Ready to bid loungewear goodbye and get dressed up again? Us too. With wedding season back on the horizon, here’s our edit of the very best wedding guest dresses – and how to style them
The feelgood floral-print dress that’s a fashion failsafe
A floral-print dress is an elegant choice for a spring or summer wedding, perfectly complementing country house or marquee settings. When selecting a patterned dress, consider styles that will work beyond the wedding season for maximum cost-per-wear value. Choose a fit-and-flare style with puff sleeves to tap into the season’s whimsical mood and add a pair of this season’s on-trend sandals to ground the look. Alternatively, keep things classic with a vintage-inspired shift dress: take your pick from bold blooms or ditsy floral prints and pair with a smart blazer and heeled pumps for a timeless failsafe wedding guest outfit. Where frills and ruffles are concerned, keep accessories understated: minimal jewellery and a sleek clutch bag.
Looking for something a little different? Try a statement-making pink tailored trouser suit.
The hot-in-the-city mini wedding guest dress
Stand out from the crowd in a sweet mini dress that bucks the trend for sweeping hemlines. Ideal for petite women who feel overwhelmed in a maxi dress, figure-flattering short dresses look just as smart as long dresses when styled with ballet pumps or kitten heels. City weddings are the perfect opportunity to showcase your style credentials anyway, and short dresses have the bonus of passing as civvy clothes when dashing about on public transport to reach your destination. Throw a cardigan or trench coat over the top to keep warm when hobnobbing outside the registry office and keep a pair of flat shoes in your shoulder bag in case walking is required.
The best wedding outfit accessory? A glowing complexion, of course. Get yours with our guide to active skincare ingredients.
The elegant off-the-shoulder dress that keeps you cool
Pastels for summer weddings can be groundbreaking. Whether you opt for classic lace or give pastels a twist in a printed off-the-shoulder dress, elevate with an unexpected accessory or statement shoes – metallic silver sandals bring sugary shades up to date. A Bardot dress is a great way to heatwave-proof wedding outfits – team with a wide-brimmed hat and oversized sunglasses. You’ll be glad there are no pesky tan lines to worry about after an afternoon sipping champagne in the midday sun; just don’t forget the sun cream.
Read our tips for finding the perfect-fitting strapless bra for off-the-shoulder dresses.
The beach-ready animal-print wedding guest dress
With more weddings taking place outdoors this year than ever before, it’s time to radically rethink more traditional dress codes. Beach barbecues, glamping and seaside arcades call for relaxed, fashion-forward style and bold patterns. Animal print is up there with the best of them: the modern way to wear it is in relaxed, loose-fit proportions or in an unusual colourway. Style a breezy leopard-print maxi dress with a raffia cross-body bag for hands-free buffet browsing, or experiment with a graphic tiger-print tea dress to break the ice.
If you’re taking the easy-breezy sun dress approach, check out our edit of the best dresses to see you through summer in style.
The colour-pop midi dress that’s perfect for evening weddings
If your invite is for the evening only, the dress code could go either way, so check with the host to see if they’ll be expecting you to rock up in black tie or smart-casual before committing to your outfit. A failsafe midi dress is comfy, flattering and easily dressed up or down. Whether you choose a tea dress, a wrap dress or a shirt dress, a midi dress will easily earn its bread and butter in your post-lockdown wardrobe. Pick a vibrant shade to express your personality: fuchsia, green or geranium are key shades for spring/summer 21 and bound to start a conversation in the queue for the bar – a godsend when you don’t know many guests.
Words: Dulcie Emerson & Sophie Hines