Okay, so maybe you’re not planning a wedding per se, but deciphering dress codes and pulling together what seems like an endless lineup of nuptial-appropriate ensembles that nail it can be just as time-consuming. Especially when you’re trying to figure out the answer to the “what to wear to a spring wedding” question on a budget. Investing in a new dress for every occasion likely isn’t in the cards, so flaunting what you’ve got is key. And trust us: Your duds possesses so much untapped re-wear potential. All you need are a few killer accessories to keep your look feeling fresh. Because you have so many other important things on your plate (*ahem* prepping for the return of Outlander and figuring out what to wear to the festival you’ve been anticipating for months), we’re bringing you three different ways to style three different dresses you likely have sitting in your closet. From backyard bashes to waterfront affairs, the ideal outfit is just a scroll away.
3 Ways to Wear a Cold-Shoulder Dress for a Wedding
Turquoise and red are a match made in heaven and perfect for a garden party or a whimsical vineyard soiree, where vibrant color and lush foliage thrive. Classic pumps and stilettos can’t hack it when it comes to cocktail hour on the lawn, so get your boost from a pair of lace-up wedge booties instead. Their natural style partners perfectly with this red hot number’s bohemian vibe, while an ombre tassel clutch turns the outfit’s elegance factor up. As a finishing touch, style hair into a low, unkempt side chignon for an undeniably romantic look.
Boho dresses clean up real nice when styled alongside sleek metallics and shimmery gemstones. Switch up the silhouette by cinching the waist with an embellished belt, then slide into a pair of rose gold mules that are both polished and after-party ready. Skip the dazzling drops and adorn ears with contemporary ear crawlers in a ladylike blush hue. If your BFF is saying her “I dos” under the sun, a chic pair of shades is a must. Stash your wedding-day essentials (read: tissues galore) in a glitzy clutch and complete the getup by painting your pout a playful shade of coral pink.
If you’re headed to the chapel, bare shoulders might not fly, but that doesn’t mean your favorite frock is out. Slip a lacy tee underneath to give your dress instant anywhere-appropriate appeal. Get funky with the extras to balance out the ensemble’s pseudo-conservative vibe with flowery platforms heels and a gilded headband. Bonus points for color blocked nails.
3 Ways to Wear a Classic Shift Dress for a Wedding
A shift dress always reads classy lady, but throw a wide-brim hat into the mix and you’ve achieved sophisticated siren status (you go, girl). Strike the right balance of modern glamour and street-style chic by dressing this textured tweed number up with a statement collar necklace, an #OOTD-worthy clutch and tassel-tastic lace-up heels in a cheery yellow color. Layer on a leather jacket for an urban rooftop affair or look to a clean-cut cropped style for a more traditional fete.
J.Crew Sheath Dress in Textured Tweed ($158), Ace of Something The Mackay Zig Zag Floppy Hat ($69), Bauble Bar Xena Collar ($68), Kotur Morley Embroidered Clutch ($278) + Jeffrey Campbell Linares Booties ($185)
Industrial spaces call for outfits with a bit of edge, so think outside the box to give your wedding getup a note of unique flair. Skip the expected necklace and get wrapped up in a bronze harness instead. *Cue the double taps.* Laser cut pumps add another layer of modern panache, while a neon pink bag introduces a pop of fresh color, adding drama to a sea of soft pastel hues. On the outerwear front, drape an oversized blazer over the shoulders for a cool boy-meets-girl contrast.
J.Crew Sheath Dress in Textured Tweed ($158), Jakimac Leather Wrap Harness in Bronze ($77), Jessica Simpson Mekos Cutout Sandal ($80), COS Long Jersey Blazer ($115) + ModCloth Downtown Delights Bag ($48)
Look to right-now accessories to infuse your special occasion dress with a note of retro glamour. Consider a printed skinny scarf the key to endless looks of envy. Tie it around the waist, wrist or neck to transition your look from ceremony to reception in seconds (the bride isn’t the only one who can pull off a costume change). Ditch the clutch and tote a mini bucket bag whose shape speaks to the structured silhouettes popular in the pre-’70s period. Strut your stuff in green lace-up ghillies that offer a playful alternative to the standard pump and ice your ears with crystal drop earrings that command attention.
3 Ways to Wear a Boho Maxi Dress for a Wedding
Wedding invitation says beach formal? Before you start scratching your head, this outfit has you covered. The dress’s open back might seem too casual for a dressier affair, but it actually works to your advantage in a totally unexpected way. By layering a body chain underneath (wear it like a back necklace), the frock instantly takes on a more formal feel. Since you’ll be bearing witness in the sand, sticking with low-lying sandals is best. To make up for their understated style, top off romantic beachy waves with a fancy flower crown in a spectrum of vivid hues. Keep makeup natural, aiming for a sun-kissed glow and lightly lined lids to reflect the waterfront setting.
Zara Long Printed Dress ($70), & Other Stories D-Ring Nubuck Cross Body ($95), Bebe Joy Fringe Body Chain ($34), Madewell Thea Crisscross Sandal ($98) + Rock n Rose Taylor Floral Meadow Crown Headband ($69)
To give a boho maxi a big city makeover, minimalist add-ons are it. Start by streamlining the silhouette with a sleek metallic belt, then let your jewelry follow suit. A single embellished bangle is all you need to make a serious style statement. Take a similar approach to your shoes and bag, teaming your tropical dress with tonal ankle strap heels and a woven clutch accented with bright tassels. The duo adds just enough color to give the ensemble endless party-ready vibes without feeling over the top.
Intimate affairs lend themselves to more relaxed dress codes, so feel free to rock pieces that read comfy and laid-back cool. Forget the fussy footwear and show off that fresh pedi in a pair of flatform Mary Jane sandals in swoon-inducing sage suede. Artsy statement earrings play up the maxi’s bohemian aesthetic, as does an art deco-inspired drawstring bag. If your dress has received maximum exposure over wedding season, throw on a tie-front blazer for a clever two-piece effect.
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