What to Wear: Summer Evening Wedding

By Lisa Miller

Summer Wedding, wedding outfit, evening wedding, semiformal, grey dress, shapewear, cork clutch, neon red lipstick, statement necklace, wedding, lisa miller
Photos courtesy of retailers.

Along with summer weddings come travel, parties, showers, receptions, and the ever dreaded dress code. During all other seasons, wedding attire is straightforward: a formal dress, heels, a classic bag, a red lip and light eye makeup. In the summer, however, the warm weather throws the rule book out the window. With some guests in sun dresses and flip flops and others in the formal dresses suitable for a winter wedding, what should you wear?

Dress For The Occasion

A couple of weeks ago I had the opportunity to dress for just such an occasion – my sister’s wedding. (Congratulations Jessica and Stephen!) With a formal church ceremony followed by an evening reception filled with country music and cowboy boots, I knew there would be a mix of attire. Some would dress formally due to the church setting while others would don something that would allow them to kick up their heels (and stay cool) in the rustic setting of the reception. As sister to the bride, I needed to look well-dressed for both environments.

Above is a re-creation of the outfit I wore to the reception (I was a bridesmaid), but it would work equally well for the big day. Opting for a simple dress with clean lines allows the wearer to dress up or down for any affair. Grey is less ceremonial than black, chic without being stiff. A brown belt, shoes and clutch lessen the formality of the outfit. The open sandal wedges add a touch of summery fun while maintaining the poise provided by heels (mine had a higher cork wedge, with an otherwise similar design). Add a statement necklace, a simple bangle and earrings in a gold-tone to complement warm red lips.

The Finishing Touch

Recently, a company called Ruby Ribbon sent us some shapewear samples and I knew that my sister’s wedding would be the perfect time to try them out. Their Classic Cami and High Waist Thigh Slimmer were the first items in my suitcase. Together, they created the ultimate cat suit, one that was comfortable, slimming, and much easier to escape, should the need for the restroom arise, than the traditional one-piece (as my fellow bridesmaids can attest to).

One of my favorite things about these shaping essentials is the silicone gripper that kept the cami and slimmers from rising up (gripper must be positioned against bare skin, not fabric). Even better, they are machine wash and dryable, which makes them mom-friendly. Most shapewear is hand wash only (a.k.a. wear once and never have the time to hand wash so eventually toss out and purchase another). Skeptical that they wouldn’t survive the spin cycle, I ran them through a few times and was pleased to discover that both items held their shapes perfectly.

 Creating The Look

  1. Grey pencil dress ($28.58/ASOS)

    Grey pencil dresses come at every price point and in many brands. Find the one that flatters your body shape the most. This dress is a wear-it-again staple. Wear it to: work, date night, PTA meeting, parent-teacher conference, church, baby shower, graduation, office party.

  2. Maybelline Neon Red lipstick ($5.59/Target)

    Maybelline has some bright colors this season. Neon Red and Vibrant Mandarin have found their way into my makeup bag.

  3. Classic Cami ($49.00/Ruby Ribbon)

    Step into this cami like stepping into a bathing suit. It does an excellent job at lifting and separating, so provided the climate is warm, there is very little need to wear a bra underneath. Use this chart to find the correct size for you.

  4. High Waist Thigh Slimmer ($49.00/Ruby Ribbon)

    Silicone grippers on the thighs keep these slimmers from riding up. Once you get them where you want them, they stay there.

  5. Skinny belt ($38.00/Anthropologie)

    A skinny belt defines the waist and accentuates curves, making you look thinner.

  6. Coral statement necklace ($138.75/Ross-Simons)

    The plain neckline of this dress is screaming for a statement necklace. The design of this necklace, reminiscent of coral reefs, is dressy enough for the occasion and adds a touch of whimsy.

  7. Simple gold bangle ($250/Macy’s)

    A simple gold (like this one) or gold-tone bangle is classy and elegant. It is a great way to decorate your wrist without drawing attention away from your statement pieces (necklace and lip color).

  8. Cork clutch ($26.98/Macy’s)

    The cork is a bit unexpected, yet still neutral and weather appropriate. The clean lines mean that you’ll be able to carry this bag again, and with any color palate.

  9. Sandal wedges ($29.99/Kohl’s)

    Find a brown sandal wedge like this one, or maybe one with a higher cork wedge, for comfortable feet through dancing, mingling, and heat. Opting for a sandal over a pump gives this look a more relaxed and summery feel.

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