Dress Code 101: Guest of Wedding

Clearly, the thought of what to wear to a wedding sends y'all into panic mode. This summer, probably 75% of the Personal Shopper requests we got were "What do I wear to a wedding? AAAHH!"

So, without further ado, here are our wedding-guest-dressing-tips:

1. Last Minute Invites. Whether the wedding itself is last-minute, or just your invitation to said wedding was, you're pretty much screwed in terms of ordering a dress online. What to do? Start with what you already have: LBD, basic cute dress, cute skirt, then add on fun jewelry and shoes. If you're utterly convinced you have nothing in your closet, your best bet is a big box department store. Head to their dress department and find something simple that *fits* and won't require alterations. Colors are good (avoid white/ivory). Then, add some trendy, cheap jewelry and shoes. Do your hair and make-up differently than you normally would. DONE.

2. How sexy is TOO sexy? You've heard the golden rule, right? Legs or cleavage: Choose one. That applies to weddings, but kicked up a notch on the modesty scale. Dresses should be no higher than just above the knee, and moderate cleavage is okay. Your muy sexy decolletage-revealing dress? Save it for date night.

3. Can I wear white or black? We'd suggest avoiding white/ivory/ecru - too "bride"-y. Black is okay, so long as it's kept soft and feminine, but it might be best to reserve a black dress for a more formal evening affair. Colors in general are great, but don't go for screaming loud neon hues. Ditto on patterns & prints.

4. Just what does that 'Harvest Chic' dress code on the invitation mean? Gah, we hate this part. Black and white tie are pretty self-explanatory - floor length, formal gown. Everything else is a gray area (Ha!). When in doubt, go for what you'd term your "Sunday Best": A knee-length or tea-length dress in a dressier fabric like chiffon, sateen, or silk, with tasteful accessories is always a safe bet.

If all else fails, just remember this: The focus is on the happy couple getting hitched. You will be an appreciated presence (That's why they invited you.), but an unobtrusive one. Keep it simple, modest, and feminine, and you'll be fine. Don't blow $500 on a dress you plan to wear once. If you MUST buy a dress, buy something basic that can be worn on other occasions with new accessories. End of story.


Stephanie Smith

Posted on 09.09.10 at 2:18 PM

Very helpful, thanks! More posts like this about modern etiquette would be awesome! By the way, WTF is harvest chic??


Posted on 09.09.10 at 2:30 PM

My mother-in-law could have used this advice. She went and bought an off-white dress. The photographer had to put her as far away from me as possible in pictures. I remain very, very annoyed.


Posted on 09.10.10 at 6:23 AM

Instead of a department store, try Marshall's or TJ Maxx. They're hit-or-miss all the time, but you could come out of there for a showstopper for under $50.


Posted on 09.10.10 at 9:00 AM

Whoooooo, really? Dang! I was always told to never, ever, ever, EVER wear white/off white/ivory/ecru/eggshell to weddings as that was "bride territory ONLY"!


Posted on 09.10.10 at 10:08 AM

I know, right? At 65, you think she would have heard this etiquette rule by now. Don't wear ANYTHING remotely resembling white unless you are deliberately trying to show-up the bride. I'm not certain she's that willfully malicious, but you've gotta wonder . . .

Post A Comment



If you've got a product or service that you'd like to promote on Outblush, click here to find out about our advertising opportunities.

Scroll down for more kickin' selections, and let us know what you think with our NEW Comments feature!