I RECEIVED TWO invitations to weddings this summer —about two more than I usually receive. I wrote to my colleagues for support—were they similarly afflicted? No, thank god, wrote Stephanie, reminding me of the decision to be made about stockings. (see New York Times’s Vanessa Friedman’s advice.) Nancy responded similarly. “No, thank goodness.” Kathy also chimed in with a no, as did Anne. So did Mary but acknowledged that friends were calling to borrow accessories. Why such aversion?
Can we just all agree that finding something “appropriate to wear” is the major sticking point? If so, the first rule of thumb is to read the invitation, lest you wind up wearing something suitable for a garden party when the invite said black tie. “Black tie” means formal, but you don’t have to haul out the long ball gown. In fact, unless your social calendar requires that you attend multiple galas a year, buying an evening gown seems unnecessary. How many times will you wear that dress again? And if you’re not in the wedding party, wearing long can look dated, even dowdy. A midi-dress or skirt, a length that is oh so popular and readily available, will look more chic. BTW, despite what some of my friends say (you know who you are), you can wear black—just not white—to a wedding. Of course, that depends on the crowd. What works in NYC may not in St. Louis.
“Black tie optional” only means a tuxedo is not de rigueur for your male partner. If you already own and were planning to wear a long dress, go for it, but something cocktail-ish works, as does a jumpsuit, preferably with a defined waist. A nuance to consider—what will your host expect? I attended a black-tie-optional wedding two summers ago where the first cousin of the father of the bride wore a safari suit. The latter didn’t speak to the former for six months after. If the invitation reads semi-formal or cocktail, opt for a short or mid-length dress or suit in a light color for a daytime event, a darker color for the evening. For weddings on the beach or in a garden setting, something flowy and floral would be on-trend this summer. Shoes are key; find a pair of sandals suitable for walking on the sand and/or a pair of heels you don’t mind sinking into the grass. (If you need courage to choose comfortable flats, take courage from First Lady Melania Trump, seen here at the White House Easter Egg Roll and here back in February.)
The 10 examples in the slide show above cover the bases for summer and early fall weddings. Feeling bad about your neck, arms, legs? We’ve looked for choices that accentuate waists, flutter about the upper arms and fall flatteringly below the knee.
Getting married yourself this summer? Feel like making something of your own? There’s still time to enter the 2017 Toilet Paper Wedding Contest. See rules and requirements right here.