Every summer our country embarks on a season of celebrations. Yes, it’s that time of year — wedding season. I have already been to one, with three more to go, and with one being black tie, I have an added level of complexity. Trying to make the most of one outfit is doable but difficult, and none of us wish to spend our annual clothing budget on one piece. There are always some clever ways to reinvent existing dresses, but sometimes we just long for something new. Weddings are always a very glam affair, and a great excuse to get all dolled up. With a huge range of formal wear available on the high street, and the ever popular dress hire concept appearing all over the country, there is no need to worry, there are plenty of options.
The dress and jacket
My own Mum wore this combination to my wedding, as it was not only practical if it got a bit cold, but both pieces could be worn separately if she wanted to. Although both pieces are quite formal, a jacket can be dressed down in so many ways with plain cotton tops, blouses and, of course, with jeans. The key to this look is length. If you prefer a longer jacket (below the hips ) then it is important it matches the length of the dress to maintain proportion. Short jackets look great with knee length dresses (pictured, pink and grey Jacquard dress, €239.95, Fee G available at Kilkenny ), a wedding outfit favourite, but a three-quarter length jacket (pictured, grey satin coat, €289, Fran & Jane ) and dress can look incredibly sophisticated.
Women are very lucky in the flexibility they have in styling for weddings, especially with length. Traditionally, black tie meant that we ladies had to wear a full length dress, but it’s OK, cocktail dresses are OK. That said, I love wearing a long dress when I can, and when the occasion calls for it. When trying on a maxi or evening dress, always try it with the shoes you plan to wear with it, that way you can check the length, and also the shape with a heel. And if you have your accessories, it is never a bad idea to bring those too.
We are never guaranteed a sunny day, so we have to think about covering up for the cold. I am not the biggest fan of pashminas and tend to opt for cardigans, which are a longer lasting investment. If you are wearing a print, pick out the most subtle colour in the print and style with a jacket or cardigan of this colour to make that shade pop. Or try a kimono style jacket, which are everywhere this season. They are a great, and more interesting, alternative to a cardigan, and they will look chic over the summer with leggings or cropped trousers. If you are wearing a dress with embellishment or a lot of detail, aim for a cover up in a block colour so you keep the focus on the dress.
The golden rule
There have been many traditional rules regarding wedding attire, one of which I have written about several times — is it OK to wear a white dress? My personal choice is to try to avoid white or ivory, but white jackets (pictured, white jacket, €295, Sandro at Brown Thomas Galway ) and accessories are the alternative, plenty of which I have seen worn over bright colours at recent weddings. But best ask the bride!
Lorna Claire Weightman