Peak wedding season is almost upon us, which means a slew of invites is about to hit your mailbox (if they haven't already). And once you've RSVPd accordingly, then comes the hard part: what do you wear? Not all nuptials are created equal, so finding the best wedding guest dress for each event is no seamless feat. You need an effortless and breezy dress (opens in new tab) for the sand-set destination, a polished gown for your friend's black-tie affair, and an in-between style for a semi-formal ceremony. Where's one to begin?
Arielle Siboni (opens in new tab), Ready-to-Wear Fashion Director at Bloomingdale's, advises you first take a deep breath—inhale, exhale—and then look to where you would for any other shopping decision: the fashion trend (opens in new tab) cycle. She shares with Marie Claire that the industry's method-behind-the-madness is a great starting point for you to consider when seeking a wedding guest dress. "And there are so many fun, more emotional trends to try this season in formal wear: bright colors, paillettes, fringe, and new exciting details like bows, ruffles, and rosettes are the trends I'd try to incorporate into my wedding guest look this year," says Siboni.
Ahead, the fashion director offers insight into which specific dresses to keep your eye on for the spring and summer 2023 season and breaks it down per dress code. (If you're looking ahead to winter guest dress season, we have a guide to that too.) You'll want to have your credit card on hand, too, because we've curated a ready-to-shop edit of stunning wedding guest dresses.
Formal Wedding Guest Dresses
"Black tie used to be about formal gowns, but rules have relaxed over the past few years," says Siboni. "Shorter lengths, for instance, are becoming more acceptable. However, I do love an occasion to get dressed up, so I would personally wear something more formal to a black-tie wedding." In particular, the market expert says she'll be "trying out paillettes or a strapless gown in a fun color" for a formal spring wedding. Look also to ruffles and dresses with excess volume for an all-out effect.
Semi-Formal Wedding Guest Dresses
"For a cocktail-themed wedding, where the dress code is a bit more relaxed, I would experiment with a more fashion-forward trend: fringe and rosettes are two of my favorites this spring that I think they are perfect for any wedding," shares Siboni. And, as you can see with Self-Portrait and Amanda Uprichard's girly mini dresses, bow detailing taps into a fun and flirty feeling that's perfectly on theme with the romantic occasion.
Casual Wedding Guest Dresses
"I love trying something that isn’t traditional for a more casual wedding—a matching set is always a great option, or an easy dress with a bold print, for example," shares the Bloomingdale's expert. The key takeaway here is that effortless comfort reigns supreme when dressing for a casual wedding.
Beach Wedding Guest Dresses
Siboni says to lean into the laidback energy of the setting when picking out a dress for a beach wedding. Sartorially speaking, that might look like "halter and strapless silhouettes and sheer elements on dresses. Also," she adds, "what better time to experiment with a bold color than for a summer beach wedding?"
Meet the Fashion Expert
Arielle Siboni is the Ready-to-Wear Fashion Director at Bloomingdale’s, overseeing contemporary, advanced contemporary, and designer apparel. In her role, Arielle leads trend forecasting in the womenswear space and translates trends in an accessible way, making it easy to discover pieces that complement one’s personal style. Arielle works alongside merchants to curate an apparel assortment of up-and-coming and established designers, and the editorial looks seen in Bloomingdale’s campaigns, leading to a cohesive fashion voice each season.
Emma Childs is the Style Editor at Marie Claire, where she researches up-and-coming trends, curates shopping guides, and gushes about the must-buy items she can't stop thinking about. She previously wrote for TZR, Editorialist, Elite Daily, and Mission Magazine and studied Fashion Studies and New Media at Fordham University. When she's not writing up fashion deep-dives or finding the season's best pieces, you'll find her fiddling around in Photoshop and perusing HBO Max for the next show to base her personality on (currently, it's "Succession").
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