a short skirt and a long skirt and just one top, or a top and a cover-up. There are so many options. People often buy a dress, and then get a colorful skirt to wear over it.
What is it about color that speaks to you (and your customers)?
Color is my main love. I started with hand-dyeing, making the colors myself, but I’ve slowly been introducing other techniques, like layering. I’ll use colors in all ways possible. I’ve done dresses in greens, pinks, blues, stormy greys. Everything, really.
My customers have a lot of ideas for colors, too. When they ask for a specific color, I’ll request a reference photo; they often send me shots of storm clouds or gemstones. They’ll circle the edges and say “I want this for the base color,” or “I want this for the ombré dip-dye,” and I’m like, “I got you, girl.” I love it the most when they send me inspo photos of landscapes and natural wonders. Like, “Yeah, I can do this iceberg color. I feel you.”
You try on all of your pieces before you green-light them in your collection. Why is comfort a priority for Wardrobe by Dulcinea?
I guess I have a bohemian kind of spirit. Even if a style seems more modern, it’s still very important for me to be able to dance, twirl, and run around—and do photo shoots in the forest and in the mountains, like my brides do. They elope a lot in my garments. We make everything in my size first, so I always know if it’s comfortable. If it doesn’t work—if it’s scratchy or I don’t feel good in it—we don’t do it.
What are some of your most popular designs?
My first-ever bestseller was a long, floor-length tulle skirt with a dip-dye at the bottom. Another popular design is Catherine, which is very creamy, with hints of cocoa. It’s really uniquely constructed and looks like a marshmallow. Then people started asking me for blue, so I did the Nora skirt, which is actually named after a really lovely customer. The Nora has this semi-hidden ombré that you can see in the back and in the train, but not so much in the front. It’s been absolutely huge.
What bridal trends are currently on your radar?
I was just reading up on bridal trends, as I do every year, and two things that made me smile were that both watercolor and tulle ruffles are on trend. And I did them both in one skirt, the Nayeli, just last year. It’s been picking up really well; I think it’s going to be really big in 2020. Watercolor and ombré colors are really my jam. If bridal was all white and ivory and there was no desire for pale pinks or emerald greens, I wouldn’t be in this business.
How do you help your customers find their dream gowns without an in-person fitting?
We make everything in every size, but there are certain features that can look better in one garment than another, so I’ll always advise on that. For example, someone with a G cup who wants an open back dress might be disappointed with the support that top will give her. So I’ll offer an alternative—either a different top with similar features, or an alteration to the top she loves, which we can achieve by raising the back or adding mesh. There are always options. I talk with my customers a lot and they show me pictures and ask for my advice. It’s a process. Sometimes there are over 200 emails with a customer. That’s normal.
What’s a typical timeline for ordering a Wardrobe by Dulcinea gown?
Just one piece is ten weeks, and two pieces is four months. That’s based on our production queue. We’re a team of six, myself included. It’s me, three tailors, my mom (who’s also a professional seamstress), and my best friend, who’s our tulle guy. We do everything from scratch: cutting, sewing, embroidering, and we do extensive quality control where we cross-reference and carefully check each piece. Then we package and ship directly to the customer with trackable door-to-door service.
What does designing wedding dresses mean to you?
Oh, it’s huge. So often people will open the package and write me an email, and sometimes it’s really scary because you know how it starts? “I can’t stop crying!” But then the second sentence is: “I’m so happy.” My brides cry a lot, but they’re tears of happiness.
Photographs by Indre Kuodiene unless otherwise noted.