Modern Stylish Wedding Cover-Ups for Fall


There’s more than one way (leather? lace?) to wear your heart on your sleeve

by Kelly Redmond & Natalie Schack

A bride and groom stand together with her back facing the viewer - she's wearing a white denim jacket with the word Wifey printed on the backPhoto via A Practical Wedding

Now that August is finally gone, we can all say a hallelujah for autumn weather, with falling humidity, lower (read: comfortable) temps, and crisp breezes. Yass, please.

That applies to bridal wear, too, which is why we’re all over wedding cover-ups right now. Strapless everything has dominated the fashion-waves for the past few years, and while we love showing off those collarbones, we’re not so crazy about becoming human popsicles. Bonus? Shrouding those shoulders as requested by Grandma (or, you know, Grandma’s priest) may cut down on some of ’Ma’s well-intentioned nagging. May.

One thing you definitely won’t have to compromise is style, because the wedding-wear industry has really rocketed their accessories and separates game up a few chic tiers this year. We’ve got our eye on cover-ups, wraps, and capes with just the right amount of toned-down luxe to let your wedding day attire sing, or pumped-up and statement-level enough to snag center stage in your ensemble.

And, by the way—if you’re limiting your search to just the wedding-wear industry, you’re totally doing it wrong. Some of our favorite selections are from avant-garde brides mixing up their looks with edgy, unconventional blends of their day-to-day casual, punky, or rock ’n’ roll styles, and the lace, chiffon, and pearls in traditional go-to bridal trends. Think flowing satin sheaths under a worn leather jacket, or billowing lace gowns with a “Bride”-emblazoned denim number draped over your shoulders. With Mama Internet, going as unique and creative, or romantic and classic as you want is only limited by your imagination (and your Googling skills).

The BadAss Bride

A black leather jacket with a flower prints and calligraphy Washed Leather Motorcycle Jacket via Bash Calligraphy (contact seller for more information)

The Ethereal Bride

A bride with a lightweight, long wedding dress and a lace full length capeAnastasia Cape via BHLDN ($500)

The Sparkly Bride

View of a bride's upper back, showing off her half length sparkly capePhilomena Cape via BHLDN ($120)

The Biker Bride

A woman wearing a black leather jacket and sunglasses holds her hands in her pockets and looks downwardWashed Leather Motorcycle Jacket via Madewell ($498.00)

The Bohemian Bride

A bride stands in a grassy field wrapped in a luxurious faux fur shawlFox Faux Fur via Etsy ($295)

The Stevie Nicks Bride

A woman wearing a full length white cover up with fringe stands readyEmbroidered Kimono via ASOS ($79.00)

The Vintage Bride

A bride sits and smiles as her fringed bolero hangs from her shouldersBohemian Bridal Bolero via Etsy ($349)

The Sweet and Simple Bride

A bride sits wearing her lightweight wedding dress with a lace capuletLace Capelet via Etsy ($185)

The Untraditional Bride

A bride stands with a while skirt and a white semi-sparkly long sleeve sheer sweaterReleve Sweater via BHLDN ($200)

The Alterna Bride

A bride stands tall wearing a dark colored waist level jacketHaven Jacket in Black via BHLDN ($190)

The Marching to the Beat of her Own Drum Bride

A bride smiles wearing an ivory colored coverup Haven Jacket in Ivory via BHLDN ($190)

Have you encountered the same wedding accessory drought that I have? Did you wear a wild accessory on your big day? I want to see!

Kelly Redmond & Natalie Schack

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  • penguin

    My one wedding dress requirement was SLEEVES, but I ended up with a strapless ballgown dress. I love it, don’t get me wrong, but after settling on that dress I went on the hunt for a cover-up. I really wanted something with actual coverage for my large upper arms, because I’m self conscious about them and didn’t want that in my brain on my wedding day. I also wanted to be able to lift my arms and dance, so I mostly ignored capes and wraps (even though they look awesome).

    These are my top contenders right now, and I can vouch for both of them. Both insanely comfortable. I may end up trying to alter the gold one to make it a bit shorter in the back, and a bit less bat-wing. My wedding is in just over two weeks though, so maybe not…

    Dress:
    https://www.essensedesigns.com/essense-of-australia/wedding-dresses/1757-plus/

    Gold on gray bolero (also ordered in navy):
    https://www.etsy.com/listing/513630588/plus-size-gold-shawl-wedding-dress?ref=related-2

    Navy/light blue bolero (I bought it in two colors):
    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01LXHXK3D/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o02_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

    • Cassy

      Your dress is just so lovely! I really think the combination of the gold bolero and sparkly white dress is to die for. The bat-wing may seem less prominent in any pose other than the one the model used, haha. And to be honest, I don’t think you have to worry anyway. Since you’ll be wearing a wedding dress and not just a LBD like the model, the attention won’t all be on the bolero itself — not to mention your no-doubt-glowing face. ;)

    • Amy March

      I vote gold bolero, no alterations. I think it will look really great!

      • penguin

        Thank you!! I especially love this choice because it means I don’t have to sew anything. The back of the bolero is long enough that it covers a bit of the dress (it’s a corset lace up back). Is that fine? I’m pretty low on fucks, but the friends I brought with me said I should shorten it.

        • Cleo

          I mean, that gold bolero is EVERYTHING as is.

          But, if you decide you want to shorten it, but not do the work, couldn’t you fold the bottom of the back part underneath itself and safety pin it? No one is going to see the couple millimeters of a safety pin in an already metallic fabric.

          And as far as whether the bolero covering up the back of your dress is fine – yes! Totally fine! It’s your wedding. Your dress. And also, your wedding is not a fashion show (unless it was, which would be fun too!). And unless those friends are terrible people, they won’t admonish you on your wedding day for not taking their advice and showing off the back of your dress.

          Now, if you want to show off the back of your dress, that’s a different story…

          • penguin

            You guys are the best. I’ll try safety pinning it and see how it looks! This sounds like an easy way to show off my dress without me trying to sew something last minute. Thanks so much!!

          • PAJane aka Awesome Tits

            Worst case scenario, that’s a fast whip stitch.

        • Jess

          Gold Bolero >>>>>> Corset Lace Up Back (which are also lovely)

    • Katie

      Voting for the gold one! The navy one is lovely, but maybe a tad too plain for a wedding. The first one doesn’t look bat-wing at all!

      • penguin

        Thanks! I agree on the navy one, although I’ll probably bring it as a backup. It’s lovely and soft too (they all are!).

    • Her Lindsayship

      Gold bolero all the way. I was in the same boat as you – my main criteria when dress shopping was ‘not strapless’ and then I fell in love with a strapless dress. I planned on getting a cover of some kind but never got around to it, and I kinda wish I had. I would’ve been more comfortable later in the day. Rock it!!

    • Zoya

      Gold bolero. Dooooo iiiiiiit.

    • PAJane aka Awesome Tits

      #TeamGoldBolero

    • You are going to look fabulous with either, but that gold bolero is fire.

    • Jess

      Gold bolero!!!!!!

    • CMT

      Gold, gold, gold!!

  • Katie

    I love the Haven jacket! I wish it went together with my attire… But it has more of Hollywood glam kind of feel. For my accessories I chose art deco style earrings and a ring with a lab grown emerald (resembling Lana Del Rey’s ring that she wore in many a music video, as I also wear *her* dress that I just fell in love with because it is exactly the dress I pictured myself in at my wedding all my life)))

    I’ll be wearing my hair down, in finger waves, but I was also thinking about a hair accessory and can’t decide if I should have one, and if yes, what exactly… https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/4c055aa74952adc6c155dd19a33675251f702a2ed23f04ac18a938c7a19f301d.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/07f00305a491783e87ab0b7b32f09cfd549cf2c8e73836b37062c826eb1b7a3a.jpg

    • emilyg25

      Maybe a little jeweled clip or barrette to hold one side of your hair back?

      • Katie

        that’s what I had in mind, too!

    • Her Lindsayship

      I LOVE that ring and those earrings! I also had emerald accessories, including a tiny emerald on a tiny gold chain that I bought myself for my birthday last year. I love having a piece of my wedding day outfit that I can wear in more everyday settings. I also wore my hair similar to your description and had a crystal comb in it (like this one but with a gold comb https://www.etsy.com/transaction/1301092555 ). I really enjoyed the goddess vibes I got from it, but it might not be the same style you’re going for. I tried looking for emerald hair pieces and couldn’t find any I loved.

      • Katie

        Thank you! I’m love with them too :) yes, I’m going for a more glam vibe, but that hint is very helpful!

    • Zoya

      THAT RING. Those earrings. Love!

      • Katie

        I’m in love with that ring too and can’t wait to be able to wear it! (after the wedding as well, haha)

    • PAJane aka Awesome Tits

      I love finger waves.

      • Katie

        same here! I wish they were not so hard to make :(

    • Jess

      Oh my gosh those earrings. I am in love.

      I’m siding with the thin jeweled barrette or clip just over your ears if you want something – the bonus is that it could pull the front layers back and expose your EARRINGS.

      ETA: link for an example

      https://i.pinimg.com/736x/f4/16/cb/f416cb9b1dc82541a8b9a7db2b638b6d–flapper-hairstyles-short-hairstyles.jpg

      • Katie

        thank you! I got them on Etsy :)

        Yes, I think a clip would be the best, but maybe a bigger one, since I have long-ish hair. Thanks for the advice! btw, LOVE that picture

  • Jess

    I have spent my whole life wanting to be the person who can pull of a motorcycle jacket. Maybe one day I’ll age into it.

    • emilyg25

      I bought one with my tax refund one year. It really did look great, but I could just never feel comfortable wearing it. Ultimately, I guess I’m just a cardigan girl at heart.

      • Jess

        I have this vision of my internal self in which I am old and have wrinkles and tanned skin and long white hair and red lipstick and a motorcycle jacket, cackling into the wind with zero fucks left to give. Like, this is my life goal.

        Some part of me says, “This could be you now, though!” and the other part of me is like, “But I still look so soft and young…It would look silly”

      • Rachel

        This is me!!! I so want to be a leather jacket girl but have yet to find one I feel comfortable in… unlike cardigans, which I have an entire drawer of and feel oh-so-comfortable in each one. Haha.

      • Henri

        Cardigan folks forever!

        Though, more cardigans in multiple colors with pockets, please!

    • I got a motorcycle jacket just over a year after going through my divorce. I’d been through hell by that point and I’d been admiring it for a long while. When it went on sale, it felt like the right call. Besides, by that point I’d already bought and been wearing some tall black doc martens (with ribbon laces) for a few months. Those were bought during the divorce, after my other boots started leaking. Fortunate timing, though, because those boots helped me through, and they eased me stylistically toward the motorcycle jacket… (Actually my whole style has ended up shifting and redefining itself over the last four years.)

      Sometimes little changes in the direction you want to go can be great stepping stones to changing your style drastically. Like, maybe a leather bracelet or edgier something (shoes?), can let you experiment with the style? Anuschka Rees talks about this in The Curated Closet, which is a thoughtful and thorough book on style that I have really enjoyed. She has a blog too.

      But if you’ve wanted to do this your whole life? I’d say go for it! :) And if it doesn’t work out, at least you’ll know and can check it off your life list. (And Danier, in Canada, has pretty good sales sometimes of leather jackets. I got mine from them after Christmas.)

      • Jess

        I love the small changes idea!

        • Keep us posted on our journey toward the motorcycle jacket. :) Maybe even funky/edgier nail polish could be a fun way to experiment (if you like nail polish, of course). Or maybe a motorcycle jacket in a color (or fabric) that you feel comfortable in? Anyhow, have fun! :)

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  • sage

    YASSS I have Maddie’s blessing to wear my faux leather motorcycle jacket over my wedding dress!! (I was planning to do this anyway bc I could not handle the thought of buying one more piece of clothing for this wedding)

    • Zoya

      Do it! Leather jacket over evening gown is just an awesome look in general.

    • Jess

      Please do it! See my comments below re motorcycle jackets. Do it for me!!

      • penguin

        For people who do this – do you wear it during the ceremony? Or just reception? I think it looks badass and awesome, more just curious about overheating while dancing.

        • Jess

          I would wear it whenever I was cold and not when I was not. ::shrug:: I definitely got hot during dancing without any coverings (wedding dress layers = warm!) , but being outside late in the year can get chilly when not moving around.

        • sage

          My dress has an illusion back, so no way I’m wearing the jacket during the ceremony. My ceremony and reception are both indoors so I’ll probably just put it on to leave the reception / for travel between ceremony and reception and a few pics

    • suchbrightlights

      If you DIDN’T do this you would be making a mistake.

  • KateM

    Can anyone recommend a wedding bustier (brand/specific item) for a larger bust (36DDD/F)? I’ve seen some options online but the reviews are always so mixed about the boning and the cup/band size issue that comes with longline options. Please help me! Thanks.

    • sage

      You might check out Ender Legard. Their stuff is pricey but they have great reviews and products available in large cup sizes.

    • PAJane aka Awesome Tits

      Saaaame. Also one that goes down a little lower in the back?

    • Amy March

      I think you need to just order a bunch and try them on. The reviews are mixed because they really fit everyone very differently. Panache is my fave brand but it’s very style specific. Herroom.com has a very strict return policy but a great selection.

      • PAJane aka Awesome Tits

        I love them for specialty sizes. They have universal sizing, too, which is invaluable over a DDD.

    • GCDC

      I’m a DD/DDD (depending on brand), and I swear by this longline bra. https://www.herroom.com/dominique-8541-longline-smooth-strapless-bra.shtml. I realize it says it only goes up to DD, but it’s definitely worth a try. I’ve also heard good things about the Spanx boostie-yay.

      If my experience is any indication, err on the side of a snug fit and wear it a few times before your wedding. They tend to stretch a tiny bit, and it is important to make sure any stretching doesn’t decrease support or comfort.

  • Zoya

    Ahhhh that Stevie Nicks one! I seriously considered wearing something like that if the weather got chilly (it didn’t).

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