Wedding Style Guide: Day to Evening

Obviously there are some cardinal rules when dressing for a wedding – don’t wear white, and don’t try to outshine the bride. Easy enough, but what do you wear to a wedding when the invite asks for Hampton’s Chic, Creative Black Tie, Wine Country Elegant, After Five, or Festive Cocktail?  I’ve even heard of Texas Black Tie, which leaves me to wonder, who comes up with these definitions?!  Regardless, I am dedicating a good portion of my Wedding Season Survival Guide on what to wear.

Since most weddings run from late afternoon to evening, I’ve always struggled to balance finding something dressy enough for a party into the night without looking garish during the early hours of the event.  Ever worn something black and sparkly during the day?  Awkward…

Retro Inspiration: Full Flared Skirts

Day to Night Wedding

Nothing says “daytime appropriate” like a pop of color, but nothing says “party time” like a full swingy skirt.  Get the best of both worlds by looking for fun full skirted dresses with lady-like lengths.  The ideal is to have it hit at or just above the knee.  Any shorter, and it starts getting too sexy for a wedding (Remember those cardinal rules? Don’t try to outshine the bride).  A hat with a full brim is the perfect accessory for an outdoor wedding.  Sunny afternoons in the spring and summer can get warm, so come prepared to stay shaded and cool (in addition to looking utterly chic).  A black and white striped clutch gives the whole look a sweet Parisian feel while the sparkle in the accessories give enough glitz to carry you well into the night.

Wear this to: a breezy garden or wine country wedding

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Prepster Inspiration: Coastal Stripes

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Horizontal stripes are universally flattering – contrary to popular belief.  Forget that old wives tale and embrace stripes, because when done right they contour the body, and accentuate a woman’s figure.  Look for color, and stripes with varied widths.  Breaking up the pattern is what makes stripes flattering, and when the smaller stripes are focused at the waist, and larger stripes are focused on areas that should be larger (bust and hips), you’ll be able to visually create the illusion of a perfect hourglass.  A word of caution:  do not attempt stripes on a form fitting dress.  Unless you are Megan Fox, that probably will not be flattering.  Choose a more forgivving cut – a-line skirts work well here.

Keep the look preppy and pretty with bright nails and lips, oversize sunglasses (Jackie O all the way) and simple accessories.  A good mantra: What would Kate Spade do?

Wear this to: a seaside wedding or yacht club fete (note: I did NOT say “beach wedding”)

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Contemporary Inspiration: Color Blocking

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Yes I said it! Color Blocking, ok?  Not a huge fan of this trend, so I have a few guidelines to keep you looking classic and prevent you from looking back and saying, What the hell was I thinking?!

Rule #1: Look for variations of colors within the same family (Think nudes, pale pinks, and coral… or mint, aqua, and turquoise)  Do not go after bright clashing combos of Leprechaun Green and Magenta – you will regret it, and you will find the photographer editing you out of all the pictures.

Rule #2: Look for feminine shapes and details.  Be sure your waist is accentuated to avoid a severe mod look (remember you can only choose one trend at a time… it’s a wedding, not NY Fashion week).  Floaty fabrics are a bonus here – it softens the multiple colors.

Rule #3:  Since the details are in the dress, keep accessories simple.  Golds and nudes will be your friends here to avoid adding ANOTHER color to the ensemble.  If you are youthful or fashion forward, considering spicing it up with a complimentary pop of color in your nail polish or bracelets.  Aqua is a great pairing with the coral here.

Wear this to: A golf club wedding, or on the rooftop of a chic downtown hotel.

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