How to pull off the Absolute Right Outfit for a wedding
How to pull off the Absolute Right Outfit for a wedding

IMAGE

The best black boots to strut your stuff in this autumn
The best black boots to strut your stuff in this autumn

Sarah Finnan

This spatchcock chicken recipe will make your weekend
This spatchcock chicken recipe will make your weekend

Meg Walker

Catch yourself on, ‘Derry Girls’ is not ‘distinctively British’
Catch yourself on, ‘Derry Girls’ is not ‘distinctively British’

Sarah Finnan

8 easy ways to keep your brain healthy that you can do right now
8 easy ways to keep your brain healthy that you can do right now

IMAGE

Over half of us are cleansing wrong – here’s how it’s done
Over half of us are cleansing wrong – here’s how it’s done

Holly O'Neill

‘Trying to dress my bump for four weddings and a funeral’
‘Trying to dress my bump for four weddings and a funeral’

Kate White

The dark world of mommy vlogging takes another blow
The dark world of mommy vlogging takes another blow

Holly O'Neill

This Georgian Leopardstown home full of country charm is on sale for €2.7 million
This Georgian Leopardstown home full of country charm is on sale for €2.7 million

Megan Burns

The treatment of the women’s rugby Interpros is sadly indicative of all women’s sports in Ireland
The treatment of the women’s rugby Interpros is sadly indicative of all women’s sports in...

Lauren Heskin

Image / Style / Fashion / Off The Cuff / Weddings

How to pull off the Absolute Right Outfit for a wedding


by IMAGE
17th Sep 2021
blank

For all the celebrated loveliness of a wedding, getting dressed for the occasion can be anything but. From the autumn issue of IMAGE Magazine, out now, Suzie Coen explains how pulling off the Absolute Right Outfit takes crystal sharp focus and excellent shopping supervision.

Wedding season has taken on a whole new form this year, with lavish functions of hundreds of people swapped for more intimate affairs, but there’s one question that remains unwavering: What are you going to wear?

These days, dress codes are a mystery to all of us. Few weddings are actually black tie now, but just how smart is smart casual? Throw in a pandemic and a limited guest list (one that is subject to change) and then things get even more confusing.

The way things stand right now, the dress code is WIOFY: Work It Out For Yourself.

I think the unspoken rule of dressing for weddings is: make an effort, but don’t look weddingy – as in, trussed up in a starchy number that’s clearly only good for one thing. You don’t want to buy a dress from ASOS that three other guests will be wearing, but equally, you don’t want to go too formal and end up looking like one of the bridesmaids, or the mother of the bride. But even then, you might want to go the less-effort side, because the people holding it are quite cool and you don’t want to look like a weather girl or, God forbid, someone who has gone out to buy something new when you should really be borrowing/ buying second-hand/renting.

If this outfit conundrum leaves you intimidated rather than excited, then you’re not alone. I find smart casual (particularly at family weddings) agonising. I’m useless at “nice” clothes – meaning pieces that don’t whiff of modern fashion with outsized silhouettes, interesting hemlines, unusual fabrics and cuts.

When I need a fresh eye for a tricky job, I enlist the skills of my style truthsayer sister. She is invaluable in many ways. She knows my body shape intimately – she’s spent more time crushed up against it (when I make her share the Zara changing cubicle) than she would like. She’s up to speed with my ever-expanding list of aversions – no shorts, no skirts, no dresses, no cleavage, no V-necks, no florals, no pastels, no spindly heels… you name it. She crucially gets that every single outfit has to say something about me whilst simultaneously supporting and mocking me about my wardrobe, littered as it is with affections and whims. She does all this whilst controlling the urge to roll her eyes. Mostly…

We have rules, though, on our shopping trips. We can’t spend all day at it (a drinky lunch smooths the angst) and we have to be honest. Brisk and brutal judgements and pronouncements are made – “No, it’s horrendous, it’s actually hurting my eyes.” And “Take it off, it’s desperate looking.”

Also “Hold in your tummy there ’til we see how it’s meant to look. Oh, you are? Riiiight…” And “That’s lovely on you as it is and if you plan on getting thinner, it’ll look even better.” Startled shop assistants ask nervously, “Are you friends?” and we reassure them with a laugh, “Christ no, we’re sisters! We wouldn’t speak to our friends like this.”

Our shopping diktats are not about body flattery or event suitability as much as channelling a vibe. And we use a shorthand code to rein a look in – when it’s gone too Sister Wives (prim modesty); Country Communion (super vamp); Serious Sculptor (severely plain) or Family Day At Rehab (sensible, vanilla nothingness).

The process isn’t for everyone, but it produces results – unearthing great gems and encouraging experimentation. My style truthsayer was particularly excellent at helping to hunt down an outfit for the most recent family wedding. I’m one of those “I don’t want to look sexy in an obvious hoisted-up way – that would scare me – but I definitely want to be sexy” types.

This sexy has to be rooted in authenticity and comfort and it also has to have a wow factor. We found it in a sleekly tailored, wide-legged, minimalist jumpsuit that oozed understated, modern chic. In black, of course. I was confident I wouldn’t meet my jumpsuit on anyone else at this wedding. I mean, I was quite safe…

I was thrilled with it. I loved it. My boyfriend did not. Him on beholding it (and me, in it) for the first time: “Is that for the wedding?” A deceptively mild response I could, nonetheless, immediately translate as: “I really hope you’re not serious.”

“Look it,” I said, “imagine it with platform sandals. And statement jewellery. Factor in salon-blown hair and pro make-up.”

“Right,” he said doubtfully, “and then it will look… much… different?”

“It will,” I said coldly. “It will.”

“Grand so,” he said happily. Instead of killing him, I gave him a lecture on the importance of respecting the fashion choices of others in general and me in particular and then left him in quiet contemplation of What He Had Done.

The jumpsuit made it to the wedding because for me, the best outfits have a sense of ease to them. When you look comfortable but put together at the same time, that is the holy grail of stylish dressing. By the way, you do feel great in a trouser ensemble. I don’t want to say empowered, which may be the word you were expecting, but sexy and swaggery. An elegant jumpsuit at a wedding is the sartorial equivalent of a cool drink of water when everyone else is a bit flustered. It’s subtly subversive and perfect for dancing.

Certainly, attitude is everything, which is worth remembering with a jumpsuit, when you realise you have to strip to your bra every time you have to go to the loo. Good luck with that.

Photography by Jason Lloyd Evans.

blank

The autumn issue of IMAGE Magazine is on sale now. 

Indulgent reading

Subscribe to IMAGE for perfect indulgence reading at just €99 per year.

As well as being the first to receive our magazines and having the latest issue delivered to your door, IMAGE Print & Premium subscribers have first-look digital access to the issue, exactly as it appears in print, which you can revisit at any time.

 Subscribe today and receive:
  • Four issues of IMAGE Magazine and two issues of Image Interiors delivered to your door.
  • Access to all daily premium articles from Ireland’s leading contributors
  • Digital versions of all magazines. Read IMAGE and Image Interiors exactly as they appear in print.
  • Bespoke weekly email, rounding up the best content exclusive to subscribers.
  • luxury gift from The Handmade Soap Company, worth €60*.

 


*Terms and conditions apply. Offer available only while stocks last on gift advertised (ANAM Candle and ANAM Body Oil). The gift is only valid on postal addresses to the Republic of Ireland. Please allow 28 days after you subscribe to receive your gift. IMAGE Media reserves the right to vary their prices from time to time and any price adjustments will be advised.

 

 

Also Read

occasionwear
FASHION, SHOPPING, WEDDINGS
Stylist Courtney Smith picks the occasionwear to buy now

Have a wedding coming up, or a trip to the races? Stylist Courtney Smith tells us what she has her...

By Holly O'Neill

menopause
BEAUTY
Mastering menopause: the expert guide to skin treatments

Menopause. Sigh. No matter how you try to dress it up it, menopause is a word that’s possibly one of...

By Melanie Morris

job
REAL-LIFE STORIES
How to make the leap to quit your job

Savings? Check. Star signs? Checked. From the autumn issue of IMAGE Magazine, out now, Esther O’Moore Donohoe talks about the...

By Esther O'Moore Donohoe

autumn issue of IMAGE
BREAKING STORIES
Editor’s letter: the autumn issue of IMAGE Magazine is out now

Editor Lizzie Gore-Grimes welcomes you to the autumn issue of IMAGE Magazine, on sale now, and we have three articles...

By Lizzie Gore-Grimes

sea swimming
SHOPPING
Sea swimming essentials every first-timer should have on their list

Sea swimming essentials that might come in handy if you decide on finally taking the plunge. Sea swimming has been...

By Sarah Finnan

setting sprays
BEAUTY
The setting sprays to try to extend your make-up no matter the weather

For the ultimate make-up setting power, no matter the weather you need a setting spray. Good setting sprays will feel...

By Holly O'Neill

Ciara Flood
FASHION
Need clarity of mind? Start with a cathartic Covid wardrobe cleanse

Style consultant Rose-Mary Roche takes us through her step-by-step guide to the ultimate wardrobe cleanse. Start by pulling out your...

By IMAGE

blank
OFF THE CUFF
Irish fashion boutiques in a pandemic: One Wexford shop on a very quiet reopening and the struggle to stay open

In the third of a three-part series looking at Irish fashion boutique owners and the impact of the pandemic, we...

By Sarah Finnan

blank
BEAUTY
WIN a hair makeover with renowned hair stylist Melvin Royce Lane

Enter for you chance to WIN a complete hair makeover from the talented Australian hair stylist Melvin Royce Lane.Tired of...

By Shayna Sappington