With the beginning of wedding season just weeks away I thought this was a good time to give some tips and advice to help you put together some killer outfits for these joyous celebrations. As is always the case with fashion, age is a factor when deciding what to wear… but, you may be surprised how far down on the list that consideration is.
FIRST CONSIDERATION: Dress code or No Dress Code.
There are six dress codes a couple might choose to have for their wedding guests. To understand each of these I am using information found on invitations by dawn’s website.
Dress Codes – What to Wear
1. Casual – casual dress suited to the season
2. Cocktail Attire/Semi-formal/Dressy Casual – Cocktail Dress
3. Themed Attire – Determined by the couple (See #5 Vintage below)
4. Formal Attire/Black Tie Optional – floor length dress or evening pant suit
5. Black Tie – formal gown
6. White Tie – full length ballroom gown
If there is a dress code that will narrow down your options, but there is still room for a lot of imagination! If there is no dress code, you can move on to the next consideration.
SECOND CONSIDERATION: Wedding Theme or Style
There are many themes/styles but I will mention the eight most common. Understanding the theme/style can help you decide what to wear if the invitation does not have a dress code.
Theme/Style (ranked most formal to most casual) – Suggestions of What to Wear
1. Classic or Traditional – Cocktail Dress to Full Length Gown
2. Contemporary or Elegant – Cocktail Dress or Wide-Leg Jumpsuit
3. Romantic or Backyard/Vineyard – Cocktail Dress or Wide-Leg Jumpsuit
4. Industrial Inspired – Any of the Above
5. Vintage – Based on the era the couple chooses
6. Rustic or Country – Sundresses, Full-Length Casual Dresses or Jeans and a Lacy Blouse
7. Beach – Sundresses, Full-Length Casual Dresses, Swimsuit w/Sarong
Your possibilities are endless – use these suggestions to get your creative juices flowing.
THIRD CONSIDERATION: Time of Day
A general rule of thumb is that the attire gets a little more formal as the day progresses into evening.
Now you are able to narrow it down even more and begin actually thinking about the details of the garments along with starting to put together ideas for the accessories.
FOURTH CONSIDERATION: Adjusting for Inclement Weather
Whatever outfit you choose to wear be sure to have a secondary choice ready should the weather turn foul, or have a throw or shawl… even a stylish umbrella to help you weather the weather!
FIFTH CONSIDERATION: What are the Wedding Color(s)
If you know the colors the couple have chosen for their wedding you might choose to wear something that pairs well with those. Generally, you don’t want to exactly match the colors if you are not part of the wedding party. However, something a few shades lighter or darker than one of the colors or a simple pattern that has one or more of the colors in it are both good choices.
SIXTH CONSIDERATION: What Do You Look Best In
This one is a bit tricky, because although you want to look your best, you must never upstage the bride or the bridesmaids. This is the bride’s day to shine and her bridesmaids with her, so consider what looks best on you and then modify it some. That could mean that instead of wearing a dress that is both form-fitting and very short with high heels, you choose either a form-fitting just above the knee-length dress and any heel OR a bit looser fitting dress that is short with killer high heels. Another example would be instead of wearing a low-cut, shoulders-out jumpsuit you could wear a bit higher neckline with the back cut low. The modifications are endless…
DON’T skip this consideration. It will keep you from being the one everyone is gossiping about behind your back at the wedding and for weeks after.
SEVENTH CONSIDERATION: Age Appropriate
This is not a good thing for my younger readers and a bad thing for the older ones. Again, it is about modifications. You want to look stylish while being age appropriate. Those of you who are younger have more options, although I would admonish ALL of you, no matter your age, to study yourself closely in a three-way mirror standing, sitting, walking and leaning over! The word modest means to show grace to the observer and that should be your goal when attending a wedding. You do not want to be a distraction to any other guests or anyone in the wedding party. Those of us who are older need to spend even more time thinking about and studying what we look like in an outfit… no matter how stunning it may be on the hanger or mannequin. As we age we can lose sight (or sometimes choose to lose sight) of what our clothing looks like on us from different angles and in different body positions. Show no mercy to any outfit that does not look its best at every angle and in every body position. Don’t wear something that you will regret later. Always err on the side of more classic pieces.
A Good Rule of Thumb for those of us who are old enough to be the couples parents:
Pair classic pieces with one or two trendy pieces
EIGHTH CONSIDERATION: Your Accessories
Accessories are what make garments/pieces of clothing into outfits. Never underestimate the power of accessories. Here are some things to help you make great choices.
1. Weddings are not the best place to wear oversized jewelry nor brightly colored jewelry.
a. Choose earrings, bracelets and necklaces that are more moderate in size
b. Pieces that are mostly metal with bits of color and bling are best
2. Make either your jewelry or your shoes/purse/belts/outer-wear the main focus… not all the above.
3. Choose shoes that can comfortable for hours of standing and dancing OR bring along another comfy pair for dancing that compliments your outfit and are in great shape.
My husband and I have two weddings to attend this summer. One is a rustic wedding and the other traditional, so I get to choose two very different outfits in different colors with different accessories… some of which I already have in my closet and some I will need to purchase. I am already putting together ideas for what I will wear both of those days based on everything I have written here.
So, I will leave you now to your own creative juices. ENJOY!