Wedding season is just around the corner. Right? Oh, yes, it is girls. So instead of the usual last-minute panic purchase that only results in buying that break-the-budget bad dress that you don’t end up wearing anyway, follow these few tried-and-true tips and let that inner “It” girl out. You just might end up on this wedding season’s best-dressed guest list!
Keep it Clean
For starters, a wedding is not a nightclub. So please, don’t go looking for the skimpiest, scantiest dress out there. OK? Save that for Halloween. And remember, if you start looking for that perfect dress or two now, you can better position yourself for purchasing during a sale or after markdowns. Every retailer from Ann Taylor to J.Crew does promos all the time. Just check their websites every few days or get on their sale alert email list to get clued in.
Location, Location, Location
Next, remember that a wedding is not a wedding is a wedding. What you wear to a wedding is determined by several factors: time of day, type of service, and location – not just the setting, as in a church or outdoors, but also geographical location. If you live in Los Angeles and the wedding is in Seattle, then the Seattle ROS (Rules of Style), which are all about blending of the classics and individualism, apply. So, instead of wearing that pastel floor-length, floral-print halter, with a big floppy straw hat, to that wedding in your neck of the woods, you’d wear a Diane Von Furstenberg tea-length or a little number from an emerging “event dress” designer at your favorite boutique.
The Bling Thing
So what about shoes and accessories? Those depend on several factors also. If the wedding is out on a rolling lawn, then please don’t wear stilettos that will sink into the ground. Wear a stack heel or wedge. Again, a wedding is not a nightclub. Keep the jewelry under control. If you wear a statement necklace, then pair with stud earrings. If you’re all about the cuffs and bangles, a medium-sized hoop earring in the same metal. When in doubt? Pearl or diamond studs and nothing else!
Leave the Granny Garb at Home
Oh, and please. How many times have I worked with clients who say, “Great, then I can wear my black cardigan over the dress if it gets cold or the reception is in air conditioning.” No! Please, no cardigans! Either a pashmina or a pashmina dimension wrap works, or a little linen, silk, or sateen jacket. Promise me, please – no cardigan. It looks terrible, ruins the silhouette of the dress, and if you’re single, trust me, you’re going to stay that way.
No Pity Party Here
Weddings are a traditional ceremony so it’s a good idea to err on the side of appropriateness. That means doing the right thing under the conditions you’re in. Which means when it comes to what to wear, what to wear includes how you wear your manners and behavior. If you’re over 30, don’t drink so much champagne that you throw up at the reception, or cry because you’re still a bridesmaid and not a bride, or tell everyone that you’d be married too by now but that no-good-loser boyfriend left you for the girl in the pretty lilac linen, strapless dress that he met at a wedding last season!
Also, wear what’s age-appropriate. And that means, again, if you’re over 40, don’t dress like you’re one foot in the grave and the other foot at a quilting bee. You don’t have to look too forward, but you can and should look like what you are — a woman.
And what about wearing black? It’s the most asked question I get these days and it’s still being debated. But I say “yes” as long as the wedding is after 5:00 pm. And again, as long as the dress is appropriate, as in nothing Elvira and nothing long. Think Audrey in “Breakfast at Tiffany’s.” Classic and simple.
If you’re in your 20’s: Wear a floral print or yummy bright color in fabrics that range from silk to linen to chiffon. Make sure the dress is somewhat form-fitting; it can be strapless or a single shoulder, and it should accentuate your waist. Over-the-knee length is fine, but not too much. Remember, we’re going to see longer lengths this season, which will be fab! Wear fun jewelry, and a classic pointy-toe pump. If you’re on the lawn, a stack-heeled sling back.
If you’re in your 30’s: Wear a soft solid color in say light coral or lilac, or cream in either linen or a light rayon or silk. Again, make sure the dress is somewhat form-fitting, it can be strapless or a single shoulder – cap sleeve is gorgeous – and also remember, accentuate your waist. “No” to over-the-knee length. Wear classic jewelry like pearls or a wide snake chain with stud earrings and a fab cocktail ring. Shoes can be a strappy sandal with a stiletto or stacked heel.
If you’re in your 40’s: Wear a classic solid color like tan or blue or light gray. The silhouette can be a two-piece suit, a shift dress with jacket, a full-skirt dress with fitted waist and jacket. The dress or suit should always be below the knee. Wrap dresses are perfect! Wear statement jewelry (this can be a costume). Shoes should be very unique, such as embroidered pumps or metallic strappy sandals as high as you want.
If you’re in your 50’s: Wear a shift dress that has a bit of a lower neckline. Make use of the few extra pounds age has given you! Fabric should be elegant. a light brocade of embellished silk that has a small pattern. Silhouette should be a shift only, paired with a solid-colored, short-waist, tailored jacket in linen or sateen. Wear as much jewelry as you want! I like mixing classic with costume. But just in one place, please. Neck, or arms, or ear lobes! Not all! Shoes can be an elegant stiletto open-toe pump. Yes!
If you’re in your 60’s: Suit, suit, suit. Preferably tuxedo style in a great summer-weight fabric! Either in a solid color of tan, beige, or cream, or very subtle pinstripe. Accent with a floral scarf. Please no moo-moo’s or silk pants and matching moo-moo top! Jewelry should be classic and expensive, such as multi-strand pearls or gem pendants. Shoes should be an elegant, strappy sandal or open-toe sling-back! Preferably designer. Right?
If you’re in your 70’s: You can wear whatever you want. Absolutely. You’ve earned it!
And don’t forget, no matter what age, your handbag should be small and only carry the essentials, which do not include the bathroom sink.
See Quatty Wot for more information.