Maintaining appearances at summer weddings for every style and budget
By Sarah Rammos
Traditional wedding attire usually conjures images of stiff jackets and long puffy gowns, which can spell disaster when temperatures rise. Thankfully, sticking to tradition is not a priority at Equally Wed. Read on for clothes that will make sure brides, grooms, brooms and the wedding party all look their best on the big day.
Every bride wants to glow on her wedding day, but that glow should be from happiness, not sweat. Certain fabrics and styles of bridal gowns are better suited to keeping you cool and comfortable everywhere from a beachside ceremony to a packed dance floor. We went to the experts to find out which dresses work the best.
“Taffeta or silk tissue taffeta are light fabrics great for summer,” says Christina DeMarco, general manager of Bridal Reflections in New York City. “Strapless dresses with sweetheart necklines have been very popular, as have fitted dresses, textured fabrics and draping, or using brooches as accents.” For this style, DeMarco suggested gowns by Italian-born, Argentinian-raised designer Ines DiSanto.
“The other extreme,” says DeMarco, “is silk chiffon, Greek-inspired dresses.” These flowing, A-line dresses with their crisscrossed bodices or slits in the skirts are fantastic, airy styles for summer. Romona Keveza’s gowns are a good example of this type of design.
Simone Salen, general manager of the Jessica McClintock bridal salon in Las Vegas, recommends “anything light that is easy to wear.” Salen also suggests chiffon dresses, but adds, “You can’t go wrong with empire styles.”
Overall, what brides should keep in mind is to stick to dresses that breathe and allow room for movement. If a dress is constricting or too clingy, the heat may become too much. But if you take DeMarco and Salen’s suggestions into account, you’ll be able to stay beautiful and glowing from the vows to the getaway car.
SIMPLY THE VEST
A suit is always an easy way for men and women to look polished and pulled together, but come summer and a whole lot of sweat, you’re probably figuring out that all those layers probably aren’t the best idea. The fastest way to lighten up is to cut down on the number of individual garments you have on. Instead of wearing a long-sleeved dress shirt, a vest and a jacket, select pieces you can wear without the others.
Lightweight cotton shirts work well for the first layer. If the wedding is casual, pick one that can be worn without a jacket. Calvin Klein sells thin cotton shirts in black and white; the black ones have long sleeves designed to be rolled up, while the white ones are thinner and slightly sheer, similar to guayaberas.
If the event is semi-formal, try a cotton suit jacket paired with slacks instead of dress pants. The jackets sold at Express tend to be cut a bit narrower, so women may be able to fit into them without tailoring. J Crew also sells lightweight jackets for men and women in grays and whites that are more comfortable than the traditional black.
For a formal event where only a suit will do, tans and creams work well in the summer. Men’s Wearhouse offers several styles of suits and lighter tuxedos that can be customized in a variety of ways with accents like vests, ties, pocket squares and socks. But with suits, the most important thing to keep in mind is how it fits. Find a good tailor, and get each piece altered to fit your body perfectly. Even an expensive suit will look cheap if it is ill fitting.
AS FOR THE REST OF YOU
Contrary to popular opinion, bridesmaids’ dresses usually don’t look bad on purpose. But finding one dress that flatters everyone and fits the season can be challenging. Convertible dresses are an easy solution to this common problem. These versatile dresses have straps that can be tied in dozens of ways, from strapless to halter to cap-sleeved. The limitless number of options guarantees that bridesmaids will be able to find a fit for every body type and degree of modesty.
Victoria’s Secret sells three styles of convertible dresses, and all are made from the same lightweight cotton jersey. The ‘Daytime’ dress is A-lined with an asymmetric hem, and falls to about the knees. For a sexier look, choose the ruched dress, which is fitted through a slightly longer hemline. The ‘Flirty’ dress offers an asymmetrical hem that falls to the ankles. And if you don’t want to wear a dress, they also have a convertible jumpsuit. These options are budget-friendly, with most coming in under $100.
But what happens if your wedding colors are not, shall we say, commercial? Twobirds Bridesmaid has you covered. It offers 18 shades and the ability to create any custom color you come up with. The ‘Classic’ version is similar to Victoria’s Secret’s.
Twobirds also offers a ‘Rosette’ style, with hand-sewn rosettes along the hemline, and a ‘Two-Toned,’ where the straps are a different color than the skirt. The price of each style varies, and longer ones are more expensive, but all of Twobirds’ dresses are less than $400.
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