If you're dreading purchasing another dress to wear to your eighth wedding this summer, we get you—wedding season is a lot to handle. There's no shame in re-wearing outfits from one event to another, and you can pretty much wear any dress of your choosing so long that it is appropriate for a wedding. That last part is important, as there are a number of different outfit mishaps that often occur at weddings, the pros say. To ensure you don't make a fashion misstep, we chatted with four stylists to find out what you can and can't wear as a guest this summer. Here are their best suggestions on what to avoid.
Anything that even resembles white.
You know the drill—the bride should be the only one wearing white at the wedding. This includes every color that could potentially be considered in the white family, such as cream, bone, ivory, beige, and off-white. The one and only exception to this rule is if the bride and groom are having a "white-themed wedding" and request that their guests wear the hue. Still, even in this case, Ali Levine, celebrity stylist, fashion expert, and TV personality, warns guests never to wear anything that looks like a wedding dress.
If you're thinking of pulling a throwback to that iconic Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake denim moment, don't. "Save your jeans for the backyard BBQ! Jeans are not welcome at a wedding no matter how casual it is," says Toni Ferrara, a celebrity stylist who's dressed Kim Kardashian, Matthew McConaughey, and Kate Beckinsale. "It's just not a fabric that is meant to have a wedding moment." Make sure your date knows this, too.
Anything too revealing.
Style experts agree that all eyes should be on the bride. "Drawing attention to you in a 'sexual' way is disrespectful in my opinion," says Rayne Parvis, a certified Style Coach, personal stylist, media personality and author of Ultimate Guide to Style: From Drab to Fab!. She recommends staying away from anything too tight, that reveals too much cleavage, or with a completely open back. "A great rule of thumb is to accentuate one body part in a respectful way, not all three; cleavage, legs, and back," she adds. Mayes agrees, adding, "Not only will your outfit be frowned upon, but you just may fall right out of that extremely plunging neckline."
Levine recommends wearing colors that are in-line with the summer season, so keep your orange-, auburn- and maroon-colored gowns in the closet until fall and winter. "Certain colors, fabrics, and aesthetics tell us it's summer and makes us feel a certain way about that season," she says. "Do not show up wearing fall colors and heavy fabrics in June, July, or August."
A dress that matches the wedding colors.
Unless you're in the wedding party, Parvis warns against intentionally wearing colors to match. "If you're not a bridesmaid and you show up dazzling in the same color, it will appear you're trying to be part of the wedding party versus a guest," she says. "You'll get questions and confusing looks."
An oversized hat.
Sure, you hate it when the sun's in your eyes, but that's what sunglasses are for. Leave your oversized hats out of the equation when it comes to selecting your wedding attire. "Excessively large hats may block the view of the other guests, especially if you are seated in the front row," says Ty-Ron Mayes, a celebrity stylist who appeared on America's Next Top Model. "If you do not want to wear a smaller hat, consider a fascinator. Your sense of style and appropriateness will be well received."
Anything too casual.
It might be hot, or even a beach-themed wedding, but leave your poolside attire where it belongs. "Unless the bride and groom tells you in the invitation to bring a change of casual clothing, or that it is a casual affair, stay nicely dressed," says Levine. The same goes for your shoes. "Leave sandals at home—even if they're beautiful."