Sunday, 23 January 2011

Wearing black at weddings

I’ve had an email from an Edna reader – who is also pregnant – about the tricky question of how to wear black to a wedding.

She's bought this little beauty from Topshop which is quite Vivienne Westwood in its styling and she has a pale pink corsage to wear with it. This in itself will look gorgeous...but the wedding is next month, so a cover-up of some kind is needed. And what about other accessories...and should she try to brighten it up any further?

Whether you wear black to a wedding really depends on the type of wedding. An outdoor wedding in the height of summer may not be the time to bust out the head-to-toe black...not that this means you should fall head first into the dreaded ‘wedding pastels’ either!

But wedding dress codes have changed so much and what you wear really depends on the time of year, time of day and type of occasion. My wedding party was in the evening in a function room of a pub (Mr W has told me to point out that it was much fancier than this sounds!), so a head-to-toe black outfit was not something to raise a single eyebrow. And winter weddings often mean a different style of dressing anyway – so that you wear darker colours and richer fabrics.

I think the key is that if you choose to wear a black dress don’t feel the need to do everything in your power to brighten it up and make it something it’s not. Try to work with the dress, not against it. Even head-to-toe black can be softened by a mixture of patterns and textures – so perhaps patent leather shoes, heart print tights, a charcoal soft texture jacket, with a black feathered clutch (as with Outfit 1). The different textures lift the outfit so it’s not too goth!

Outfit 1


If you really don’t think head-to-toe black is the way to go for the wedding you’re attending, you can introduce colour and patterns but don’t suddenly opt for a fuchsia pink jacket, matching shoes and handbag just so it’s a bit brighter...unless you’re channeling a 1980s Conservative MP (Edwina Currie should not be your style icon here!)

If you’d like colour, I think softer, more muted colours look chic and work just as well against the black. You could even go for the classic Chanel-esque monochrome look and team the dress with a white blazer maybe in a beautiful soft silk mix for a bit of a 1970s feel. 

Soft tailoring for weddings can also stop your outfit looking too ‘just stepped out of a business meeting’ and looks very feminine.
And for weddings, as much as super high heels look lovely and elongate the legs, by 7pm they’ll have been kicked off and you’ll have your grubby feet on the ground! So I usually go for medium height heels...or wedges (especially when pregnant!).

I’ve shown four possible ways to dress the black dress, including a few accessories – though the big accessory is a pale pink corsage, so I’ve steered clear of too much else as you don’t want your accessories competing against each other.

Outfit 2
Urban Outfitters sheer dot tights – down to £5 in the sale

Outfit 3

KG by Kurt Geiger Loki metallic flats - £49 in sale, down from £120

I’ve only included jackets but another option would be to have a cardigan and belt it...but the difficulty is that with a bump you would need to try and belt it so that it’s more empire line and it’s difficult to know how well that would work with a dress that’s not of the same shape.

I've totally ignored the issue of what to wear over top of all this, as an overcoat is probably necessary at this time of year...but I figure it’s not the sort of thing you splash out on for a wedding and you make do with what you have and sling it off at the first opportunity!

1 comment:

  1. Katie, I found this blog really useful. Obviously applies whether you are preggers or not. I wore black and white to a wedding last year and felt very sophisticated.

    And I'm going to both a wedding and a christening this year and this has inspired me to wear black to both as it is a major part of my wardrobe and I can't afford to be splashing out on 2 totally new outfits... thanks!! xxxx


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