The best wedding guest dresses (and power suits) for every dress code

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 (Rixo)
(Rixo)

If your side tables are filling up with floral watercolour invitations and the months of June, July, August (and September, October... oh god!) are becoming saturated with Save the Dates, you might well be feeling a growing sense of dread. The wedding season to end them all is coming — and what the hell are you going to wear? Don’t panic. Charging up and down the country (and even nipping to celebrate the friends dead-set on marrying in Sardinia) can be done in style — all you need is a little preparation and the odd pro trick.

Before you even get to the burning question (dress, jumpsuit or tailoring), stylist Mary Fellowes insists on following one golden rule. After years spent pulling together last minute looks as an international Vogue creative director, and the woman behind Olivia Colman’s green Prada Oscar frock in 2019, her first step for wedding dressing is always the same: “Start with shoes,” she says. “Wedges or really nice sturdy heels, ideally patent, as a lot of weddings involve grass, which wipes off easily.”

 (Aje)
(Aje)

Next, it’s time to think about which material you want to wear. “Look at fabrics for the clothes,” she says. “You are in them for many hours so don’t go for delicate silk which will crease moments after sitting in a taxi to the church. Print is good too, as it doesn’t show food or drink stains — which after a few glasses of champagne are likely!” When it comes to the killer extras, she has a few styling secrets: “Keep earrings lightweight, use long-lasting lipstick and eyeliner, use hair spray, use Kirby grips, and avoid fascinators at all costs.”

And one last thing. “Go rental. Always! Try Rotaro, By Rotation, My Wardrobe HQ, Endless Wardrobe and Hurr,” Fellowes says. You can look the part and save cash which, let’s be honest, is going to be crucial for surviving 2022. Now for your look. Here, London’s top department store fashion aficionados have decoded the wedding day types you are set to come up against this year.

The country wedding

 (Emilia Wickstead)
(Emilia Wickstead)

Brace for all weather conditions, says Libby Page, senior market editor at Net-a-Porter. “A countryside wedding might mean you’d like to go more classic with a slip dress or floral number from the likes of Emilia Wickstead,” she says. But in the face of cold winds, bring a jacket.

“Don’t add black tights, it’s often done at countryside weddings when the weather is a little chillier but there are wiser and chicer ways to keep warm! I recommend looking into your wardrobe to see what hero items you can find — I’m a huge fan of ‘shopping’ my own before a big event.

Footwear is always key for a countryside wedding. Think about whether you need a block heel, a mid-heel, or if you’re looking for something more trend-driven, a platform is the seasonal shoe must-have,” she says. And the go-to trend this season? “Most definitely bright dresses. It’s something we’ve seen coming through for some time, as well as laid back floral styles.”

The Vampire’s Wife

 (Vampire’s Wife)
(Vampire’s Wife)

The Vampires Wife, The Blossom dress, rent from £98, hurrcollective.com

Rixo

 (Rixo)
(Rixo)

Rixo, Mel dress, £315, rixo.co.uk

Russell & Bromley

 (Russell & Bromley)
(Russell & Bromley)

Russell & Bromley, Bellini wedge, £225, russellandbromley.co.uk

Emilia Wickstead

 (Emilia Wickstead)
(Emilia Wickstead)

Emilia Wickstead, Wynda printed faille midi dress, £995, net-a-porter.com

Zara

 (Zara)
(Zara)

Zara, Sequin jacket, £79.99, zara.com

De La Valli

 (Annie's Ibiza)
(Annie's Ibiza)

De La Valli, Agua dress, £475, anniesibiza.com

Loeffler Randall

 (Loeffler Randall)
(Loeffler Randall)

Loeffler Randall, Natalia platforms, £450, loefflerrandall.com

 (Madeleine Simon)
(Madeleine Simon)

Madeleine Simon, Radio City minidress, £362, wolfandbadger.com

The city wedding

 (Rouje)
(Rouje)

From the Chelsea Registry Office and onto Claridge’s, go bold and metropolitan for London ceremonies, says Emma Ilori, head of womenswear elevation at Flannels. “City weddings are a great opportunity to be playful with your outfit,” she says. “Creating a bold and vivid colour palette will really stand out and create a striking look against the city.” That means block colour suits set with contrast bags and a pair of heels. “A jacket or blazer are always the perfect fool proof backup to complete your look. A neutral and oversized blazer from Jacquemus is so versatile and can be layered over a dress or trouser to bring your outfit to life and add a touch of glam,” Ilori says.

For slick city accessories it’s all about sky-high heel height and think showstopper when it comes to your clutch. “Bright bags are going to be a huge trend for this summer. Bold greens, pinks and blues are all key to turning an outfit into a statement. The Coperni Mini Swipe Bag in bright green has a gorgeous silhouette and is the ideal size,” she says.

Zara

 (Zara)
(Zara)

Zara, Satin minidress, £32.99, zara.com

The Attico

 (The Attico)
(The Attico)

The Attico, Pink Perine satin pumps, £650, browns.com

Aggi

 (Aggi)
(Aggi)

Aggi, Tangerine blazer, £160, wolfandbadger.com

Aggi

 (Aggi)
(Aggi)

Aggi, Camilla Neon orange trousers, £315, wolfandbadger.com

Coperni

 (Coperni)
(Coperni)

Coperni, Mini swipe bag, £209, flannels.com

Reiss

 (Reiss)
(Reiss)

Reiss, Cora blazer, £250, reiss.com

Reiss

 (Reiss)
(Reiss)

Reiss, Cora trousers, £150, reiss.com

Jacquemus

 (Jacquemus)
(Jacquemus)

Jacquemus, La Robe Bari, £880, flannels.com

Zara

 (Zara)
(Zara)

Zara, Cropped jacket, £49.99, zara.com

The jet set wedding

 (Me + Em)
(Me + Em)

When travelling overseas to toast the bride, opt for sleek linen dresses and don’t forget your sandals, says Liane Wiggins, head of womenswear at Matches Fashion. “Always start by thinking about the destination: is it a beach wedding, a chic summer city wedding or in the Italian countryside? Then, build your outfit around the location,” she says. “Look for amazing chic flat sandals, think about easy fabrications which will be breathable and easy to wear but will also perform well in the heat so you feel well put together, and keep accessories clean and modern with fine jewellery and special artisanal woven bags.”

Her pick for a hyper-glamorous wedding? “The Valentino one-shoulder dress is such a great statement piece and nods to the hot pink from the AW22 runways,” Wiggins says. “And the Cecile Bahnsen Beth dress is the perfect minimal, modern summer occasion dress, in a linen-blend cloque fabric that is light and breathable.”

& Other Stories

 (& Other Stories)
(& Other Stories)

& Other Stories, Linen midi dress, £57, stories.com

Faithfull The Brand

 (Faithfull)
(Faithfull)

Faithfull The Brand, El Rio linen maxi dress, £319, net-a-porter.com

Raye

 (Raye)
(Raye)

Raye at Revolve, Myah Heel, £197, revolve.com

Raquel Diniz

 (Raquel Diniz)
(Raquel Diniz)

Raquel Diniz, Claudia dress, £910, matchesfashion.com

Boden

 (Boden)
(Boden)

Boden, Raffia Half Moon Clutch, £50, boden.co.uk

Bottega Veneta

 (Bottega Veneta)
(Bottega Veneta)

Bottega Veneta, Sporty wedges, £655, flannels.com

By Alona

 (By Alona)
(By Alona)

By Alona, Baroque pearl earrings, £125, matchesfashion.com

Mae Cassidy

 (Mae Cassidy)
(Mae Cassidy)

Mae Cassidy, Babi Beach Yellow, £355, anniesibiza.com

Valentino

 (Valentino)
(Valentino)

Valentino, One-shoulder chiffon-overlay silk gown, £5490, matchesfashion.com

Cecilie Bahnsen

 (Cecilie Bahnsen)
(Cecilie Bahnsen)

Cecilie Bahnsen, Edition Beth square-neck linen-blend cloqué dress, £970, matchesfashion.com

Anthropologie

 (Anthropologie)
(Anthropologie)

Anthropologie, Straw hat, £125, anthropologie.com

The pub wedding

 (Bernadette)
(Bernadette)

To nail a more relaxed day, flats are your friend and a co-ord shirt and trouser set will hit the balance between elegant and comfortable, says Poppy Lomax, womenswear buying manager at Harrods. “Don’t always think you need to wear a dress — a suit or separates can be very chic. For a more pared back look to match a pub wedding, one statement piece is often much more striking.”

She suggests focusing on either “the clothing, with a standout silky separates, or the accessories, whether that is a statement bag or fun pair of shoes. You can always make an outfit more low-key by introducing flats”. “We have a lovely pink suit from Madga Butrym which would be a perfect pub wedding guest ensemble,” says Lomax. “And of course, you can’t forget to accessorise. I love the cult style shoes from Mach and Mach. It’s always a long day, so always make sure you are comfortable in your outfit.”

Stella McCartney

 (Stella McCartney)
(Stella McCartney)

Stella McCartney, Crystal mesh mules, £635, stellamccartney.com

Nanushka

 (Nanushka)
(Nanushka)

Nanushka, Caio shirt, £425, nanushka.com

Nanushka

 (Nanushka)
(Nanushka)

Nanushka, Mikki trousers, £445, nanushka.com

Miu Miu

 (Miu Miu)
(Miu Miu)

Miu Miu, MU 01VS cat-eye embellished sunglasses, £136, selfridges.com

Magda Butrym

 (Madga Butrym)
(Madga Butrym)

Madga Butrym, Wool blazer, £1260, harrods.com

Magda Butrym

 (Magda Butrym)
(Magda Butrym)

Magda Butrym, Tailored trousers, £750, harrods.com

Sandro

 (Sandro)
(Sandro)

Sandro, Short-sleeved cardigan, £239, sandro-paris.com

Sandro

 (Sandro)
(Sandro)

Sandro, Fancy stitch knitted trousers, £219, sandro-paris.com

Ganni

 (Ganni)
(Ganni)

Ganni, Recycled leather chain wallet, £175, ganni.com

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