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    DRESS CODE 101: CAN YOU WEAR BLACK TO A WEDDING?

    DRESS CODE 101: CAN YOU WEAR BLACK TO A WEDDING?

    • Diala Khoury

    DRESS CODE 101: CAN YOU WEAR BLACK TO A WEDDING?

     Unless someone provides a very detailed dress code for their wedding, the rules are never "black and white," which is precisely why black happens to be the topic of the day. Some traditional unwritten rules for attending a wedding are carved in stone, but wedding fashion has evolved right along with the rest of the fashion world. The scope of an acceptable wedding dress code is much broader today than it used to be, but there are still some serious fashion faux pas that you can fall victim to if you aren't up to speed on the latest wedding wear trends.

    While white still isn't (and probably never will be) an okay color to wear to a wedding, one thing that people aren't entirely clear on yet is whether or not wearing black to a wedding is socially acceptable. Here, we'll cover some of the history behind wearing black dresses to weddings. We'll also go over some of the reasons why people might still be inclined to steer clear of choosing black and some general style tips should you be bold enough to select a LBD to satisfy your next wedding invite.  

    HISTORY OF BLACK DRESSES AT WEDDINGS

    There was a time when black was on par with white as an utterly unacceptable color option for wedding guests, but the times are changing. In the United States, the main issue with wearing black to a wedding is because black is often associated with mourning and is typically reserved for funerals. Another potential problem is that some brides and families simply want a very traditional ceremony, in which black would be out of place on a guest.

    Beyond the United States, black can take on different cultural, religious, and socioeconomic meanings, so some couples or families might find it offensive or disrespectful to wear it to a wedding.

    However, it's challenging to overlook the chic and elegant qualities black possesses, making it an attractive choice for weddings. As the world of fashion has evolved, many styles that were once considered socially unacceptable or unfashionable have become stylish and trendy. Wearing a black dress as a wedding guest is one of them – as long as it's done right.   

    GENERAL STYLE TIPS FOR WEDDINGS

    Today, most people agree that black is an acceptable option for wedding guest dresses, as long as you style the dress appropriately. Clearly, you don't want to appear as if you were dressing for a funeral, so be sure to put together an ensemble that looks like it was chosen with that very special occasion in mind.

    Follow the general wedding style etiquette as well, making sure that the dress isn't too tight, low-cut, or short. If you receive any dress code details before the wedding, be sure to abide by them.

    While black might be the color you have your mind set on, you must always consider the location, season, and even the time of day. For example, suppose you're attending a destination wedding in a tropical locale. In that case, you might consider forgoing black in favor of a brighter or lighter color that would better match the event's vibe. Similarly, if the wedding is taking place early in the day or is a more casual affair, black might not be the best choice.

    Keeping in mind that there are various shades of black, you should opt for a lighter one regardless of where and when the ceremony is taking place. Instead of choosing a stark black dress, go for a lighter shade or a midnight hue. You can also put together an ensemble that features a black base combined with rich jewel tones, a lively print, or bright pops of color. 

    FINDING THE PERFECT LBD

    If you're itching to don your favorite LBD to the next wedding you're invited to, go for it. There are a few simple ways to ensure that your outfit will be seen as fashionable, festive, and fun rather than somber or inappropriate. Here are a few styles that look awesome in black and are totally appropriate for a wedding.

    COCKTAIL

    This broad dress code leaves a lot of room for creativity and innovation. Basically, the only hard and fast rule for cocktail attire is to make sure it's classy and has a hemline that falls anywhere from just above to just below the knees, which are perfect rules for wedding guest attire. A little black cocktail dress is ideal for most weddings, and especially casual ones. Add a bright pop of color with some neon pumps and a matching neon clutch or some light-colored accessories for a fun contrast.

    EVENING GOWN

    If you've been invited to a wedding with a black-tie dress code, you can really turn heads showing up in a black evening gown – but save this option for only the most formal wedding dress codes. Otherwise, you might look a little too elegant. Choose a black evening gown with some sequins or glitter, or pair it with a glimmering statement necklace for a touch of extra glam.

    JUMPSUITS

    If you've been invited to a fun, casual wedding and dresses and skirts aren't your thing, a black jumpsuit will undoubtedly help you stand out without sacrificing your comfort or style. This bold option can be the perfect marriage of elegant, chic style and casual fun when styled appropriately. Choose a jumpsuit that's tailored perfectly and includes some unique details or accessories, like lace, sequins, cutouts, statement jewelry, or bright-colored prints and accents.

    MAKE IT WORK

    The majority rules that black is a very stylish option for wedding wear these days, as long as you know how (and when) to pull it off. If you've got a black dress in mind for your next wedding ensemble, take some style advice above, and don't be afraid to be bold. In most cases, as long as you keep it classy by not choosing to show up in your skimpiest LBD, black is a perfectly acceptable – and even super-stylish – choice for today's weddings.  

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