Dress code Dilemmas

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Posted on 4 May 2015
Dress code Dilemmas

I have 4 weddings to go to this year, last year there were 6! Each one with a different (sometimes cryptic) dress code: ‘1920’s Formal’, ‘Christmas Sparkle’, ‘Garden Party Barn Dance’… 

As a personal shopper I am often asked to help decipher these dress codes for my clients and to find them the best outfit for their brief and budget.
If you find yourself with a dress code as unique as one of the ones mentioned above you have either two options: call the bride and ask her to explain (a safe bet), or be brave and wear what you want and hope it’s appropriate. It is a guarantee that everyone will interpret such dress codes differently and there’ll be a comical array of interpretations on the day; but as long as you’ve given it some thought and showed some respect to the occasion you can’t really go wrong!
I have selected a few of the more common dress codes you’re likely to come across and broken down the possibilities of what you can wear:

‘Black tie Optional’ 

Male Guest: I’d suggest you play it safe and wear a tuxedo (such occasions are rare, enjoy the opportunity!) A smart black suit is also appropriate, just don’t think that a 3 year old black work suit will suffice. Subtle,elegant accessories to match, either a bow tie or tie and pocket square. To add a touch of individuality perhaps wear with a discrete patterned silk scarf?
Female Guest: Again, the opportunity to wear a great full length gown or exciting cocktail dress is rare, seize the chance and go all out! Don’t play it safe with an understated dress accessorised with a statement bag and shoes because when you’re dancing later in the evening you’ll have kicked off your shoes and left your bag on the back of your chair. Choose an amazing dress you love and then find the accessories to match.

‘Morning Dress’

Male Guest: Traditional morning jacket, pleated front trousers (grey or westminster stripe), single or double breasted waistcoat (traditionally grey, duck egg blue or camel), double cuff white shirt, personal choice of tie (not a cravat), polished black shoes. - Easy.
Female Guest: Dresses or skirt/top combinations worn with a jacket. Be conscious of how revealing the dress is: hem length/ neckline, accessorise with complimentary bag and shoes. A hat is an easy way to give a conservative outfit a little bit more life and soul (I am personally not a fan of fascinators, but that’s just me!).

‘Dressy Casual’

Male Guest: Arrive at the wedding wearing a suit jacket and tie but know you’ll soon have loosened your tie and taken off your jacket. Seasonally coloured suits are appropriate here as well as separate blazer and smart trouser options. Once the evening party has started you could find yourself dancing in just a shirt and trousers, with this in mind perhaps chose a monk shoe and woven leather belt to give your outfit a little more attention to detail.
Female Guest: The good thing about this dress code is you don’t have to splurge on a dress that you may only wear once. I suggest you wear a skirt and top rather than a dress, meaning you’ll more than likely find an occasion to wear them both again. Your outfit shouldn’t feel too ‘matchy, matchy’, and should still veer towards the ‘dressy’ side of this code.

‘Festival Attire’

Male Guest: Suits are too formal but blazers are still expected, be bold and have fun. A printed shirt and a coloured trouser are all acceptable. Unless wellies are mentioned on the invite don’t presume to bring them, instead wear a smart shoe with some grip on it rather than a leather soled dress shoe.
Female Guest: If there was a dress code for Glastonbury it would be ‘more is more’, with that in mind the worst thing you could do here is play it safe. It’s likely the wedding and most of the festivities will be outside so remember to bring an extra layer (this could be a feather cape or a fringed scarf), long dresses are likely to get dirty so avoid them if possible but be aware chairs maybe replaced with picnic blankets so don’t wear a skirt too short!

If you’ve a wedding coming up and you’re looking for someone to help you find an amazing outfit please get in touch.