Let’s first discount music festivals or other such occasions when wellies would be considered part of the dress code. This guide applies to weddings, christenings and the sort of do’s that can induce a mild panic when the dress code is labelled simply ‘smart’ or ‘formal’. The scenario usually goes something like this; invitation arrives six months in advance (I’ll give you some grace on the ‘save-the-date’ a year in advance cards here) and is filed in bottom drawer. A few weeks before event we look in our wardrobes and realise we have nothing to wear and our ‘go-to’ outfit is not fit to go anywhere. We desperately want to avoid the clichéd wedding guest look but we find ourselves uninspired by the offerings from the usual brands and on the brink of buying a ‘nice enough but not fabulous dress’ that we are destined to wear only once. Sound familiar?
If you want to avoid this situation here are a few simple steps you can take to ensure you choose the perfect outfit for you:
1. Search for lesser known brands
The rise of online shopping means that there are lots of amazing smaller brands available that won’t break the bank. Ganni, Essential Anwerp and Kitri are three that spring to mind but there are lots of others so do shop around. Buying from one of these means there is less chance of seeing someone in the same dress.
Kitri yellow dress
2. Think outside the dress box
There are plenty of great alternatives out there to dresses. Separates such as a statement skirts, jumpsuits and let’s not forget the on trend coloured suit, would work just as well.
I often exchange dresses with friends for special occasions. It’s a great way to wear something new without spending money on a whole new outfit especially if it’s a one off event you are going to. There are also places you can hire designer dresses like Oprent.com and Dreamwardrobe.com. Obviously, this option requires you to be on your best behaviour.
Dress for rent on Oprent.com
4. Get creative with accessories
Not only does this add the finishing touch to your outfit it will also put your own unique stamp on it too.
5. Be you
The aim is to not upstage the bride, look smart yet feel comfortable and well, like you. If you are someone who hates wearing dresses or heels etc, you don’t have to compromise on this and spend the whole day feeling awkward. Instead, work from the clothes you like, for example you could wear a trouser suit and dressy flat shoes. Likewise, if you have an intense dislike of hats don’t wear one unless they are compulsory
Wear Uncomfortable Shoes
Don’t be tempted to wear shoes that pinch and convince yourself that ‘it’s okay as I won’t be walking far.’ During the day you will be doing lots of standing and, if the mood takes you, maybe even some dancing. Kicking off uncomfortable shoes and scuffling from an event bare foot at the end of the evening will not be your finest look, although we’ve all been there!
2. Ignore Ill-Fitting Garments
It doesn’t matter how much you spend on an outfit, if it doesn’t fit properly your efforts will be wasted. Sometimes there is no magic solution off the peg and unless you are buying couture, I would advise you to make friends with your local tailor/seamstress. A sleeve, hem or waistline altered to fit correctly will make all the difference.
3. Forget to check the dress code – most weddings have fairly broad dress codes but other events such as race days are stricter depending on which enclosure you are in. Click on the link for more details on Royal Ascot’s dress code and always check with the hosts if you are not sure https://www.ascot.co.uk/what-to-wear/royal-ascot/royal-enclosure
4. Ever think flip flops or jeans are appropriate – even Mark Zuckerburg had to play sartorial ball when he met congress. Even if you think clothing is a frivolous concern remember this is not about how you feel so much as respecting your hosts. If you turn up looking like you can’t be bothered then they may well think you are disrespecting them personally.
5. Forget to enjoy it – at the end of the day these events are meant to be fun so whatever you choose to wear, once you get to the event don’t give it a second thought. We come in all shapes and sizes so don’t start comparing yourself to the Giselle lookalike. Oh, and remember to pack a safety pin as that could be worth more to you than a pair of Manolas on the day!
If you would like a helping hand to choose an outfit for a summer event please get in touch. Sally has spent 27 years in women’s fashion and will cut through the minefield of knowing what styles flatter you, those to ditch and where to shop. Her aim is to help you discover and develop your own personal style, make the best of your image and ultimately feel confident in yourself.