From party queen to effortless sophisticate, these are the head-turning best-dressed looks you need to know about for this summer’s weddings. Stephanie Smith has advice on how to choose your special occasion outfit with care.
Be the best you can be… but, most of all, be yourself. This is sound advice for brides-to-be, when choosing a wedding dress and the whole look that goes with it. And exactly the same advice should apply to those lesser mortals, the wedding guests.
It’s all very well wanting to stand out, but it should be for the right reasons, not because you have chosen to look like a chorus dancer from Chicago or (as I was once described) like Little Bo Peep, looking for her sheep – I knew that hat was a mistake.
It’s hard to place a finger on why, but in recent years, looking good at a wedding, or another special day-to-night event, seems to matter a great deal more than it used to.
Perhaps it’s because we are less likely to see wider family members than we once were, so we want to impress and reassure them by presenting ourselves looking happy, healthy, and somehow pulled-together and grown-up (but not old, obviously, not old).
We want to impress with our knowledge of the contemporary, sophisticated world, which means knowing what’s appropriate, what’s in and, most importantly, what we look good in.
We want to be noticed for our insight and style, which means channelling all-important key trends, while not looking like anyone else. Annie Cutillo, at independent fashion store Accent Clothing in Leeds, says: “For women, this includes modified silhouettes and unique patterns and prints. Whether this be an altered neckline or an asymmetric hem, we are noticing that our customers want something that’s a little bit different with an exclusive feel.
“For men, we are seeing a growing trend of bolder colours and detailed styling. Men are stepping away from the safe blue blazer/white shirt combination and experimenting with a variety of distinctive designs and accessories, including ties and pocket squares.”
Accent Clothing has been established for 33 years, and favourite labels among its customers include Kevan Jon and Rebecca Rhodes for women and for menswear Gibson London and Remus.
As special occasion fashion becomes more accessible both in stores and online the demand for something unique – at least for the particular event they are attending – rises from customers, says Annie.
“We recommend that if you want to stand out, you inject your outfit with colourful accessories. Team a dress with a bright red bag or a suit with a checked shirt. Have fun with different patterns, prints and styles.”
As for avoiding the dreaded “same dress” crisis: “Our biggest tip is to look for something that not only looks great, but that you feel great wearing,” says Annie. “That way, even if you do find yourself in a same dress scenario, you’ll still be happy with your outfit choice and feel fabulous.”
Versatile, wearable, special. Sensible just got stylish at Marks & Spencer