We all laughed when Vince Vaughn told Owen Wilson: “It’s wedding season, kid!” in “The Wedding Crashers,” but for some of you little magpies out there, the slew of upcoming weddings leaves you a little less than tickled, at least in the sartorial sense: it means you need a lot of dresses — and pronto. And so, in response to a number of vehement requests for ideas on what to wear to a summer wedding (or ten) — here it is. (This one’s for you, Ms. In-the-Know.)
I’ll begin with some crowd pleasers that will work in a variety of contexts — metropolitan/rustic, indoor/outdoor, etc. But first, let me reiterate the ground rule: do not wear white, ivory, or anything that could be vaguely referenced as such. It’s poor etiquette. Also, “wedding” does not equal “prom” — free yourself of that association and go for fresh, summery fashion. With that base-line established, let’s take a look at this perfect, almost-navy Catherine Malandrino ($575, Net-A-Porter — and I promise all of the dresses won’t be this highly-priced, but I wanted to begin on a HIGH note):
It’s versatile color-wise (could work into the evening) but still young and fresh-looking. Love. Check out the back at Net-A-Porter — so elegant. On to the next: a sweet summer dream of a dress from J. Crew, “The Galette” ($285, J. Crew — order by tonight and you’ll qualify for free shipping, which actually counts when it comes to J. Crew — their rates are steep!):
Who wouldn’t look flattered in that soft pink color? In the market for something a bit more festive — perhaps appropriate for a urban affair at a posh hotel? Go for the gold in this brocade Milly ($475, Net-A-Porter):
The dress would do the talking for you. For a similar pattern with a bit less bling, I love the neckline on this coral-gold brocaded Carmen Marc Valvo ($363, Bluefly):
Lovely, polished, and appropriate, whether you’re sitting in a country club adirondack or on a stool at the Ritz hotel. (Also appropriate for a number of different age groups given the demure cut of the dress, and could easily be “dressed up” with some stunning gold sandals or “dressed down” with a nude or blush-toned peep-toe.) If you’re “wedded” to the idea of an LBD (let’s face it — sometimes you just want one), try something a little out of the ordinary. I lovelovelove the rosettes on this precious little thing by Marc Jacobs (on sale at Shopbop in limited sizes for $299; full-price elsewhere):
I’m also loving the asymmetrical look for this season. Consider this Milly (on sale for $213, Bergdorf Goodman — full price through Net-A-Porter for $355):
Or, alternately, this shirred Shoshanna, which I tried on at Neiman’s and foolishly passed up — it fit like a dream and turned me into an insta-sophisticate (I suddenly threw my shoulders back and tossed my hair). You can still find it in limited sizes on sale at Bergdorf Goodman ($210):
With a little hard-case clutch and some amazing heels? To die for. One final thought on the LBD: I don’t know if I’ve been watching too many 80s movies but I’m mildly obsessed with the whole mesh-covered-shoulder look, and have been essentially begging someone to tell me I need to buy a new black dress so that I can snag this David Lerner ($226, The Trend Boutique):
I don’t know what it is about that style that I love so much — sexy but still demure? Whatever it is, Halle Berry drives the point home here:
If you’re ready and willing to test some color (my mom would be proud), consider this cheerful melon-colored asymmetrical dress by Thread Social ($485, Thread Social):
Into the color but can do without the price tag? I discovered an awesome preppy summer dress label at the Landon High School’s Azalea Festival a few weeks back — Britt Ryan. I haven’t been able to locate much of her stuff online, but she has a knack for preppy-perfect colors and prints in adorable designs. This conservatively-cut cantaloupe-colored dress could be just your number ($232, Red Dress Boutique):
If you like that cut, check out this Yoana Baraschi dress (on sale for $197, Blue Heaven Boutique — also comes in “grenadine” red/pink and jade):
For a similar style in a more universally flattering color, check out this hot pink (almost Barbie pink) “cummerbund” cocktail dress by Shoshanna ($305, Lord & Taylor — a little pop up informs me that you can get 20% off any item, even items on sale, with the code SIMPLE):
While we’re on the subject of my favorite color, this strapless sweetheart neckline Rebecca Taylor could be the world’s most perfect party dress (hence it’s name: “Perfect Party” Mini Dress — $350, Net-A-Porter):
Personally, though, I’m head over heels for this soft lilac Phoebe Couture. I mentioned it in an earlier post, and have not forgotten about it since — and now it’s sold out in my size everywhere:
If you’re lucky, you can snag one of the final few on sale for $210 at Neiman’s. I’ll be jealous. It just looks like a fresh pink peony (my absolute favorite flower).
Back to the task at hand: wedding guest attire. For the bolder magpies out there, I’ve been saving this dress in my little cache of inspirational looks for awhile, but have had a difficult time determining just where I’d wear it. I’m thinking a wedding where creativity is encouraged might be just the ticket. (You can generally get a sense for the level of formality and…um…stuffiness once the invitation arrives.) This watercolor-striped gray-scale dress by Thread Social is uber chic for the season ($485, Thread Social — there’s also a lovely boatneck sheath version, but it doesn’t pop as much):
Another bold move? This mint-green, star-spangled Milly sweetheart neckline dress. Adorable! ($219, Bergdorf Goodman):If patterns aren’t your “bag,” I managed to snag this little cobalt blue Shoshanna dress (with a built-in necklace! — can’t beat that!) in-store at Neiman’s for an ultra-low $111! I haven’t been able to find it at that price online, but Bluefly’s still offering a significant discount ($243, down from $405):
Meanwhile, this ethereal Notte by Marchesa concoction is just about heart-stopping, and it also comes in a sophisticated navy color that might further subdue the fanciful frill along the bottom ($448 down from $748 at Bluefly):
If the event is on the more casual side of things, I’m still bananas over this polka dot frock I featured in my picnic post a few days ago — lovelovelove! It’s by Alice by Temperley ($425, Net-A-Porter):
I featured a similar version by Leifsdottir a few weeks ago — and it’s a touch more affordable ($278, Leifsdottir):
(I’m partial to the brand — it’s Finnish, and so am I.) If, on the other hand, you find yourself in a slightly more formal/conservative environment, this beautifully-designed navy bow-front dress by Kirribilla ($385, Sunday Brunch Dress Shop) will probably prove to be a good investment. You could wear it to a million other events, dressing it down with a cardigan and some kicky pumps or dressing it up with some open-toed shoes. Gorgeous.
Alternately, this Charlotte York-esque navy Charlotte Ronson frock could be right on the money ($315, Bleu Clothing):Mazel tov!