It doesn’t matter how full my closet gets: when it comes time to get dressed for someone else’s wedding, my brain goes blank and suddenly nothing works anymore. And that goes double for summer. Because in the summer, the list of attributes I look for in an outfit goes from something like “looks cute” to “looks cute, won’t cut off circulation to any body parts, won’t make me trip on uneven ground, not too short, doesn’t trap heat, and won’t show off sweat stains if I end up in a church without air conditioning.” So, NBD.
But over the course of the last few years, as my friends have started to marry, I have learned some helpful guidelines for summer weddings that keep me comfortable and cool. And this month we’ve partnered with ModCloth to share them with you. ModCloth recently released a brand-new weddings boutique, which includes affordable wedding dresses (think under $500), bridesmaid dresses, and of course, guest attire. So if you’re gearing up for wedding season, here are my best tips for what to wear to a daytime wedding in the summer:
1. Formality is flexible in the daytime: The most important thing to remind yourself when you’re picking out an outfit for someone else’s wedding is that no one will be looking at you (unless you’re wearing a formal white dress, in which case, I’mma have a hard time drumming up sympathy). So unless the couple has specified that the event is of a certain level of formality, then it’s safe to assume anything barring jeans will work. This includes summer dresses, pants and a nice top, a suit and tie, or anything else you would consider the dressed-up version of your normal self. And in the summer, you want to work this flexibility in your favor.
Do a Google search of the ceremony location and check the forecast for the day of. If things are outdoors, you’ll want to be mindful of the terrain (will the ground be muddy? Will you be on grass?) and things like humidity, especially if you’re traveling somewhere you don’t normally spend a lot of time. (Ninety degrees in New York City is a whole different animal from ninety degrees in Northern California!)
2. Cotton is your friend: One of the first things I do when shopping for party outfits is to check the materials. Natural fibers breathe better than synthetic fibers, so if you are worried about overheating, stick with something like cotton for increased airflow. (On ModCloth, you can find that information under “details and measurements.”) If cotton worries you because you need a little stretch (girl, preach), look for items that are mostly cotton with 2–3 percent elastane. It’s the jeggings of dresses.
3. Patterns hide a multitude of sins: Here’s a true story: I once went to a wedding with a full Catholic ceremony at a church without air conditioning on a hundred-degree day with what felt like one hundred percent humidity. I did not come out of that situation looking cute. Now? If there’s even a remote chance that I’m going to sweat out my blowout (and thus the back of my dress as well), I stick with patterns.
4. Don’t forget a sweater: I know, I sound like your mom, stop judging me. An extra layer is usually not something I’m thinking about when I’m packing a gift and extra lip gloss and trying to get an Uber while running ten minutes late, but I can’t tell you how many weddings I’ve been to where, come sunset, it got cold and I was shit out of luck (thanks for letting me borrow your jacket, Michael). So now I scrap the cute clutch and stuff my work tote with a jacket and a pair of flats, because when I’m wine tipsy and drunk on cake, I just want to be comfortable and warm.
5. Do a test run: Summer outfits tend to be more revealing. So before you put on a new outfit for a big event, give it a test run. Jump around your house, do some hairography, rub up on your boo. Do you find yourself adjusting every five minutes? Because that will be your life on the dance floor. So figure out before you go if your outfit moves when you do.
While you probably can’t get away with cutouts in the office (though with a cardigan over, who’s to know?) the best part of daytime weddings is that whatever you choose to wear doesn’t have to end up taking up extra space in your closet, reserved exclusively for special occasions. So if you’re struggling to find something cute for upcoming parties, head over to ModCloth to browse the complete collection of party dresses, or click below to go straight to your favorites:
This post was sponsored by ModCloth. ModCloth’s new wedding boutique offers stylish wedding dresses, bridesmaid dresses, and guest attire, plus shoes and accessories at prices you can actually afford. And their commitment to body diversity means you don’t have to settle for something boring just because you’re not a sample size. Click here to browse all of the amazing wedding guest dresses ModCloth has to offer.