Our Editors' Guide to Wedding Guest Dressing


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April showers bring May flowers. But they also herald the start of wedding season.

Sofia Richie kicked off the season with her wedding weekend in the South of France, where she wore some truly incredible outfits that set the tone for cool summer style. But cool summer style isn't just for the bride. In anticipation of any upcoming nuptials you might attend, our editors have broken down the runway trends sure to make their way onto the guest lists of this season's weddings.

Who What Wear shopping editor Indya Brown and associate director of special projects Kristen Nichols share the do's and don'ts of wedding guest dressing in the latest episode of Who What Wear With Hillary Kerr. For excerpts from their conversation, scroll below.

Let's start with some of the biggest trends. Maybe it's color. Maybe it's a silhouette. Maybe it's the accessory you have to have. What do you see trickling over into the wedding space this summer?

Kristen Nichols: We are especially excited coming off of Sofia Richie's wedding. [It's all] the internet is talking about. As much as everyone's talking about Richie's style, I think some of the guests felt very inspiring. I think Nicole Richie was a standout. She wore a few amazing looks. Her archival Donna Karen look. Her green sheer Alberta Ferretti look. People are going to be looking to those [to see] where the bar is set for wedding guest style this summer. Those are already some of the most talked about looks that I think people will be referencing.

We've really seen this major resurgence of maxi hemlines. Regardless of if you're dressing for a cocktail [dress code] or dressing for a black tie [dress code], I think that'll be a huge trend and just something that feels very elevated and chic and also kind of taps into that whole quiet luxury we're seeing play out. Other than that, I think we'll also see some big accessories trends play into wedding guest style this summer. There's the whole '80s jewelry thing that's major right now that we saw on the runways at Saint Laurent. These statement earrings, metal bracelets, and cuffs. I think those will be the accessories of the season. 

Indya Brown: I totally agree with Kristen in terms of the maxi hemlines. I feel like it's just so appropriate, no matter the occasion, and it just looks so elegant, and it's really easy to pull off.

I can kind of see the drop waist making an entry point into wedding dress style. It's definitely something that's picking up with ready-to-wear and designer collections. I think [we'll see people] kind of interpreting that in a more experimental way for weddings and gowns in general.

I think there's a lot of potential for these really beautiful and soft ruffles. I always talk about Fanci. Fanci is a Vietnamese brand if you are not familiar. They made this Garden of Eden dress that is literally everywhere. I have it [and] love it. That dress set off the resurgence of ruffles and rosettes and things like that. I feel like that trend, that kind of beautiful ruffle moment—almost a little Y2K ruffle moment—will make its way into wedding gowns and then even wedding guest dresses.

In your opinion, what makes something cocktail attire, and what are you feeling within this realm right now?

IB: I'm feeling suits. I think with cocktail attire, you have to hit a level of dressiness, but there's room to be a little bit more experimental. I just think a suit set is really cool and fun. A beautiful, tailored suit. Maybe a silk suit or something.

With cocktail attire, you can go short without feeling like it's not appropriate. I've seen a few of those [bow] styles where there's a short minidress and a big bow in the back. It's kind of fun. It's a little cutesy but really fun if you want to not do what's expected.

In terms of matching sets, I hate to say it again, but Cult Gaia has incredible matching sets that feel very elevated and dressy but [are] really easy to pull off and wear.

KN: Cocktail [attire] is really the most fun dress code because there are fewer rules than something like black tie. As Indya said, you can do anything from suiting to a dress. I would probably stick with a midi or knee-length hemline, personally.

I think you can really dive into all the fun trends that are happening. Whether it's the kind of minimal sequins from 16Arlington that feel festive yet not too overpowering, or you could choose something like a floral-printed dress from Rodarte.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity. Next up, check out our previous episode featuring Aurora James.