Recently, a dress took the Internet by storm. Raising questions of decorum and morality, and even threatening friendships in the process. And it wasn't because we couldn't decide what colour it was, but because some seemed to think the act of wearing it was contextually belligerent.
The piece in question? A snug-fitting gown by designer Eli Mizrahi’s label, Mônot. There wasn’t much of it (with its cut out design) and when it graced the runways, we knew it was only a matter of time before it graced some supermodel at Nobu. But where we certainly did not expect to see it was at a wedding.
Cue: Kendall Jenner as a bridesmaid at her friend Laura Perez's nuptials in said cut out dress. Showing off her lean figure in... well, not much, the model's choice of attire left many puzzled. Mixed reviews aside, what the debate really came down to was whether or not the bride would mind. After all, surely Jenner would check in with the rest of the bridal party if she was planning on getting her navel out? Or, does she not need to?
Weddings are a bit of a spectacle, and dressing for them isn’t always straightforward. The brief calls for a little more than your go-to dinner attire, but you don’t want to detract from the happy couple. Throw in a vague dress code, unpredictable weather and a rowdy dancefloor, and the outfit ideas slip further and further away. Let alone all the unspoken rules that seem to evade celebrities.
So since wedding season is quickly approaching, we thought we’d get some clarification on what exactly we need to know about dressing as a guest at a wedding. Below, head our advice on the dos and don'ts of appropriate wedding guest attire.
Can you wear black or white to a wedding?
LBDs are a staple in everyone's wardrobes, but for weddings, they can be hit or miss. Though it's chic as hell, the colour is typically associated with mourning, so some people may not enjoy its presence at their nuptials. However, the symbolism is a little more grey in 2021. For the most part, it's acceptable, unless, and we really don't know where this rule came from, but the only exception to being able to wear black is if you happen to be an ex of one of the betrothed. Then the tone becomes a bit... sour.
White, on the other hand, is widely considered a no-no. And if you're holding your outfit up to the light to sus whether it's actually more of a 'bone' or 'eggshell', it's probably best to just leave it.
What shouldn't you wear to a wedding?
There aren't really and hard-and-fast rules, and it really does come down to the individual couple. But for the most part, there is such a thing as making too much of a statement. When shopping as a guest, think practically. Look to classic silhouettes, avoiding voluminous trains that encroach on other peoples' seats.
And, though it can be tough to shop as a bigger-busted person or taller, plunging necklines and micro hemlines can often be considered as boasting too much skin. The reality is that it's just not the time or place to be making a statement about your personal views on dressing. As for how short is too short? Well, it's always worth a sit-down test. If you can peep your knickers when sitting down or bending over slightly, then it might be worth swapping out for more coverage.
Of course, if you genuinely believe the couple and their family won't care one bit about what you wear, then, by all means, sashay away in that plunging micro.
What are wedding dress codes?
The key to decoding the dress code usually lies in the location. Is it being held in a church? On a beach? In their parents' backyard? Generally, there will be
White tie: The top tier of formal dressing. Think of what you would wear to meet the Queen at dinner. It's a fairly uncommon wedding dress code, but better to be in the know of what it means.
Black tie: This is generally held for evening events, and includes the kind of outfits you may expect to see on a Golden Globes red carpet — formal, but still something you can dance in. A floor-length dress or suiting should suffice.
Cocktail: This means that there is some level of formality to the event, but you don't need to look like a James Bond character. Midi dresses and jumpsuits work here, just steer clear of more casual fabrics like linen, etc.
Smart casual: Ah, smart casual. You've likely been confused by this dress code before. While many can have their own different variations of this genre, we like to think of it as something you'd wear to a dinner or brunch if you knew you were going to run into someone you wanted to look good for. Here, a more casual dress or trousers with a dressy top may work.
Themed: If there's a theme, stick to it. No questions asked. Even if you don't really care to dress as an Elvish queen from Lord of the Rings, it's your pal's day, and we simply must abide.
For the less traditional bride, anything may go — but it's always worth checking in, just like Cara Delevigne did before wearing a royal protocol-breaking three-piece suit to Princess Eugenie's wedding.