I have had quite a lot of you ask me to do a post on what to wear to a summer wedding or event. Now that they are back on (for now), I thought I’d try and oblige so you can be the best dressed guest. I have to confess that I find shopping for a fancy outfit the hardest of all. I think it’s because I hate the thought of spending money on something, knowing that I probably won’t get to wear it that often. I’ve lost count of the amount of things I’ve bought for a specific dressy occasion and then left lingering at the back of the wardrobe, only for me to go off them and then sell them on ebay.
So, my first piece of advice would be to check the back of your wardrobe and try on some things you already have. You might be surprised to find you already have something suitable. Plus, being past season, there’s less chance of someone wearing the same thing as you. That did actually happen at my wedding. Two of my friends turned up in the same Gap dress, even though one had come all the way from the west coast of Canada and the other from south of the river in Battersea.
If you don’t have anything already, then how about checking the rental sites? The last time I went to a big do, I rented a suit from My Wardrobe HQ. It would have cost me over £2k to buy, but was £100 to rent for four days. I know some will not want to spend £100 and have nothing permanent to show for it, but the prices on the rental sites often relate to the original price of the item so, yes, £2k suits are expensive to rent, but you can get a great Rixo or Ganni dress for a lot less. Try these sites:
- For all-round great rentals – Hurr Collective, Hurrcollective.com
- For all types of occasion wear – My Wardrobe HQ, Mywardrobehq.com
- For borrowing someone else’s wardrobe – By Rotation, Byrotation.com
- For excellent accessories – Cocoon Club, Cocoon.club
- For more high-end designer dresses – Rotaro, Rotaro.co.uk
- For a good selection of independent labels – OnLoan, Onloan.co
If you really want to own what you buy, then here are some ideas. Ideally, I would suggest looking for something you can maybe dress down for everyday wear. I just don’t like saving things for best.
THE OUTNET FOR GOING OUT OUT
A really good place to start when looking for out out outfits is the Outnet. Could there be any more ‘outs’ in this sentence? I’m pretty sure most of you are aware of this site. It’s a sister store to Net-A-Porter that sells past season designer clothes at discounted prices. It’s not all massively high-end either. They do a great range of Scandi brands. I’ve bought some excellent dresses from here and I got a Stella McCartney denim skirt a few years back for an absolute steal. Most items are at least 50% off the original price, some up to 70%. If you are a new customer you also get 15% off your first order with code FIRST 15.
1. The Outnet Hoffman Copenhagen wrap effect dress
2. Iris and Ink polka dot crepe midi dress
3. The Outnet BA&SH suede heeled wrap sandals
4. Whistles Hallie strappy heeled sandals
ME + EM FOR GROWN UP OUTFITS
ME + EM is another one of my go-to shops when I’m looking for something smart and classic for an event. The beauty of this brand is that nothing is really too dressy to only wear once. They do REALLY good outfits that can be worn to a wedding one week and then dressed down for everyday wear the next. That ticks my ‘price per wear’ box nicely. Their coordinated blazers and trousers are excellent and really well designed. Their signature dipped-hem dresses are also a favourite of mine.
1. ME + EM fluid pinstripe blazer
2. ME + EM fluid wide leg trousers
3. Regina Pyo gathered leather tote bag
4. ME + EM silk cotton maxi dress
SPOT THE DIFFERENCE
Maybe give your obvious florals a miss and try out some spots instead. This Alessandra Rich dress – as worn by Duchess Kate and Abigail Spencer a few years back – is the absolute dream. I’ve searched to see if it’s on any of the rental sites but alas it is not. The most similar I have found is this jumpsuit from LK Bennett. Spots in general I think can look really classy for an event and there are a lot of styles to choose from right now for all price points.
1. LK Bennett polka dot print silk jumpsuit
2. YSL grained black leather wrist clutch
3. Self Portrait taffeta polka dot dress
4. The Outnet Stuart Weitzman leather sandals
A LITTLE BIT OF LEOPARD
I’m still very much of the opinion that ‘if in doubt, get the leopard print out’. I have one red leopard dress from Ganni that has been to two dinners, one wedding, two parties and the Brit Awards. Here’s hoping it gets to see more fun outings in the coming years. It has served me well. Leopard doesn’t demand much thought. Keep accessories simple, add a blazer and away you go.
1. Hush essential cami top
2. Gucci GG Marmont leather super mini bag
3. The Outent BA&SH satin trim blazer
4. The Outnet Ganni ruffled leopard print skirt
5. Kurt Geiger suede block heel sandals
PRETTY IN PINK
Don’t get me started on the monstrosity that Andie made out of Iona’s vintage prom dress. That aside, ‘Pretty In Pink’ is still one of my favourite films of all time ever, so any excuse to mention it. As an aside, I’ve just finished reading Andrew McCarthy’s book ‘Brat’ about his time in that era. It’s really well written and he confirms what I already thought to be true, that they had to reshoot the ending of ‘Pretty In Pink’ as the test audiences did not like the fact she ended up with Duckie. At that time Andrew McCarthy was in a play on Broadway where he was playing a soldier with a shaved head. They had to hastily make him a wig to reshoot. If the producers had known what a hit that film was going to be for years to come, maybe they might have bought a better wig. Watch the ending again and you’ll see.
1. & Other Stories pink tie shoulder midi dress
2. Oliver Bonas beaded clutch bag
3. The Outnet Iro cream blazer
4. Schuh white heeled padded mules
5. Mango leather bow ballerina flats
ORANGE YOU GLAD YOU CAME
Bonus one, just because liked the pun and these dresses from Warehouse.
1. Warehouse puff sleeve paisley dress
2. & Other Stories gathered leather clutch bag
3. Warehouse cotton maxi dress
4. Schuh pale blue cross strap sandals
I hope this has given you some ideas beyond the obvious ‘floral dress and heels’. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, it’s just all you get served when you type in ‘wedding guest outfits’ on most sites. Now, I am on holiday this coming week, so there may not be a Sunday post. That will wholly depend on the weather in Norfolk and if I get sick of the family and need time alone to write something. At this point your guess is as good as mine.