Especially in the summertime, our stores are visited by countless wedding guests, bridesmaids, members of wedding parties and Brides-to-Be looking to us for wedding fashion help. Over the years, I’ve fondly coined a term to refer to interactions with this diverse population: a Wedding Party. We really do try to make these bridal quests as interactive and fun as possible. A party, if you will! Realistically, though, visitors may come in frazzled and clueless about what they should wear. So many unwritten rules – what’s a girl to do?
Here’s where we come in. As a tight-knit crew of people-loving, fashion-adoring ladies, there is one thing that binds us together more than anything: give us a challenge, and you’ve got our full attention. We’re ready with a basketful of questions, tips, tricks and a dressing room on reserve. And a fun fact: Once upon a time, our Queen Bee Chris worked extensively with Bridal consignment.
While in a perfect world, it might be nice to choose wedding attire based on your own preferences, some brides or grooms might have guidelines that they’d like everyone to follow. Find out the basics: Formal or informal? Short or long dresses? Daytime or evening? Indoors or out? If you’re expected to wear a specific color, suggest that the bride provide a paint swatch of the tones she favors best.
This one tends to ease concerns for many of our customers. Many of them are surprised to hear that not only do some weddings allow black before 5 o’clock, it can actually be a main accent in modern day weddings. Some rules will depend on context such as the couple or setting. Before stressing over the details, shoot a quick message to a fellow guest or the lovebirds themselves. Chances are that if you’re close enough with a couple to be invited, they are only going to be flattered at your sensitivity by asking.
This one might appear to be so obvious that it seems silly to mention it. But time and time again, I’ve seen wedding guests search so long and hard for the right thing, they’ll settle on almost anything after awhile. Whether it be too-small shoes, too-tight dresses or styles that don’t suit their personalities, I like to steer them clear of these in favor of an eventual victory. Trust your gut, persevere, and the right thing will appear.
Ladies can be so intent to please a bride or fulfill a wedding expectation that they lose all sense of compromise. Repeat after me: There is always a plan B! Some women are certain that they don’t want a sleeveless dress, for example, so they avoid that rack in the store entirely. However, as we show them some of our pashminas and light jackets, they realize their wealth of options. Another tip? Separates can be just as appropriate as dresses for even formal occasions. One year I spent a lot of time looking for a dress for our staff holiday party, and I ended up finding the solution right in my closet: my favorite pair of burgundy high-waisted, super wide-leg dress pants and a metallic black sleeveless top.
No two tastes are alike. Some ladies would argue, “It’s all about the shoes.” Others: “It’s all about the dress.” And so on. So who’s right? Well, in a word, everyone. Beyond the a plus b plus c equals an outfit, there will always be that extra intangible: Style. Sometimes it’s a bold scarf, a neon pair of patent heels, elegant jeweled earrings or an ornately-beaded shrug. Other times it’s an heirloom clutch that makes you feel close to home. If you know something makes you feel good, shoot to incorporate that in the mix. And if you have yet to discover it, there’s nothing better than the treasure chest of women’s consignment on the map of What Am I Going to Wear?!