There’s just something about a fresh start that makes us want to put our best self forward. So for weddings, the ultimate in new beginnings, we like to pull out all the stops. We’ve asked some of the most stylish women we know to weigh in on what makes for perfect summer wedding style. Then, we teamed up with dressbarn to create a cheat sheet for you. Here you’ll find the tips and designs that you need to feel great and hit the dance floor in style.
1. It's OK To Layer
Just because it’s summertime, doesn’t mean you have to go sleeveless. In fact, you can expect most venues to pump the AC so that even on the balmiest day, the ballroom will still feel like an icebox. Dresses with sleeves are an easy way to avoid the chill, but most ladies agree you can’t go wrong with a tailored jacket, a cozy pashmina or a chic cardigan to look extra cool, and not the least bit cold.
"A great blazer is key for an unpredictable evening -- or day! Choose something in a rich fabric like silk or angora to keep the look elevated. Go for something cropped, or long and oversized; anything in between will feel too business-y." – Natalie Decleve, 32, New York, N.Y., Natty Style
“Always carry a pashmina wrap. Something in a light gray matches everything and can be used in all seasons. A cropped cashmere cardigan with pearl buttons would also be cute.” – Ilina Ewen, 47, Raleigh, N.C., Dirt & Noise
“Nothing looks sexier than a sharp blazer over an ultrafeminine evening dress and freezing wedding venues are the best excuse for trying this idea." – Lauren Ciaccia, Senior Fashion Editor at Stylight
Wrap: Diane Von Furstenberg
Shoes: Kendall + Kylie
2. Lace Is Major Marriage Material
This fabric isn’t just for wedding dresses; in a cheery hue, it’s the perfect pick for guests as well. With the right accessories, a lace dress can range from elegant to boho and work for just about any venue, from ballroom to backyard.
“Lace dresses are a gorgeous trend right now and are perfect for wedding attire. I would accessorize a lace dress with a simple nude pump or sandal, a classic clutch and a beautiful chandelier earring.” – Jill Gott Gleason, 37, Grand Rapids, Mich., Good Life For Less
“I'd opt for a dress in a light peachy-pink or blush color -- it brings out a natural glow and is flattering to a wide range of skin tones.” – Rita Templeton, 35, Huron, Ohio, Fighting Frumpy
“By adding a pair of boots or booties to a lace dress, the look goes from fancy to free-spirited. Fringed accessories or a long pendant necklace up the boho factor even more." – Natalie Decleve, 32, New York City, NY, Natty Style
“I'd avoid anything dainty or anything that can snag the lace. Avoid a studded or beaded bag for this very reason.” – Ilina Ewen, 47, Raleigh, NC, Dirt & Noise
Necklace: Lulu Frost
Shoes: Schutz Shoes
Bracelet: Kenneth Jay Lane
3. Play With Prints
Weddings and flowers just go together. Hello, bouquets! Which may be why most women agree that if you’re planning to wear a patterned dress, floral is the way to go. Colorful blooms are an easy way to inject a playful energy into your look.
“A floral dress is a great alternative for spring and summer weddings. It's not only seasonally appropriate, but can be very fun and festive too! Remember, this is the bride and groom’s joyous day. As a guest it's important to reflect that.” – Jill Gott Gleason, 37, Grand Rapids, Mich., Good Life For Less
“Black dresses are an easy go-to, but florals are a current favorite. I am also a fan of anything pink!” – Marissa Evans, 32, New York, HiSawyer
“Consider summery colors like yellow, turquoise or lilac. Pastels work well on hot days when the sun is shining.” – Meredith Hale, 39, Sleepy Hollow, N.Y.
Shoes: Selfridges & Co.
4. Comfort Is King
Whether it’s shoes that make you want to be a dancing queen or a dress that lets you enjoy every bite of wedding cake, most women agree that when it comes to choosing a winning wedding outfit, comfort reigns supreme.
“Don't wear anything you can't sit in or dance in. Style and comfort are not mutually exclusive, but shop for what you feel good in, not what some magazine says.” – Ilina Ewen, 47, Raleigh, N.C., Dirt & Noise
“I [feel and look my best] in nude shoes, be it flats or heels; my shoe collection is pretty much all beige.” – Marissa Evans, 32, New York, HiSawyer
“Kitten heels add a bit of lift to make your legs look great, but not too much so your feet hurt.” – Ilina Ewen, 47, Raleigh, N.C., Dirt & Noise
“If the wedding is outdoors in the grass, avoid heels that may become stuck or make it difficult to walk.” – Meredith Hale, 39, Sleepy Hollow, N.Y.
Shoes: Loeffler Randall
Clutch: Nine West
5. Skip The Little Black Dress
Save your LBD for a wintertime affair. Summer is the perfect opportunity to brighten up your wedding wardrobe. If a patterned number feels too adventurous, stick to shades of blue. From sapphire to navy, this cool color adds vibrance but isn’t too attention-grabbing.
“I'd go with a blue colored dress ... It's neutral like black but adds more color, is appropriate in any setting and still lends itself to fun accessories." – Lauren Ciaccia, Senior Fashion Editor at Stylight
“I love navy dresses, especially in the summer. They look smart and they are just as slimming as black.” – Allison Slater Tate, 41, Orlando, Fla.
“I like to wear a color other than black, especially to a wedding where I am celebrating a happy occasion.” – Christie Maruka, 46, Wall, N.J.
“Black is usually my go-to color because it's just so easy, but if I [don’t] wear black, I would go with jewel tones, as they are pretty flattering for most skin tones.” – Diane Nassy, 44, New Jersey, Philzendia
Shoes: Steve Madden
Earrings: John Lewis
Bracelet: Alexis Bittar
Bag: Rebecca Minkoff
Whether you’re attending as a family member, a friend or even a plus one, it’s always a good idea to look and feel your best – and dressbarn, a fashion retailer whose missions has always been to make women look and FEEL beautiful, has all the dresses you need to celebrate in style. Have you picked the perfect wedding guest outfit? Tell us how you're #OWNINGIT in the comments below.