Fashion editor Pam Davis shakes up the wedding wear scene

It’s a wonderful feeling when a heavy white envelope lands on your doormat containing an invitation to a wedding. We usually have one or two of these marked on the calendar in the spring, and before we know it our diaries are filled with wedding dates for the rest of the year.

I adore weddings! It’s another chance to dress to impress all day long. Though, deciding what to wear is a challenge in itself. We are all creatures of habit, many of us opting for the traditional suit with matching tie for the men, and pretty floral dresses with matching wide brimmed hats for the ladies. But it’s 2016; it’s time to change things up a little bit!

Ask yourself:

  1. Whose wedding is it? Are you within the immediate wedding party, bridesmaid, best man or are you a family member?
  2. What kind of wedding will it be? Weddings and themes can be so varied nowadays, it is really important to find out exactly what is planned and if there is a dress code.
  3. What is your role? How much will you be required to do? Have you been invited to the whole day or just the evening? Your role will determine your attire. Do you have a long walk to the church or reception? Staying comfortable is just as important as looking great.
  4. What is the weather going to be like? It’s impossible to predict the weather at any time of the year, especially in the UK so plan for all eventualities!

Now you have an idea of what kind of event that you are going to, and your role, you can start planning your outfits.

Just because the dress code is strict it doesn’t mean that you have to shed all your personality: be creative and remain true to your personal style. Never wear yellow in your everyday wardrobe? Then don’t wear it for a wedding!

Think about your outfit as a very special extension of what you’d wear to a really nice party. Too many people try to go so far removed from what suits them because of the enormity of the day. Try on everything together; dress, shoes and all the accessories. Seeing the outfit together can avert an on-the-day disaster – you’d be surprised how many people don’t do this.

Wedding wear no-nos

  • Do NOT leave everything until the last minute
  • Do NOT wear white
  • Do NOT wear flip-flops, shorts or trainers
  • Do NOT upstage the bride or groom

The gents

Like most dress codes these days, the rules at weddings are much more versatile than they once were. Pay particular attention to the cut and material of the suit. A two or three piece suit is the ultimate all rounder. Choose the right fabric – lightweight materials like cotton and linen blends will serve you well for the day through until the evening. Off the peg is fine, it’s all about the fit, as long as you have a well fitting suit you can style it up!

Don’t be afraid to wear separates – knowing your shape and style will enable you to choose the correct pieces for the complete outfit. An example of this could be tailored trousers combined with a tweed blazer, shirt and silk tie.

Spring and summer weddings, daytime weddings, and those held in tropical locations all demand a dress code that is much less starched, yet retains certain chicness. Much of the change happens in the material and structure of the suit, rather than the style itself.

For men, spring is the perfect time to subtly experiment with colour—not too hot for dark hues and not too cold for pastels and neons. Layer brightly coloured shirts under lightweight suit jackets and accessories with slim ties or bold patterned socks. There are so many subtle ways for men to add colour to their looks, so there’s no excuse for a straight black-and-white ensemble.

When it comes to autumn, winter and country weddings, a blazer would be appropriate. Team it with a quirky pair of cufflinks and pocket square, it will give a stylish look. A great pair of shoes, like brogues, can complement the entire look so make sure they are a versatile colour and style. Don’t underestimate the effect of mixing and matching textures and patterns – pair a slightly heavier wool suit with a silk tie and don’t be afraid to wear some colour!

The ladies

Some great alternative looks include using bold colours to your advantage – a bold mid-length skirt with a blouse will work well. Complete the look with neutral accessories for instant glamour. Prefer a retro kinda feel? A knee-length cocktail dress never goes out of style. Love the catwalk look? Choose a simple, show-stopping piece like a silhouette dress with a stole and fabulous fascinator. A simple prom-like dress can give a stylish and polished look. Stick to one colour and use accessories in a different hue to add a sassy twist. A fan of floor length gowns? This is one of the most popular looks for weddings; maxi dresses should feel glamorous, with lots of colour and subtle print. Ditch the flip-flops, add a stylish pair of heels, a fab fascinator and a bag. For a perfectly poised, elegant look, a tiered dress will hit the spot.

For a summer wedding, light pastel, lace and chiffon fabrics work well with ruffles. Team with a simple bag, matching hat and killer heels. If dresses really aren’t your style, glow with confidence in a trouser suit. Pull off the look with bold prints, stripes, cigarette pants, killer heels and big corsages.