So you've received your wedding invite and the dress code is written below—where do you start in planning your attire? We've decoded and laid down the framework of what each wedding dress code means (and we've even got a few pegs!) and how you can create the perfect guest ensemble.
A black tie wedding calls for the most elegant ensemble you can find—it’s an evening event, after all. You’ll immediately think to opt for a classic black floor-length gown, but there’s a world of color to explore out there! It’s not just about the color, too, it’s more on the cut and silhouette of your ensemble that makes it black tie-approved. Regardless if you’re choosing a pastel, muted, or bold color, your outfit shouldn’t be too loose or too fitting. Think equal parts sexy and Academy Award attendee. Foregoing printed or patterned fabric means that you should complete your outfit with bold accessories and fashionable heels to avoid looking too plain (there’s a thin line between understated elegance and boring, and what separates that line is bling).
Semiformal Or Cocktail
We've all heard this term before—especially when it came to school events—but in the context of a wedding, what does it mean? The way we see it, a semiformal dress can be long or short (though a floor-length dress isn't part of this recipe) with a little less bling and you can go easy on the shoe choices in order to soften the sophistication. It's all about adding a little flair to your dress without going full-blown casual ensemble territory. This can range from a mini A-line dress with a solid structure up top to keep things classy yet playful to a loose romper to exude softness with class—choosing a muted, earthy color for your romper and pairing it with some statement shoes is definitely a modern, revisited version of semiformal wedding outfits.
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Our rule of thumb for garden wedding attire (apart from the obvious floral dress paired with wedges) is you could also wear this outfit to a baby shower in the spring. Yes, florals are welcome, though we'd like to deviate from the staples and suggest instead to focus on wearing something loose and flowy—think a Grecian-style dress, no matter what the length. Garden parties are synonymous with femininity, light colors, and daintiness, so it's best to dress simply. Think wearing a soft-hued slit dresses paired with casual, kitten-heeled sandals (or flats) to create a balance between an elegance and effortlessness.
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Beach or Beach Formal
Beach wedding attire can often be tricky because the weather is a serious factor to take into consideration when you're choosing your outfit. You'd want to wear thin and breathable fabric, but not so much that it becomes a full-fledged beach ensemble—you're still attending a wedding, after all. Apart from keeping the fabric in mind, it's also important to choose an outfit that lets you move around more than usual. Baring a little more skin is acceptable, as well, provided that your ensemble is well-coordinated to warrant it. We recommend wearing co-ords in beach wedding attire, something flowy and tropical; think of it as something you'd wear during an intimate dinner in the summertime. Pair your outfit with sandals or wedges, throw in some gold jewelry, tousle your hair to get the iconic beachy waves look—and you're good to go!
Casual Or Daytime
Casual or daytime wedding attire is the most finicky of them all because this could truly mean a fashion free-for-all. So, the rule of thumb is to think of wearing a date night outfit, whether it's a mini dress or a romper. It's best to avoid knitwear and jeans (casual attire ≠ casual day out) because even though the attire says casual, it's still nice to add a little class and finesse to your ensemble. Opt for a printed or patterned fabric for your desired outfit to keep your look classy yet fresh, and we highly encourage you to accessorize! Pair your outfit with a textured clutch, bold jewelry, and statement shoes to fill in the gaps of what would be a 'casual' look.
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