In 2015, the Telegraph reported that one in five women would ‘happily wear white to a wedding’ which might come as a shock to the traditionalists amongst us who stand by the notion that this should be saved exclusively for the bride. But where does that leave us with tailoring? Are jumpsuits expected to follow suit? Two years on, the rules have become even more relaxed, and as weddings themselves stray further from what we know to be traditional, so does the dress code. Not only has white become more of a viable option for guests, but so has its polar opposite; black. Here, we look at ways to wear one, the other, and both at once in a way that remains respectful and considered.
The rules of what you can and can't wear to a wedding are changing, but is it ok to wear black or white to your next event?
1. Consider the nature of your invite
Day or evening, black tie or relaxed affair, there’s a host of styles of wedding that you might be invited to over the course of the year, and with each comes a slightly different dress code. Evening invites are the perfect opportunity to wear head-to-toe black if you’re so inclined. Off-the-shoulder and strapless designs provide an elegant way to showcase a little extra skin and slot seamlessly into a high-summer rotation despite the darker hue. Keep make-up light and accessories minimal to stay in-keeping with the season’s less-is-more aesthetic.
2. Steer clear of lace
Usually a clear winner when it comes to occasionwear designs, lace is the key fabrication to avoid when it comes to wearing white to a wedding, with silk coming in at a close second. If the season’s bevvy of beautifully crafted white lace designs are too much to resist, save your investment for an alternative occasion such as the races or a garden party invite and embrace the fresh colour palette guilt-free by teaming it with nude accessories.
3. Add a splash of colour
This rule refers more closely to white than is does to black, as it’s a sure way to differentiate your outfit from that of the bride, especially if you go for something undeniably bold like red. Accessories are a quick win here, and a colour-pop shoe is not only a sure way to abide by the rules but it will also inject an element of playfulness into your look. Printed dresses and jumpsuits with a white or black base are a good compromise if you’re not confident enough to opt for block-colour alternatives.
4. Floor length is a no
White and black both fall under the same umbrella when it comes to rules on length but for different reasons. A white maxi dress is a bold choice at the best of times but we’re of the opinion that it’s too much of a statement for any wedding guest. Why? For the simple reason that yes, it probably will look a little like you’re trying to steal some of the bride’s spotlight. When it comes to black, mini length dresses make for a chic option and fare well in summer months whilst longer silhouettes may be best saved for winter’s black tie events. If you're keen to go full-length, opt for navy instead – it's just as sophisticated but a little more summer-relevant.
5. Call judgment on the bride
If you’ve been invited to share in someone’s wedding day then the chances are that you know them pretty well. Use your intuition and your judgment to work out whether or not they’re of a traditionalist or a more modern mindset with relation to the day. Failing that – just ask. If you’re having second thoughts about the levels of appropriateness, the obvious answer would be to choose any other colour (they're not in short supply after all), but there’s nothing wrong with checking with the couple. Just be ready with a back-up plan incase the answer’s not what you hoped for.