As a wedding guest, often we get tripped up on our own style and start second guessing ourselves. Is it acceptable to wear black to a Summer wedding? Can I wear black to a beach wedding? Is wearing black to a wedding a fashion faux pas? Is it bad luck to wear black to a wedding?
To put it simply: It's always acceptable to wear a black dress to a wedding unless you are told otherwise.
Black is basically one of our stylist's everyday uniform, so scouting these black dresses was a facile task.
When It's White Tie
Dressier than a black tie wedding is the white tie wedding. A step up from the black tie affair, it wouldn't be crazy to compare the dress code to that of a royal wedding. Ladies, an off the shoulder ball gown showing décolletage is typical, and you should really consider wearing a pair of long white gloves to underscore your white tie compliance.
Here are our picks for this hyper formal wedding dress code:
A refined and affordable off the shoulder dress by Carmen Marc Valvo:
Teri John's embellished off the shoulder tulle beaded mermaid maxi dress:
Don't forget the white gloves, which by the way, will only make your ensemble look 10x better.
When It's Black Tie
An invitation that reads 'black tie required' shouldn't scare you off. Now more than ever contemporary brands are producing budget friendly maxi gowns aka wedding guest dresses. And of course you already know they are coming in waves of black.
Here we used Shop It To Me to find these black tie dresses— along with every other dress in this article. Shop It To Me is a sale alert shopping service, and an online tool (also available as an App) that aggregates your favorite designers, sizes, and preferences into one convenient place— and then sends you an email the second your favorites price-drop so that you can snag them before everyone else. It's also 100% free to use, so we can appreciate that.
Floor-length and tea-length dresses are acceptable in the black tie world and if you have a tea-length black dress you should take advantage of the situation. In the event that you don't, use our picks for inspiration.
There's something so sensual and elegant about a silk slip dress that it should be a staple in every woman's closet. Drape a shawl or faux fur stole over your slip dress for added pep and comfort.
Don't be afraid to take your dress choice in the classic direction. If you're not impressed with all the froufrou— it's okay, some of the best style icons prefer sleek over showy.
That said, when you find an impeccably beaded dress, you need to show it off:
When It's Cocktail Attire
Cocktail attire is exactly what you think it is— showing up in a cocktail dress. This type of wedding attire can also be referred to as 'festive'.
Normally a mini or midi dress, festive cocktail attire looks like this:
The sweetheart neckline on this Chiara Boni La Petite Robe black dress is so convincing. We fall for it every time.
When an illusion sleeve is done right it's so alluring:
Dress this black Milly mini up with accessories (shoes, bag, jewelry):
When It's Semi-Formal
You might as well go more formal than semi. We'd recommend going with a cocktail dress, a sheath dress, or a jumpsuit. Semi-formal basically reads the same as "cocktail attire".
A little black jumpsuit done right by Susana Monaco:
We love anything by Norma Kamali, she really knows how to accentuate a woman's body:
Don't forget that your nails are an accessory. Try these tried and true Essie nail polish colors that have literally stood the test of time.
When It's A Beach Wedding
A beach wedding doesn't always equate to informal. There are many beach weddings that call for formal attire, just make sure to read your invitation correctly. Also, be mindful of the heat and sand, so we suggest lightweight or cotton fabrics and nothing that has a train.
We would pair this organic Eileen Fisher cotton black maxi dress with bright accessories to make a statement that we put effort into our wedding ensemble. We love lavender so we chose Carolina Herrera's oversized buckle belt with Elizabeth Cole's 24 karat gold plated statement earrings.
When attending a beach wedding we either wear dressy flat sandals or heels and just take the heels off for the outside beach ceremony. Sometimes there's a dance floor, a reception inside, etc, so heels aren't always a no-no.
Stylist Tip: bring 2 pairs of shoes (1 flats, 1 heels) and keep one with the establishment's concierge when arriving and switch when necessary.
Also, check the fabric content of the dress you're thinking of purchasing. Is the fabric breathable? Is it good in the heat? Just Google these things, because trust us, they're not going to come naturally!
P.S. Don't forget to wear your sunglasses! It's acceptable and going to be very necessary.
When It's Casual
It's still a wedding and we definitely recommend wearing a nice dress. We actually wrote a piece on What To Wear To A Summer Wedding and there's a really informative section referring to casualness.
We recommend wearing a shorter black dress when the invite reads casual. We always prefer to wear a dress over a skirt and top option because it's uncomplicated and easier to make happen. We also prefer a looser fitting dress for a casual wedding.
LoveShackFancy always gives us the feels, especially when it comes to their floral prints:
This Michael Kors beaded polka dot dress is too perfect:
Be the best dressed wedding guest
This just goes to show you that black is a universally acceptable color anywhere, anytime. Even on the beach, we can always make black work.
We hope we kept you entertained and amused when reading this article— in a good way.
If you want to up your fashion game / increase your fashion knowledge, please check back in with us here, to stay in-the-know.