Finding appropriate wedding guest attire is not an easy task. About.com’s Nina Callaway includes a long list of don’ts in her article on wedding guest attire etiquette.
- White. (This rule has relaxed some, and you can get away with wearing a printed dress with a white background and some cream colored clothing. Just be careful not to upstage the bride.)
- Black to a daytime wedding
- Anything too sexy or revealing
- Anything torn, with holes, stained, too big or too small for you!
- Anything sleeveless or strapless to a religious wedding. Bring a wrap to cover your shoulders.
And then there are the costs involved in finding a dress, heels, and accessories (hat, shawl, handbag, and jewellery).
So how does one dress inoffensively well without dipping into the mortgage redraw facility? While brides might don ‘something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue’* for good fortune on her special day, wedding guests can adopt a similar approach to save themselves a silver sixpence.
- Something old
If your wardrobe is anything like mine, it is a land of lost dresses, shoes, and accessories. Explore uncharted regions to rediscover old favourites and items never worn before.
- Something new
It’s okay to purchase new pieces occasionally as these will rejuvenate your wardrobe. Look for versatile investments that can be worn for different occasions over several seasons. I usually choose vintage pieces: unique, timeless, and well-constructed, these beauties will never get stuffed into a donation bin.
- Something borrowed
For hygiene or personal reasons, people are reluctant to borrow or lend out clothes and shoes even though it makes economic sense to borrow outfits that can only be worn once. So if the sensation of someone else’s threads sliding over your skin gives you the heebie jeebies, why not borrow something less intimate/intimidating such as a necklace or shawl? Before you do so, do read up on some borrower’s etiquette.
19 years and 7 months to go,
*Until the 19th century, blue was the bridal colour of choice (via Weddingbee).