Weddings have long stipulated many fashion rules — skipping overly showy silhouettes to avoid upstaging the happy couple, foregoing black as a sidestep to looking somber, and never, ever wearing white or similarly soft shades. But, of course, most of these constraints now feel antiquated, as does the notion that sexy wedding guest dresses aren’t appropriate. The truth is, occasions like weddings are some of the only times many can embrace their bolder style intuitions and daring trends, like leg-revealing slits, open-back gowns, or slinky and vibrantly colored designs. But, at what point is a show of skin crossing the line? And how short can a hem or fitted a silhouette be before it’s considered unsuitable?
“I think it’s important to dress for your body and decide how much skin to show,” says Cult Gaia founder and designer Jasmin Larian Hekmat — a modern master of alluring silhouettes. She and Intermix chief merchant Divya Mathur agree that choosing one body part to highlight is the best way to approach sexy wedding guest dresses. “If you opt for a side cutout, then avoid a plunging neckline,” Mathur tells TZR. “Showing some skin is chic; showing it all is not.”
Similarly, Larian Hekmat adds, “If you love your legs, go for a flirty mini with a cowl neck,” such as an artful bias-cut satin Nerida dress with chain brass straps. Or, “if you want to embrace your ultra-feminine figure, go for something with tasteful cutouts that show some skin but still leave something to be desired,” like the label’s Raisa Gown.
Another way to make sure a sexy wedding guest dress is appropriate for the event is by considering the ambiance, says Mathur. Think a peek-a-boo midi, scant minidress, or body-skimming maxi for a relaxed beach wedding versus a one-shoulder, side cutout, or open-back gown for a black-tie affair.
“I think the styling has so much to do with taking a sexy dress from appropriate to inappropriate,” Larian Hekmat adds. “If you’re already wearing something sexy, keep your jewelry, accessories, hair, and makeup understated and effortless.” Minimal strappy sandals, timeless or neutral heels, and sculptural jewelry are all ideal accents to embrace.
As for hard no’s when it comes to sexy wedding guest dresses, Mathur discourages an excessive show of cleavage. From Larian Hekmat’s perspective, white wedding guest dresses remain the ultimate faux-pax. “But it all depends on the bride,” she tells TZR. “If you want to wear something sexy for the occasion, ask what she’s comfortable with and take her lead. Often, you’ll be surprised by the response.”
Ahead, discover five types of sexy wedding guest dresses worthy of a spot in your wardrobe, with additional styling tips from Larian Hekmat and Mathur.
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A Bare Back
Curve-skimming, cleavage-revealing, and ultra-leggy looks aren’t the only ways to draw attention with fanciful attire. Instead, Mathur and Larian Hekmat advocate for the bare back as an alluring wedding guest dress trend. “It’s a subtle way to show skin that feels more sophisticated than a plunging neckline,” says Mathur.
Larian Hekmat tells TZR, “I think a woman’s back is one of the sexiest parts of her body, so when in doubt, go for something classic and covered up in the front with a sensual, wow moment in the back.” The label’s Azealia Gown is the best of both worlds. “Sophisticated yet daring,” she says.
The Cult Gaia designer has a tip if you have large breasts: “I have big boobs, so to wear backless dresses, I wear NuBra sticky bras — they’re a lifesaver.” The Brand Nue’s viral breast tape is another genius solution.
“The perfect sexy wedding guest dress reveals just the right amount of skin while still leaving something to the imagination, says Mathur. “I think a refined gown with a super-high slit is incredibly sexy and elevated — think Angelina Jolie [at the] 2012 Oscar’s in Versace.”
Bold Colors & Prints
“For this season, we’re loving a bold color or a fun print,” Mathur tells TZR. It’s yet another unexpected way to master sexiness, from Et Och’s neon green and pink minidresses to Nicholas and Saloni’s mesmerizing motifs, all found within Intermix’s just-launched Wedding Edit of exclusive bridal capsule pieces and formal and cocktail dresses for guests.
In addition to vibrant colors and prints, Larian Hekmat points to other trending maximalist designs in 2022, including fun, wrap-around cutout designs and over-the-top silhouettes that play with volume and texture. “Our Zariah Dress has an exaggerated fit and flare, and the feathers are carefully placed upward to create movement,” she details to TZR. “It’s one of those show-stopping dresses that makes everyone ask where you got it but is so elevated that it’s appropriate at the same time.” Adding, “It makes you feel like a million bucks.”
“Long and fluid dresses are a tried and true silhouette when you want something romantic, sexy, and clings to the body just right,” says Larian Hekmat, highlighting her label’s Renata Gown as a 2022 wedding season favorite. “It’s so luscious and moves with the body in a way that’s indescribable until you see it in person,” she says. “It gives the illusion of being naked while being fully covered — it’s the epitome of sexy.”