What to wear to a fall wedding

When we think of “wedding season,” we usually picture the warm-weather days of spring and summer, with pretty pastels or punchy florals. And while the crisp autumn air may not often be associated with wedding bells, fall affords more style choices than any other time of year. TODAY style editor and’s Bobbie Thomas shares how to celebrate in style:

Black-tieWith the requisite tuxedo available for rent or hanging in the closet, the most formal of affairs is the easiest for him. Usually an evening event, the invite request asks for attendees to consider a more conservative, elegant option. This is the occasion to wear a longer dress, but a knee-length choice can also be appropriate. Avoid anything too sheer or showing off too much skin, as this celebration is likely to involve a mix of family, friends and colleagues of the couple. And remember, the color black itself isn't your only option for a black-tie affair. Navy, emerald green, ruby red, plums and purples look particularly regal in classic silhouettes (David Meister One-Shoulder Velvet Gown, $99; A great find and solid buy for those seeking a “go-to” gown is JS Boutique’s Ruched Satin Gown. It’s available in five colors with sizes ranging from petite to plus, and the simple A-line style looks great on all body types for under $100. ($98;

Black-tie optionalWhen you’re not sure how fancy an affair to plan for, opt for luxe fabrics to add a formal touch to the cocktail dress. Velvet, satin, brocade, embroidery, embellishments, overlays and intricate details are not only in season, but en vogue. Striking enough alone, these rich textiles can elevate your look, alleviating the need for added adornment. In fact, it’s best to avoid casual fabrics such as cotton or linen. Heavier, more-structured materials look most polished. Maggy London’s textured metallic dress is the perfect shimmering example of a frock that will weave into a wedding or your upcoming holiday bash ($168,

Casual or festiveKeeping in line with the theme of TODAY’s wedding series this year, “modern” nuptials are increasing in popularity and can take place day or night, and anywhere from a nature preserve to an old-fashioned movie house. Along with these alternative venues comes the question of what to wear. A simple solution is the suit. Yes, you can wear pants to a wedding, so why not invest in an updated, tailored two-piece ensemble if you don't already have one? You could also try pairing a chic black blazer with slim-leg pants and roll the hems up above the ankle for an interesting spin on the traditional suit and to show off a sexy pair of shoes ($39-$99; Instead of jewelry, add a collage of sparkly brooches to the lapel for a fun twist. ($9-$24;, Just be sure to spice things up with a few glamorous accents to avoid a 9-to-5 feel.

Another option is to reinvent your little black dress again — just tie on an embroidered sash to add a decorative detail to your faithful favorite for an instant update. You can easily DIY this idea for dollars. All you’ll need is approximately a yard of trim that can be cut to leave you with a clean edge (see “Trim & Braid” section for examples).