The dress code terminology for weddings is a set of vague terms that can set even the most modern woman scrambling for a copy of Emily Post’s Etiquette. However, the highly detailed array of terms of decades past are unnecessary- there are really only three categories of dress to prepare for: formal, semi-formal, and casual.

These events are most likely held in the evening, at an elegant ballroom, or the ritziest place in town. The invitation may include terms such as “black tie,” “white tie,” or “black tie optional.” In these fine events, women are expected to wear full length gowns. As it is summer, we suggest a lightweight fabric that will not be too constricting or heavy, such as a silk chiffon or charmeuse. If you feel most comfortable selecting a dress that requires shapewear on a hot day, check out our videos on selecting the right shapewear for you.

The most likely dress code for most weddings is semi-formal, and your local department store is sure to offer a wide array of colorful knee-length cocktail dresses and little black dresses to fulfill your needs. For summer, we strongly suggest you lean towards a colored option, as they are suited for the season.

Unless the invitation directly states “Cowboy casual,” an informal wedding is still no place to attend wearing jeans. Instead, consider what you would wear to an afternoon brunch or baby shower, such as a print sundress or a casual cotton cocktail dress. Separates are also an excellent choice. Your favorite summer sandals would also fit in well at these events, though be sure you can wear your heels over softer terrain if this is an outdoor event!

Whatever the dress code, summer is a great time for exploring your style and favorite colors. A DRES stylist can assist you in ensuring that you are in your personal best colors and wear something cut for your body.

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