Left: Sachin + Babi Noir’s Andrea Dotted Midi Dress in taffeta mixes the sexy with the demure. Keep everyone guessing which one you are at black-tie events. $1,095 at neimanmarcus. Right: Be eco-conscious and party comfortably, too, in Zero + Maria Cornejo’s Eve Amelie dress, made of a mix of sustainable viscose and linen. Dress it up or down, depending on the occasion. On sale for $570 at zeromariacornejo.
THE HEAT is on—to find something to wear to the summer wedding or three you’ve been invited to. Although the dress code on the invitation is likely not to be as specific as the one (“day dress and hat”) to Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s wedding, and a fascinator will not be required, you will probably see some key words like black tie, black tie optional or semi-formal. Or else the location—garden, beach, pool or park—will clue you in to the appropriate attire.
All summer weddings are not created equal, so before buying, it’s important to read the invitation to avoid potential embarrassment. A colleague of mine went looking for something garden party-ish only to find out —too late— the event was black-tie. Oops. And be mindful of your footwear. On a beach in Cape Cod, you’ll be better off pairing your caftan with flip-flops or espadrilles rather than spendy stilettos that will have you sinking into the sand. For formal dos, you have permission to forgo the fancy ball gown and opt for black silk or satin pants and a sheer feminine blouse, topped with, say, a fabulous metallic Missoni shawl (see below). Crank up the volume with accessories, like an arty pair of Louboutins, or a Judith Leiber lookalike and blingy jewelry, be it good costume or the real stuff. Oh, if some of these price tags send you into sticker shock, take our advice: don’t wait for a special invitation to wear.
Left: Wouldn’t you want to dance all night in this shimmery, graceful chiffon Kamille Dress from designer Maria Lucia Hohan? $960, shopbop. Center: Gabriela Hearst‘s pearly blush serge silk and wool-blend blazer with waist-narrowing slanted pockets ($997.50, netaporter) goes best with the matching pants ($597.50, netaporter.com). Amortize the investment over the many occasions you’ll pull this evening suit from your closet. Right: Cinq à Sept‘s Nannon Floral Silk Midi Dress takes the basic sheath shape and softens the silhouette with strategically placed ruffles. $645, saksfifthavenue.
Left: This Sally LaPointe Crinkle Foil Seamed Track Pant won’t pass muster at every wedding, so size up the scene before you don this statement-making pair of pants. $850, modaoperandi. Center: Missoni‘s Metallic Matelassé Scarf, made of a silver and turquoise fine-gauge knit, is trimmed with fringe and will make black pants or a simple black sheath twinkle. $690, barneys. Right: Pair this Rosetta linen dress by Lisa Maria Fernandez with espadrilles or a textured sandal, and it’s the right look for any outdoor fete. $705, matchesfashion.
Left: You could party in Warm‘s Eden Wrap Jumpsuit for black tie or a backyard barbecue. Adjust your accessories accordingly. $835, modaoperandi. Right: Designer Rachel Comey gives red and white stripes a decidedly unpreppy look in this artfully draped Steady Asymmetric Cotton Dress. Fans will make the occasion to wear it—often. $450, modaoperandi.
Left: Go a little wild in Australian designer Alice McCall‘s Animale crepe de chine midi dress. Drawstring ties threaded through the body and sleeves create a flattering ruched effect. $520, netaporter. Center: Make A.L.C.’s Miles Wide-Leg Crepe Pant special with a sheer, lacy blouse and stunning shawl. $272, neimanmarcus. Right: Diane Von Furstenberg polka-dot silk dress with a daring diamond cut-out at the back will be the perfect match for a summer soiree in the garden or a fancy fete at a country club. $998, matchesfashion.
Left: Casual outdoor wedding? Diane von Furstenberg’s playfully striped cotton wrap dress will work, and for Sunday brunch or Monday lunch, too. $530, netaporter. Right: I’m partial to dropped waists and three-quarter sleeves, so party or no party, I’d wear this Baum und Pferdgarten’s crinkled chiffon Alexandrina dress indoors and/or out. $450, shopbop.
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