Everybody loves a wedding — until it’s time to choose what to wear.
How formal is “formal”? How much do you dress up for an afternoon wedding? What do you wear to a destination wedding like the one taking place on the “Today” show this fall?
So many questions!
No worries — we have many answers for you right here in this special edition of our weekly fashion and beauty update.
If, like the guests at the “Today” show’s destination wedding this fall, you are attending nuptials in a warm-weather zone, bright-colored, bare and beautiful is the way to go! Because this kind of look can do double duty in your wardrobe, there’s a great opportunity to tap into your favorite trends of the season. Right now, solid colors are hot, hot, hot. Go for any shade of green (especially juicy apple green), the shimmering turquoise and azure blues of the sea and sky, or rich, ripe shades of fuchsia or red. Bare your shoulders with trendy strapless styles or spaghetti straps, then go for a modern knee-length or the edgy look of a fluttering asymmetrical hemline.
When traveling to a warm-weather destination wedding, choose a dress that is comfortable and wrinkle-free. Look for a touch of Lycra or a fabric such as matte jersey.
In cooler climates, the dressy suit is always an elegant and versatile option for both day or evening nuptials. Advantages? You’ll always look polished and pulled together, and with a little bit of luck (and planning) you’ll have a jacket and a skirt or pant that you can pair with other items in your closet to get the most bang for the buck. The best “wedding-right” suits steer clear of blazer-type cuts. Opt instead for a short, fitted jacket or long, flowing tunic style with a little bit of extra “oomph” in terms of color or trim.
Don’t limit your search to the eveningwear racks. This season, even some daytime suits are likely to be bejeweled or trimmed with embroidery or fur. To dress up a solid-colored classic suit, add a fur collar or stole with a satin-tied ribbon — and voila! — you’re an instant trendsetter. (For more details, see “afternoon delight” item, below).
When the invitation says “formal,” “black tie” or “white tie,” you’d better believe it — guests are expected to go all out! Most often that calls for the joy of a full-length dress. While you want to look as glamorous as possible (of course), the rule to follow here is to choose eveningwear that is tasteful and celebratory, but that never, ever upstages the bride. Because evening dresses are a big investment, it’s best to zip right past those trendy styles that will be yesterday’s news. Instead, go for a color and silhouette that you'll want to wear again, and dress it up with “of the moment” accessories. Best choices include classic designs such as V-necklines with spaghetti straps, strapless gowns or gowns with retro-style, three-quarter-length sleeves, which are stylish and perfect for disguising less-than-perfect arms.
This season, brooches are THE must-have accessory. Wear them traditionally — on the top right side of a gown — or more daringly, pinned on a waistband or in another unexpected place. The trendiest look? A cluster of three brooches (but don’t make them too matchy-matchy).
Not sure what to do when the invitation says “casual?” In honor of the occasion, it’s best to leave your truly casual garb at home and mark the event with a simple daytime-appropriate outfit. This could be either a dress or a blouse-and-skirt or blouse-and-pants combination. Want a dress you’ll wear forever? Choose the easy and flattering wrap style made famous by Diane von Furstenberg and reinterpreted by almost every designer under the sun. Usually found in a soft jersey knit, this knee-length, belted beauty looks just right for so many occasions — from daytime casual to the business-cocktails and dinner circuit. We love the chic look of an always stylish animal print!
One of the most perplexing wedding occasions is the seemingly oxymoronic “afternoon formal.” Instead, put the season’s must-have accessory to work. The fur or faux-fur topper in the form of a wrap, capelet or shrug tied about the shoulders with a pretty satin or velvet bow is the number one way to add a touch of glamour to any afternoon ensemble (which could be anything from a simple sweater and skirt to one of last year’s shapely dresses). Choose your favorite fur look — from dark brown or black mink to creamy chinchilla to beige, silver or even white fluffy fox — and tie one on! If your fabulous dress or top is embellished with jewels or glittering trims, all the better.
Not a fur fan? No worries. There are plenty of lovely faux-fur variations. For the most versatility, opt for an abbreviated wrap that can also double over the collar of a coat.
Judy Gordon is a New York-based style consultant and the “Today” show’s style editor. She has been covering the fashion and beauty beat for the past decade. To learn more, you can visit her Web site, TheTrendReport.com, which highlights style trends in America.
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