What to wear to an upcoming wedding

Have you been invited to a wedding, but aren’t quite sure what to wear? Deciphering the type of occasion from the invitation – formal, semi-formal, informal – can be tough. The “rules” vary for formality and also for different times of day. In general, women typically want to wear a dress. It doesn’t need to be full-length, unless it’s a very formal wedding – and just about any color goes, except for white – although some colors are more fitting for different times of the year.

Summer: Just about anything goes, as far as color. Bright and vibrant, pastel and cool, even black.

Fall: Deep and rich colors, brown, orange, green and blue.

Winter: Black always is a favorite in winter, as well as silver, gold and blue.

Spring: Pastels are most popular in the spring. Soft pink, yellow, green or blue. But brighter colors also are acceptable.

Occasion and style

Informal daytime: Short dress or suit (business attire OK for morning weddings).

Informal evening: Cocktail dress (which is any dressier dress – for example, a little black dress – that’s not full-length).

Semi-formal daytime: Short dress or suit.

Semi-formal evening: Cocktail dress.

Formal daytime: Short dress or suit.

Formal evening or black-tie: Long or dressy short cocktail (beading, glam accessories, wrap).

Ultra-formal or white tie: Long gown, extra glitz (costume jewelry, faux diamonds, furs).

Dos and don’ts

If you have to ask if it’s appropriate, it probably isn’t. Do use good judgment if the invitation doesn’t specify the formality of the event.

Don’t wear white because it competes with the bride, unless you ask her first, as a courtesy. There are plenty of other colors available. This rule may seem outdated, but it’s actually just good etiquette to not contend with the bride on her special day.

Anything too sparkly will make you look overdressed. Don’t wear black or sequins during the daytime.

Don’t worry about wearing the same colors as the bridesmaids or mothers. You can’t possibly coordinate with everyone in the wedding party.

Clubwear, overtly sexy clothing (strapless, see-through, etc) doesn’t belong at a wedding. A pastel suit or soft floral dress for daytime or a little black dress for evening (after 6 p.m.) will take you almost anywhere.

Casual can mean a pretty sundress (like for a coastal or beach wedding) but rarely means something as sloppy as jeans or shorts.

If you still aren’t quite sure what the perfect type of dress to wear to your upcoming event would be, visit your local dress shops for help.