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What to Wear Where: Winter Weddings

Figuring out what to wear to a wedding in the winter can be daunting. The challenge is to look elegant and appropriate while staying warm and comfortable.

For starters, the time of day and location are determining factors. Daytime wedding attire is usually semi-formal, which means a short (knee-length) dress (solid or floral) or a suit. Forgo sequins, beading and black. Evening weddings are either semi-formal, meaning dressy short cocktail dresses or formal/black-tie, which translates to long dresses. That said, I also have seen guests wear very dressy cocktail attire (beading and sparkles) to formal and black-tie weddings.

Some of my favorite looks include a cocktail dress with lace, an elegant pant suit, and a dressy silk shantung wrap top paired with a long skirt. Colors run the gamut—from jewel tones, such as emeralds and royal blue, to metallic shades of silver and gold, to the year-round favorite: black. Ivory or winter white is acceptable, but never white. Also consider bright colors such as coral and yellow because in the fashion world, resort colors overlap during the winter months.

Shoes also differentiate a winter wedding. Wear closed-toe heels instead of strappy, open-toe sandals. And a quality, beautiful coat should complement your outfit. Whether it’s a fur, faux-fur, satin, or wool coat, three-quarters or full-length, don’t skimp in this category. And your dress should have some kind of sleeve. If you need to recycle a sleeveless or strapless dress, add a capelet, bolero jacket or shawl in a luxurious fabric to stay warm and enjoy the celebration.

[tricks of the trade]

Q: What is an appropriate wrap for a wedding or dressy event?

A: For a fancier look, select a wrap made of a sheer organza fabric in a solid color (usually black) with embroidery or beading. The material is lightweight and the delicate details provide a dressier look for special occasions. Another option is a bolero jacket or shrug. Depending on the fabric of the dress, these styles could be in velvet.

Q: What tips do you have for wearing a chunky necklace?

A: It should be considered a ‘statement piece,’ best worn with solid colors so it won’t compete with a ‘statement print.’ Also, minimize the size of the other jewelry, especially around the face, so it won’t detract attention from the necklace.

By Ellen Nisenson Soule
Pictured: Armani shawl from Neiman Marcus

[Ellen Soule is a public relations expert. She formerly worked as the Neiman Marcus Public Relations Manager in St. Louis and as the Dana Buchman Regional Consultant.]

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