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Liz & Michelle's tips on what to wear as a wedding guest when you are over 50

Two Women Chatting tips on what to wear to a wedding when your are over 5o

Having had a bit of a drought wedding invitation-wise over the past years the invitations have started trickling in as nieces, nephews and friends’ children are starting to settle down. Which is wonderful but what do you wear to a wedding when you are in your 50's? Both of us have memories of aunts wearing frumpy dresses, bolero jackets, oversized hats and sensible shoes and are determined to avoid looking like Mrs Bucket and try and to aim more Helen Mirren. To this end we we decided to spend some time researching and here are our tips and suggestions to enjoy being a wedding guest in midlife.

Check the wedding invitation for clues

Weddings have changed a bit – many are held in private venues including outdoors which can be a challenge in itself so always check the timings and the long-term wedding forecast. If there is no dress code mentioned on the invitation do a bit of detective work. If the wedding is being held at a luxury country house it is probably going to be more formal than a wedding held at a rustic barn so you need to dress accordingly. However, what you do want to do is feel confident in what you wear. Don’t compare yourself with 20 and 30-year-olds - our best advice is to ignore specialist wedding outfitters, and choose a style and shape you love, that flatters you and you will wear again.

Wear something special

We live in a very casual world, but a wedding is special and an excuse to dress up. An immense amount of time and effort goes into planning to make the day special and so it is important you recognize the need to dress up and it is better to be overdressed than underdressed. For most weddings, a dress is a perfect choice but dressy trousers or a chic jumpsuit are acceptable especially if you don’t feel comfortable showing your legs.

Avoid wearing white

While there are no formal rules, white is reserved for the bride. Even if the bride is not wearing white, white makes one think of a bride, so stay clear out of respect. If you like wearing lighter colours opt for a pastel and you may also want to check what colour the bridesmaids are wearing.

Wear what you feel suits you

Both of us are a tad over 5 ft tall and have recently been introduced to floatier dresses by our daughters which make us look on-trend, confident and comfortable. They can be dressed up with elegant jewellery and what better time to bring out your best jewellery than a wedding to complement your outfit. But do avoid low-cut dresses or dresses that are too loud, bright, or busy. You want to look good and stand out, but not in a negative way. Shorter dresses look best when structured, floaty or featuring bold florals. At a recent wedding we both attended some of the best-dressed female guests wore long floor-length dresses or skirts which looked fantastic later on the dance floor.

Some of our favourites include Rixo, Thread & Needle , Gina Bacconi and Aspiga.

If you don’t want to show off your arms and shoulders wear a wrap or try a jacket dress.

Also the wrap will come in handy at the church, in an air-conditioned reception hall or on a patio if the reception is outside.

Add a chic silk scarf to hide your neckline

Most women over 50 worry about their décolletage so you may choose to wear a dress with a high neck but if you have an ample bosom they can make you look rather top heavy. One solution is to wear an elegant silk scarf. Check out MiaAmorByDaisy who has gorgeous handpainted bespoke silk scarves.

Wear stylish shoes

Never underestimate the importance of your shoes. They should be stylish and dressy, you can always kick them off when you hit the dance floor- it’s one of the few times you really get a chance to dance. Alternatively, pop a pair of flip-flops in your bag.

Should you wear a hat?

It's far less common nowadays to wear a hat and unless it is mentioned on the wedding invitation you will find many guests forgo hats and fascinators. Having said that do what makes you feel most comfortable. You could always add a hair accessory to give your look that extra something special.

Carry an evening bag

Leave your heavy, everyday bag at home and opt for something more elegant. A clutch or small chain handbag is a perfect choice for the occasion.

Consider renting an outfit or buying second hand

There are numerous websites that sell pre-loved designer clothes such as Sellier and Vestiare and there are an increasing number of companies offering designer clothing to rent, so you can wear something truly special with less waste. Check out Selfridges Rental, By Rotation and Girl Meets Dress.

Final thoughts

Always consider emotional comfort, too. Don’t suddenly abandon your personal style. If you never wear dresses don't start now just because you think you ought to for a wedding. There are plenty of jumpsuits, trouser suits and other separates that will look utterly chic. You want to enjoy the day as much as the bride and groom.

Listen to the Two Women Chatting podcast where we chat with Patsy Dhir about 'Dressing for Summer Occasions' in midlife. Other great brands for Summer are Ridley & Sophia Alexia (to receive 15% discount quote PATSY15)

Please visit our resources page which has a collection of useful links from 3rd party websites and content.

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1 Comment

Jun 18, 2023

Really helpful - off to buy a new dress

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