Hello it’s that time again for our monthly style report with Cindy and Sarah. This time we thought it might be helpful to chat about wedding guest attire since 2.5 million weddings are happening this year in the U.S… the most since 1984, according to the NYTimes. So many of you may be attending a wedding this year. Since I begun this blog in 2011, the question I get most persistently is, ‘what to wear to a wedding?’
I haven’t been to a wedding since before the pandemic. Here with Max above at an outdoor wedding in Carmel Valley. I wore a one shoulder dress which felt chic and perfect for the day. (Dress was Ralph Lauren from a few years ago similar here, here, and here.)
Invites often tell you the attire, which is helpful, and can be stressful, so let’s navigate shall we?
Cocktail is the most common and a step below semi-formal, but now there are destination weddings, beach nuptials and more. First of all, take into account the venue. If you need more, this chart by Bride’s magazine and accompanying article will help you decode the particulars. This kind of says it all.
Start by planning ahead!
Take the time to pull looks together at least a month before.
What we all want most of all, is to be appropriate, look good and be comfortable. It’s wonderful if you can find something in your closet that is lovely and hasn’t seen an outing in the past few years. Try on all you have in a good full-length mirror. While in that mirror, take some pictures of you in the outfit with different accessories. Often what I like in the mirror, I dislike in the camera. It’s good to evaluate. Maybe all you need is an updated pair of sandals or a clutch. If you own beautiful things, rewear them!
Here I am in three dresses I love that have been gathering dust in my closet. I made these work for a daytime wedding with the addition of a clutch ( I have a little collection of them) and some nicer sandals and dressy earrings. I added my tribal pearls I have had forever, which dress things up. Obviously it looks like I gravitate toward pink and florals..
Sometimes though, we just need new or updated. You may have avoided shopping the past couple years, like many of us and even stopped shopping, like a few friends have confessed. If so, it’s time to add something to your wardrobe you will hopefully wear more than once, so go for classic and quality!
A few tips
- Classics that will work for a cocktail to semi-formal and beyond are dresses that hit knee or a bit above or midi. What always flatters are pretty colors and patterns or florals. Try to avoid white or the color of the wedding party.
- If you go with a printed dress, go with simpler accessories and shoes. . And on the same note, a simple dress could be made fun with a printed clutch, a cool shoe or flamboyant earrings.
- Ask yourself is this an elevated look? It should feel special and not something you’d wear day-to day.
- Stockings are optional now, but wear what feel good to you. Examine your look for the need for support like Spanx. Some dresses definitely look better with support layers.
- Expect pictures will be taken. It’s nice to have a memory of these special days so bring your best you and get your hair freshened up, do your makeup, nails and so on.
For cocktail as well as day ceremonies..
I’m trying to give options that work for all body types and ages. Here’s what stood out to me of recent collections. Feel free to comment and make suggestions!
I love this bell-sleeved crepe dress by Caroline Rose, which comes in three colors. I have a beautiful crepe dress like this with almost identical sleeve and it still is the nicest dress in my closet. Crepe always is your friend and skims the body, falls beautifully and flatters. This shape is modern yet still dressy and the price is good for a closet classic at $295.
I also love this Trina Turk one shoulder Dress, and Rickie Freeman Shirtdress..
This Milly Brushstroke Dress, and Eliza J Ruffle Dress..
Also nice is this Eliza J floral number, and this cute Cece tie sleeve shift in 6 colors in Plus sizes,
I kind of think this gold dress could be nice for mother of the bride or groom, and this pink one is lovely too.
For formal affairs and black tie
I have zero experience with this kind of wedding, but my stylish pal Juliet does. She just attended the weekend wedding festivities of her stepson Kyle and she documented it all including her events and all the accessories. You can find Juliet’s post here if you missed it. I love her look here- long dress and the gold jacket topper! California chic.
There are many formal choices curated here at Neiman’s and also at here at Bloomingdale’s for fancier weddings and events. A few formal looks that caught my eye – this dreamy dress by Ramy Brook and this blue Chiara Boni dress…
The countryside/ beach or casual wedding
These weddings are growing in popularity and many have opted for small more impromptu weddings the past year or so. The nice thing is you can get more festive with your look and go floral, boho, long or short. You can feel more free to be creative with your ensemble at these types of weddings.
Some choices in this category this Cinq a Sept in blue and this colorful look by Staud..
..a tiered color block look, and a one shoulder Santorini dress.
From Anthro offerings are this square neck maxi from and this one shoulder look …
This pretty floral dress below, can go from casual to dressier. Everyone should have something like this in the closet as a go-to. All the Anthro dresses I showed here, and many others include plus sizing and petite. Anthro also has the most wonderful wedding looks for brides, attendants and guests- which you can find here.
Another new brand that I like is Ba&sh (not a typo), which has some lovely dresses like this below, and also has a borrow option, so for example you can borrow this dress for $69 and return after or have the option to buy. Very cool idea and so much greener than buying things you might not wear again, and easier on the budget
I also love Tuckernuck for very girly dresses and cute accessories. This Ulla Johnson dress is darling.. All the Tuckernuck wedding looks are curated by venue and with accessories here.
Let’s talk accessories
Good news the block heel is in and they are lot more comfy than your old school stilettos which I don’t even think I can or wish to wear anymore. These block heels work with dresses of all types so I am choosing to highlight them as they can be worn on many occasions and are a modern update for your closet as well…
Stutz block heel / Dolce Vita sandal/ Staud sandal/ Ully block heel /J.Crew rosegold sandal.
I rarely wear heels, so last year I saved my money and splashed out on Valentino Rockstud slides. I saw a woman wearing these with the prettiest maxi dress and they looked so elegant, I though they could be my new shoe for dressy events. Love them! One of my favorite items in my closet, comfy and they travel well too.
I also love a pearl for weddings and these pearl hoops kind of bridge the modern and formal, these flower earrings in many colors, and these drops and these inside out Nadri hoops come in many sizes and gold or silver, and these cultured freshwater pearl drops, and raffia/pearl drops.
A small bag or clutch is important and can make your look. Don’t try and bring a tote or your everyday bag. This is the time to look sleek and holding a pretty jewel of a clutch is fun.. A few that are worth collecting….
This Chrysanthemum Clutch by Trina Turk, Sondra Roberts Woven Clutch, Loeffler Randall Mini Clutch, Staud Small Bean Bag, Cult Gaia Rattan Box Clutch, Crystal Gathered Clutch, Aqua Checked Box Clutch, Sondra Roberts Metal Mesh Clutch, Wicker Wings bag.
Well, thats my small take on wedding attire… I will update this post as we move through the wedding season!
Please go see what my lovely pals have for you about spring wedding today on their blogs. I always love what they share..
Thanks for being here!
You might also like last month’s Signature Style post on Sunglasses and Readers.
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Shop some of the looks I mentioned and a few more..
Francesca B. says
Beautiful Dre she’s thank you Kim. My so is getting married in September so finding a dress is really on my mine. The bride is wearing long as are the bridesmaids so l think l better stick to that length. All the best.
Francesca that sounds fun! How wonderful. I am sure you’ll be able to find some great long options. Enjoy. xo
Kim, you look darling in all of those dresses. I so agree with rethinking the accessories to elevate an everyday dress. I am all about accessories. This post was packed with helpful information. I think we were reading some of the same articles!! Great minds think alike. There are so many pretty dresses out there now. I love the two piece numbers that are so popular this year. I think I might be able to wear one of those!!
Cindy I had to dust them off.. I wish I had a wedding to attend! You’re so right the two-piece looks like you showed are a good option. If you have a pretty skirt, that can work! Yes accessories are everything I think. You can transform something in your closet with just a few. You showed that so well. xo
Kim, I love this post … it’s a visual masterpiece! So many things to PIN my phone froze so it’s time to move to the laptop for a deeper dive. Love the chart from Brides. Wish I’d seen that when trying to figure out what to wear for Kyle’s wedding. Best tip here … start at least a month early. I made the mistake of still searching to accessories to complete my look and with supply chain issues – and many items not being available in stores – it got stressful. Plan ahead is right! We have several weddings on the calendar this year and I see so many cute options in your post … accessories and bags too! I want to shop my closet … but you’ve made it too tempting to do otherwise! Love! xo
Juliet, You are goals in the planning department and have raise the bar for me! I loved how you documented it all, and of course you looked so chic, so pretty and just right for that beautiful wedding. By the way, the vintage bags and things we already have are the best!! Vintage clutches and earrings are some of my favorites xoxo
Sarah London says
Wow! Huge range and so informative! Love the tips too. You and your husband look so wonderful in that pic and the RL is definitely one you should wear again. .. whenever that may be 😂 hopefully soon 🤞🏻!
Sarah loved your post! Funny we both had our husbands on ours. Thanks I love that dress too. xo
Hi – did you need to size up in the Rockstud slides?
Hi Jackie, I did not surprisingly. I am a regular 8 and took the 38 in them, which was perfect. They are really comfortable.
Erica Baruth says
Perfect timing! Headed to an outdoor wedding in Wichita, KS–yesterday the temp was 82 degrees, today 45 degrees . Saturday’s weather predicted to be in the 50’s…of course with that SW KS wind. I’m wearing a light blue sleeveless sheath dress from WHBM with the nude braided sandal (pictured in your post!) My question: WHAT DO I WEAR AS A COAT/JACKET? I have options, but I want to pick something that enhances the dress since I’m sure I’ll be wearing it most of the time to keep warm! THANK YOU!! (options: Navy trench jacket? Medium blue damask-like holiday coat with sparkly buttons? Tan trench coat? Long-sleeve white collared shirt with wrap- waist-tied bow?)
Hi Erica, Your dress sounds lovely! I would maybe choose the navy trench? That’s my first instinct and what I have taken to a summer wedding in a cool spot before. The holiday coat also sounds nice. Perhaps if it’s not too heavy that could work also! One thing I have that I have brought is a cashmere poncho or wrap. I don’t mean you need to buy something else, but it’s another option. I love this wrap from J. Crew https://rstyle.me/+CvQBLpuqVnwmEKLTb39D1A and I have this poncho https://rstyle.me/+CvQBLpuqVnwmEKLTb39D1A and wear it often! Great to grab and can fit in a tote and good for travel too.
Have a great time at the wedding!
Hi. I love the short sleeve floral dress you are wearing. So fun and festive. Would you mind sharing the brand and where you purchased it? I may be able to channel Cindy and find on ebay.
Best of luck in your move to Florida! I hope all goes smoothly and it’s everything you’ve hoped and dreamed.
Hi Katie, The short sleeve floral is a Trina Turk dress from spring 2019 collection. I don’t know the name off it, but maybe you can find it on Ebay or Etsy like Cindy did! It’s a great little dress. It may be called the Superbloom collection and it had handprinted flowers and a sequin appliqué. I did find something similar in the same fabric here listed on Ebay: https://rstyle.me/+kVnC6RKqvPZgFzfoq0gWmg
About the move, I think you are thinking of Mary Ann, which is easy to do as we are both short blondes! I hope her move goes well too! xo
La Contessa says
One wedding in July in ST HELENA!
You know what I will be wearing!!
I have the Barque Pearl earrings so I am SET!
Yes you always have the most pretty caftans and woven tote! I love the baroque pearls. xo
I have such fond memories of visiting Carmel when I was a youngster and on a weekend date.
You and Max are adorable, love your dress.
My bestie is visiting with us from my home town San Francisco, Tina leaves on Saturday, it’s going to be an adjustment not having her here.
Happy early Easter.
Hi Katherine! Carmel is pretty special isn’t it? Thank you so much. I feel like I’ve aged so much since that photo was taken!
How fun to have your bestie visit! I hope you had fun. I love those kind of visits. Happy Easter to you too. xo
Kim, you look fabulous in all of your dresses. My FAVORITE is the 3rd one by the garden sign. I love the Riki Freeman dress, I have worn several dresses by that company in the past. I only have one wedding this year and it is in the winter.
Thank you for sharing your beautiful finds.
Elizabeth thank you that’s an older Tory Burch dress I love.. Isn’t that Riki Freeman dress cool? I hmm envious you have a wedding to go too. Winter dressing could be fun too. Thanks so much, xo
You look so pretty in all the dresses, the one shoulder is elegant and a little different, which I love. I think I attended the last wedding I’ll be invited to for a very long time in October. It was so much fun to get dressed up again. Wish I had more on my calendar. Maybe I could become the female wedding crasher (just for the dancing and food😜)?!!
Great post with wonderful ideas.
Heidi I just love the one shoulder dress too! So chic. You looked so pretty in your skirt and top. That was a great wedding look! We need more weddings.. I have nothing on the horizon either! xo