Guest list: Dress codes for summer occasions

Deciphering dress codes for summer events can be stressful, says Emma Akbareian. So wherever the wedding, make sure you attend in style

Summer brings with it a whole host of outfit issues – from navigating a tricky new colour palette to the dreaded search for a new bikini. Not least of these dilemmas is the world of occasion wear. Whether you’re having a flutter at the races or cheering on the oarsmen at a regatta, it’s undeniably a season of strict dress codes.

Royal Ascot, for example, has introduced stipulations that would make even the most formal of dressers quake in their well-polished boots. Hats must have a base diameter of at least 4in, meaning no fascinators are allowed. Strapless and off-the-shoulder dresses are also out.

But the most thorny of dressing dilemmas is wedding wear. Yes, you may all be gathered to celebrate the love of the happy couple, but a far more pressing concern is usually what to wear. No other occasion, bar perhaps a school reunion, features such a motley crew of distant relatives and long-lost friends. In other words: people you want to impress, as well as the occasional ex you’d rather forget. Couple this with a mandatory dress code, and even the thought of a free feed isn’t enough to stop you wishing that you could politely decline.

 

Alas, the days of a simple church ceremony, followed by a humble knees-up at the local pub, are long gone. Nowadays, guests are expected to attend five-star country spa hotels or far-flung exotic beach destinations with an outfit to match. Never mind the bride – the sartorial stakes for wedding guests have never been higher.

 City

A wedding in the city is often a restrained affair. Whether it’s a swanky hotel or a converted loft, the dress code is usually a more urban one (partly because no one wants to be seen catching their local bus in a full-flowing gown and matching hat). This is the event to go for a more directional look. Trouser suits are a great choice for city affairs – they have the advantage of being both stylish and practical if the temperature drops.

 Country

This is the most traditional of all venues and can, therefore, be afforded the most formality. Floor-length dresses can be a nice touch. Similarly, lace always sits well in a wedding setting – as long as neither are white, which will no doubt earn you (well-deserved) evils from the bridal party. Hats come into their own in a country church, and high-street chains, such as Debenhams and Accessorize, should satisfy your headwear requirements without the need to part with too much cash.

 Abroad

Perhaps the trickiest of all invitations: not only do you have to navigate a new climate, but also airline baggage limits, too. Hats are not desperately practical to travel with, although they do come in handy in the glare of the sun – on your head is the best way for them to travel,  however silly you may feel in departures. Pay special attention to the venue. If sand is involved, flat footwear is a must or wedges at a stretch. Keep dresses light and airy to contend with the high temperatures and, with the chance of a good tanning session beforehand, bright colours are also a good bet.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Fashion

    Tradewind Recruitment: English Teacher

    Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: My client is an excellent, large partially ...

    Tradewind Recruitment: Science Teacher

    £90 - £140 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: I am currently working in partnersh...

    Tradewind Recruitment: Year 3 Primary Teacher

    £100 - £150 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: Year 3 Teacher Birmingham Jan 2015...

    Ashdown Group: Lead Web Developer (ASP.NET, C#) - City of London

    £45000 - £50000 per annum + Excellent benefits: Ashdown Group: Lead Web Develo...

    Day In a Page

    Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

    Isis hostage crisis

    The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
    Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

    The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

    Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
    Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

    Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

    Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
    Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

    Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

    This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
    Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

    Cabbage is king again

    Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
    11 best winter skin treats

    Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

    Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
    Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

    Paul Scholes column

    The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
    Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

    Frank Warren's Ringside

    No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
    Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

    Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

    The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
    Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

    Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

    Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
    Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
    Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

    Comedians share stories of depression

    The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
    Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

    Has The Archers lost the plot?

    A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
    English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

    14 office buildings added to protected lists

    Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
    Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

    Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

    Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee