Dress to impress: what to wear if you’re a wedding guest

The Stuart Weitzman 2017 Bridal Collection - Something New


Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article titled “Dress to impress: what to wear if you’re a wedding guest” was written by Lauren Cochrane, for theguardian.com on Wednesday 19th April 2017 13.43 UTC

The “save the dates” are starting to arrive and, right on cue, so is the anxiety. OK, the person who really has the sartorial stress on a wedding day is the bride, but spare a thought for us poor guests. We’re choosing an outfit to feel comfortable in, one that goes from champagne on the still-damp lawn to Come on Eileen on the dancefloor. One that doesn’t scare the horses but has some semblance of what fashion looks like in 2017, and also something that – crucially – isn’t being worn by several other guests, too. The struggle is real. And that’s before you get to your relationship to the happy couple.

Here’s how to look appropriate, classy and cool, even, at six wedding scenarios you could be thrown into.

The wedding of a work colleague

Kurt Geiger
Kurt Geiger flat shoe. Photograph: Kurt Geiger

Spending your off-the-clock time with people you are more used to talking with by email can be an interesting experience, especially when there’s a free bar. Perhaps wearing something a bit work-y – such as a trousersuit – will subliminally remind you to keep things professional, even at 3am while dancing to Common People. You’ll certainly look on-trend: trousersuits are massive next season. Combine with a Gucci-esque frilly blouse and jazzy flats so the look, at least, is a bit less office-friendly.

Wedding of your partner’s friends you haven’t met

Isabel Marant Balzan floral-print silk-chiffon dress
Isabel Marant Balzan floral-print silk-chiffon dress. Photograph: Matchesfashion.com

It’s early in your relationship, or it’s the wedding of a school friend they haven’t seen for 15 years. Whatever version of events, fabrics like lace and chiffon are your friend here. They’re occasion-y but in bright orange, or the like, hardly bridal. To swerve any Kate Middleton vibes, there is a ban on shoes a similar colour to your skintone. Instead a Marni-esque espadrille flatform is an elevator, literally and figuratively.

The evening do of a distant cousin

Boden backless loafer
Boden backless loafer. Photograph: Boden

This one needs the kind of dress that provides a bit of a conversation-starter but isn’t going to stand out too much in a roomful of people you are somehow related to (once removed, always once removed). Vertical stripes are the kind of no-brainer smart that everyone needs a bit of. Wear with backless mules to show just how chilled you are.

Your parent’s second wedding

Cos Slingbacks
Cos Slingbacks. Photograph: Cos

It doesn’t matter if you like your dad’s new partner or can’t stand them, your job is to smile, try to keep the relevant frenemies apart, and look the part on the top table. That’s where bold florals come in: they’re cheerful, bright and you’re visible in a crowd for relatives to locate. Sensible block heels are your shoe choice. Wear in a clashing colour only if you’re up to questions about fashion.

Your ex’s wedding

Net-A-Porter Reformation Silk maxi dress
Net-A-Porter Reformation Silk maxi dress. Photograph: Net-A-Porter

Congrats, you’re on good terms, you’re going to the wedding. Still, watching someone you might have married get married is undeniably weird. You want a look that slays without looking like you’ve tried to hard. The satin slip dress is your power play. It’s outwardly plain but it has the soul of a cocktail dress. Wear with flat sandals and think of it as humblebrag dressing.

Your best friend’s wedding in Europe

New Look White Cross Front Heeled Mule
New Look White Cross front heeled mules. Photograph: ASOS

It’s already cost you £3,498 to do Positano in high season but you’re thinking of it as a holiday – and your friends are going, too. This means the dress codes are looser. Something like floral culottes and matching shirt make sense – and even channel a bit of Amber Valletta in the new Vogue. Wear with white heels on the day and Teva sandals the rest of the summer while you pay off Positano.

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