What to Wear to Your Own Rehearsal Dinner

Following on from last week’s article about what guests should wear to a rehearsal dinner I thought it would be nice to help out all those brides who aren’t sure what to wear either!

Being the bride at a rehearsal dinner you’re pretty much guaranteed to be center of attention, and if you’ve arranged the rehearsal dinner you may have set the dress code because you want to wear a particular outfit. In that case, you’re fine! If you’re unsure then I’m here to help.

Don’t forget, while you want to shine, you also need to hold something back for your wedding day. That should be when you wear the dress with the real wow factor! You only wear your wedding dress once, but the rehearsal dinner is a great chance to wear a fabulous outfit that you’ll be able to use again and again, so you can justify getting something really special.

Personally I like the idea of a bride wearing white to her rehearsal dinner, but in a totally different style to the wedding dress itself, so that’s what I’ve gone with here, but you should wear whatever you feel suits your personality. If bright pink suits your mood then go for that!

White Tie/Black Tie

This is the most formal option out of all the dress codes. You want to wear something knockout, but which is very different from your wedding dress. You can opt for full length gown or even go with a cocktail dress, like the one below.

formal rehearsal dinner outfit

If you want to buy something which will be wearable in the future, go for a cocktail dress and dress it up with some dazzling accessories. This vintage 1960s cocktail dress is just right when paired with some strappy silver heels and this amazing peacock clutch bag.

Formal/Black Tie Optional

For a formal event you have quite a lot of choice. You can wear either a suit, a cocktail dress or any other tailored smart dress.

Smart rehearsal dinner outfit

This 1970s sequined cocktail dress is beautiful, and when paired with some monochrome accessories like these smart heels and a super slim portfolio clutch you’ll really look classy!

Semiformal/Dressy Casual

Dressy casual is always tricky, but it’s always better to be overdressed than under dressed – especially if you’re the bride! A good choice would be a party dress or or smart trousers and a top.
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Vintage: The Perfect Mother of the Bride Outfit

Choosing a Mother of the Bride (or Groom) outfit is a tricky thing to get right. You want to look fabulous – let’s be honest your outfit is the most important after the wedding dress itself.

You want to look smart, elegant, and you certainly don’t want to risk wearing the same suit as someone else at the wedding! Because of this you can end up spending a fortune on an expensive outfit that you’ll probably only wear once. After all, your killer Mother of the Bride outfit may well be too grand to wear as a guest to another wedding, you want to let the next Mother of the Bride have her moment too after all!

My answer is to wear vintage. If you get it right, vintage really can offer the perfect solution. Not a hippy 70s kaftan, or 1920s flapper dress, but cocktail dresses from the 1950s and 60s which really lend themselves to a beautiful mother of the bride outfit because of the smart tailoring and beautiful fabrics.  You probably don’t want to look like you’ve stepped back in time, but you can dress a beautiful piece of vintage up with modern accessories and bring it bang up to date. It also means that nobody will turn up to the wedding wearing the same outfit as you, and it’s also a dress which will be very wearable to parties afterwards!

Metallic 1960s Dresses

Metallic fabrics were really popular in the 60s and add lots of glamor to an outfit. This vintage 1960s brocade dress is elegant and flattering with it’s tailored silver and gold fabric. Team with modern silver accessories like this Philip Treacy hat and a glittery Lulu Guinness lips clutch bag for some real statement style.

Vintage mother of the bride outfit

Block colors were really popular in the 1960s, whether bright jewel-toned colors or pretty pastels, like this pink silk dress below. To convert a beautiful vintage cocktail dress into an outfit worthy of Mother of the Bride team it with a stunning hat, like this cream rose-embellished hat and some beautiful pink shoes. I love these Jimmy Choo slingbacks with their metal heel and shiny patent pink leather.

Color Block Cocktail Dresses

Vintage mother of the bride outfit

1950s Wiggle Dresses

To add a touch of sophisticated sex-appeal to your outfit you could go for a 1950s wiggle dress, like this silk floral dress below. This style of dress gives you a fabulous hourglass shape and makes you look like a glamorous extra from Mad Men! Team it with a fabulous wide-brimmed hat, and if you fancy a bit of a rock ‘n roll touch how about this amazing knuckleduster clutch bag in matching jewel colors?Vintage mother of the bride outfit

So, vintage is a great choice for your mother of the bride outfit! Take a look at our vintage cocktail dresses for some more inspiration!

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Why Vintage Fashion is More Fun than Frightening

It may seem strange to people who already love to wear vintage, but newbies can find the idea of wearing vintage fashion quite intimidating. It’s easy to see why when we see Hollywood stars looking picture-perfect in their vintage Chanel gowns, or immaculate 40s-style pin up girls who seem to have been born with glamorous red pin curls and an impressive cleavage. To the rest of us however dipping our toes into the vintage scene can seem a little frightening!

But fear not, I’m here to gently encourage you and give you all the confidence you need to start wearing vintage! After all, what you wear should be fun, not something to feel anxious about!

Playing Dress Up

A major concern for people wanting to start wearing vintage is that they won’t get it ‘right’.  Will you look look like you’re on your way to a fancy dress party, or maybe like you’ve been rummaging around in a thrift store?

Luckily, one of the great things about wearing vintage is that there is no right and wrong. That’s what makes it all such fun! You could go for a full-on authentic 1940s look, complete with Victory Rolls, perfect makeup and authentic vintage from top to toe, or just throw on a 1970s sweater with a pair of your usual jeans. Either way you’ll look fabulous!

Vintage outfit

Above: One example of mixing vintage with modern. This amazing vintage 1960s-does 1920s dress, would look great with a cashmere sweater and some cute flat shoes.

I’ll let you into a little secret: there won’t be an underground network of vintage fashionistas looking at you and whispering behind their hands: ‘look at her, she’s wearing a 1950s sweater with 1970s jeans!, Can you believe it?’ That just doesn’t happen!

There’s a lot to be said for being comfortable in what you’re wearing, but at the same time it’s good to push the boundaries a little too. If you don’t feel like wearing head-to-toe vintage, try just adding a vintage handbag or earrings to your normal outfit, or wearing a vintage dress with modern accessories. Just try it as an experiment!  The compliments will start, and with each compliment you’ll feel a little braver and ready to start dressing in clothes which really inspire you.

Oh, and don’t worry about looking ‘dated’. You won’t look old fashioned unless you want to. Your favorite stores are full of styles which are reminiscent of vintage fashions – you’ll see cheap knockoffs of 1920s flapper dresses, 50s prom dresses and 1960s minidresses everywhere, so why not wear the real thing. You’ll look terrific!

Your Chance to Really Be Unique

Something I love about wearing vintage is that nobody will be wearing the same outfit as you! Fashion stores make thousands of each style of dress every season, but in the past fashions were generally produced in much smaller quantities, and even handmade. So you can be pretty confident you’ll be the only person wearing your fabulous 1960s dress!

It’s true that this uniqueness can make shopping for that perfect vintage party dress a little more difficult, (after all if everything is unique, you need to look harder to find that perfect dress in your size), but that can be part of the fun. There’s an absolute cornucopia of styles available in vintage stores, it’s like having the biggest box of candy in the world to choose from!

And buying it couldn’t be more simple: if you’re buying a vintage dress, get your measurements to hand before you start, then your computer and you’re ready to go vintage shopping. Because dress sizes in the past varied enormously to now, all good vintage stores list the measurements of each outfit clearly. Take this amazing 1960s dress for example:

Vintage 1960s dress

Lovely isn’t it? The bust measures 32″, the waist 26″, hips 44″ and the length is 43″, and if you’re not sure how to take those measurements there are clear instructions how to measure yourself too – see? Easy as pie!

Team it with some shimmering gold shoes and a gorgeous gold wristlet (which is like a mini clutch bag but with a handy wrist strap) for some real party glamour.

Oh The Fabrics!

Fast fashion simply didn’t exist pre-1980s, and garments tended to be much better made than the equivalents today. The quality of vintage speaks for itself: after all, will a dress bought in a supermarket today still be around in 70 years time? It probably isn’t biodegradable so I’m sure it will still be around in some form, but I doubt it will be in any kind of shape to still be a desirable item of clothing! Compare that to this vintage 1950s dress (below), which is absolutely exquisite. As beautiful today as the day it was bought, the fabric is gorgeous and the embroidery and sequins were probably sewn by hand. You’d have to buy high-end designer clothes to get that kind of quality today, unless you’re smart and go for the vintage option!

Vintage 1950s dress

So, what’s not to love? Vintage is versatile, stylish (after all, a classic outfit never goes out of fashion!) and great fun to wear, so why not take the plunge and start wearing vintage today?

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