Rachel Zoe’s Guide To Wedding-Attire Etiquette

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Wedding season is upon us, which means tears of happiness, boogying ’til your feet hurt and plenty of flutes of Champagne, but it also means endless stress over what to wear. From the politics of sporting white to the appropriateness of a short dress in a black-tie setting, wedding-season rules can be difficult to navigate. Here, Rachel gives us her styling advice for 5 perfect ensembles.

Rachel's Expert Styling Advice

Can I wear a short dress to a black-tie wedding?

“Absolutely. But if it’s short, it has to be tasteful. The lines for black-tie dressing are blurred, and there is a lot of gray area, but you don’t have to wear a long gown. If you go for a short dress, make sure it’s special and has a lot of bells and whistles—lots of glitz and glam.”

Locket Suede Platform Sandals

$90

Topshop

Rouge Dior Brilliant Lipshine

$35

Dior Beauty

Jet Drop Earrings

$150

Kenneth Jay Lane

Python and Leather Box Clutch

$2,495

Lee Savage

Embellished Cloqué Dress

$2,885

Giambattista Valli

Is it okay to wear white or cream as a wedding guest?

“Since it’s the bride’s big day, I would veer on the side of extreme caution when it comes to wearing off-white, ivory or cream. Play it safe, and if you want to wear a light color, opt for blush pink or heather grey. If the color reads white, pick a different dress.”

Crystal Belt

$313

Deepa Gurnani

Audacious Lipstick

$32

NARS

Tiered Silk-Organza Dress

$5,750

Burberry Prorsum

Maddy d’Orsay Pumps

$450

Barneys New York

Burgundy Acrylic Clutch

$1,081

Stella McCartney

What shoes should I wear to a beach wedding?

“A wedding on the sand is the perfect opportunity to wear gorgeous flat sandals with an ethereal caftan or bohemian dress. Even though you may end up barefoot, I would steer clear of flip-flops and go for a pretty slide or gladiator.”

Abstract Print Maxi Dress

$4,281

ETRO

Rockstud Flat Gladiator Sandal

$1,495

Valentino

Cream Baler Handwoven Leather Clutch

$180

Aranaz

Shimmer Wash Eye Shadow

$24

Bobbi Brown

Square Turquoise Ring

$2,277

Mociun

What does cocktail attire mean exactly?

“Since cocktail attire is open to interpretation (you can wear a short or long dress), dramatic accessories are key. Something about your outfit needs to feel special, so if you wear a simple dress, be sure to dress it up with interesting statement jewelry and strappy heels.”

Crystal Embellished Clutch

$1,500

Crystal Ring

$950

Lanvin

Colette Black Leather Cut-Out Sandal

$750

Aquazzura

Bronzer Powder

$55

Le Metier de Beaute

Midi Slip Dress

$58

Topshop

What should I wear as a guest to a town-hall wedding?

“Wear your version of a chic tailored suit—whether it’s a jumpsuit, trousers and a button-up, or a pencil skirt with a tailored jacket, you can’t go wrong with polished separates.”

Liquid Eye Liner

$20

MAC

Susi Pumps

$575

Salvatore Ferragamo

Gabriella Sunglasses

$395

Tom Ford

Tux Jumpsuit

$425

Rachel Zoe

Sac de Jour Mini Crossbody

$2,250

Yves Saint Laurent