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Winter weddings can be tough to dress for, but you don’t have to sacrifice style for warmth. There are plenty of ways to stay warm and look great at a winter wedding. Just follow these simple tips:
- Wear bright colours in the winter. That’s right, opt for something with a pop of colour instead of the standard black or navy-blue suit.
- Accessorize! When it comes to accessories, one is never enough. Go all out with layering rings, necklaces and bracelets that match your outfit and make your outfit stand out from the crowd. * Dress for the weather when it comes to shoes—you might want to wear high heels, but if it’s snowing, you’ll probably want boots instead so you don’t slip on the ice and embarrass yourself in front of everyone you know.* How about a cape? A long winter coat is always stylish for keeping warm—but what about a cape? It looks just as elegant as any coat without being so bulky or heavy that it weighs down your style.* People will be taking pictures at this event! Don’t forget to put on some lipstick before going outside and getting windburned lips!
Opt for a statement coat.
Coats are a fun way to shake up your winter wardrobe. There are coats that have been around for decades but have recently found new life, like plaid coats and faux fur coats, and there are also brand new styles of coat we’ve never seen before, like the oversized shearling coat and the teddy bear coat (both of which will be very popular this fall/winter season).
Statement coats come in all different shapes and sizes. The most common statement coats are made from leather or faux leather, wool or faux wool, velvet, suede or faux suede, faux fur (sheepskin), mohair/angora/alpaca/llama etc., sequins (but not recommended for a wedding!), printed cotton/polyester fabric… pretty much any outerwear material you can think of.
In my opinion the best thing about statement coats is that they’re so versatile—you can wear them with almost anything under them! You can wear jeans or leggings underneath your statement coat with a basic top (t-shirt or sweater) for an easy day look; you can wear a dress underneath it for a cool evening look; and you could even wear it over your work clothes if you work at an office where casual Friday is every day!
A long-line coat is the most flattering option.
While many people consider a cropped style for their winter wedding outfit, these coats are more difficult to wear than you might expect. They’re neither as flattering (they tend to add bulk) nor as practical (the cold air will get under the hem) as their longer counterparts. We recommend a long-line coat instead, particularly one that’s double-breasted, which adds a sense of structure and gravitas. A long-line coat is also a great choice if you want something that’s on trend: the longer length is fresh and modern, while still feeling timeless and classic. If you opt for a long-line coat in black with silver buttons, it can be worn beyond your big day—to work or over cocktail dresses later on. Just make sure it hits around mid-thigh—any shorter and your legs will look shorter; any longer and it won’t fit into most cars!
Faux fur is a great alternative to real fur.
Faux fur is a great way to look fabulous while also helping the environment. From shawls and wraps to full-length fur coats, there are incredible alternatives to real animal pelts that will make you feel like you’re wearing the real thing.
If you want your faux fur to look real, there are lots of ways to tell whether or not it’s actually real animal skin. One technique is to smell the fur; if it doesn’t smell like mothballs or chemicals, then it’s likely authentic (although be aware that some sellers will spray fake furs with chemicals in order create this illusion). A more reliable method is looking at the way light reflects off of the fur—if you can see your reflection clearly in the fur, chances are it’s not genuine.
However, some faux furs intentionally look obviously fake. These may come in bright colors or have an unusually smooth texture. If you’re interested in these styles and don’t care about looking realistic, go for it! The important thing is making sure you’re comfortable with your choice of garment and confident in how you look when wearing it.
If you want to wear black, make sure it has a fun feature.
If you’re one of those people who hates to be told what not to do, this tip is for you. Black really can be worn at a winter wedding—if you wear it right. A black dress or suit that has some fun element (like sequins, metallic fabric, cutouts, fur trim) will feel much more appropriate than a plain black outfit with no other colors or embellishments.
If your wedding will be very formal and traditional and you already have the perfect LBD in your closet that fits all the above criteria, then by all means wear it. But if you’re still on the fence about wearing black to a wedding in general, here are some other options:
- Dark grey
- Navy blue
Focus on your makeup look to add some extra glamour.
- Add a little glitter to your usual makeup routine: Maybe you usually skip shimmer in your everyday look and opt for matte, but this is an exception. Pick a sparkly eyeshadow, then put it on just the lid or inner corner of your eye.
- Go bold on the lips: If you’re wearing all black, you can make your lips pop by choosing a bold red lipstick. To do so, even out your skin tone with primer and foundation first. Then give yourself some definition using bronzer or blush before applying lipstick.
- Try false eyelashes: A pair of false lashes will definitely make your eyes pop without distracting from the rest of the look. Just be sure to apply glue evenly along both the top and bottom of each lash strip before sticking them on. Then use an eyelash curler to blend real and fake lashes together seamlessly.
Don’t rule out sequins!
Sequins may seem like they’re reserved for summer, but don’t rule them out for a winter wedding. A sequined dress can look very elegant in the wintertime with the right accessories. Pair it with a warm coat or cardigan and some diamond jewelry to accessorize. And remember to pick a simple design—too many sequins will make your dress look busy, and you want to be sure that all eyes are on you!
Velvet will never go out of style.
In the winter, velvet is a great material choice because it’s immediately elegant. It also looks beautiful in a variety of silhouettes, such as off-the-shoulder, long sleeves, short sleeves, and three quarter length sleeves. The fabric can be cut into bodycon or A-line shapes to show off your curves beautifully. And the best part: Velvet creates drama!
The ultra-soft and warm material isn’t just for those who want to bare some skin though; it’s versatile enough that you can wear it year round. Your velvet dress will become your go-to garment for everything from weddings to cocktail parties and family celebrations. Women of all ages can wear this fabric beautifully: pair a flowing velvet dress with pearls or heirloom jewelry from your mother or grandmother as a nod to family tradition (and don’t forget shoes that are comfortable enough for dancing).
Though it’s often thought of as fancier than average clothing, velvet pairs well with other fabrics like lace and silk charmeuse to create an even more dramatic look. Keep this in mind when considering accessories like shawls—velvet will add warmth over your shoulders without adding bulk under your coat.
You can never go wrong with a well-cut dress.
You can never go wrong with a well-cut dress. Formal and festive, elegant and effortless, the dress is the most versatile option on the winter wedding menu. The outdoor temps may be frigid, but you can keep warm with a pair of tights and a wool coat (at least until you hit the dance floor). If your wedding is indoors, that means less time spent shivering outside and more time getting cozy in your finery. Saving time that would have been spent layering up for warmth means there’s more time for cocktailing, mingling…and dancing.
A well-cut dress with a modern silhouette will do just fine. In fact, it’ll be an ideal choice for all the reasons above—plus it will make you look like you really belong at this wedding (which we know is important to you).
Turtlenecks are super chic.
You can never go wrong with a turtleneck. They’re flattering and warm, two things you’re going to want if you’re at a winter wedding. They also look good with everything from dresses to high-waisted pants to skirts.
Need more proof that turtlenecks are the way to go for winter weddings? Think about it: What’s the most iconic outfit of all time? Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s! Specifically, she’s wearing a black dress and pearls—but what’s keeping her neck warm? A black turtleneck!
If you have to wear pants, don’t opt for plain trousers.
When it comes to winter wedding attire, you’re going to have fewer options than at a summer wedding. In fact, the only truly acceptable outfit for a female guest is probably a dress (with stockings). This is because trousers are seen as “workwear” and thus inappropriate for formal occasions. But if you really feel like wearing trousers—which can look very chic if done right—you should know that there are certain things that will make them more formal and appropriate for an elegant affair like a wedding:
- Avoid pleats. If you don’t know what these are, I urge you to check this article on how pants fit.
- Wool trousers look more expensive and formal than cotton ones, so keep that in mind when making your purchase. Note: avoid synthetic fabrics like nylon or polyester, as they look cheap.
- Lined trousers will always make them seem more elegant and appropriate for winter weddings (or any other events during the cooler months of the year). For example, wool flannel trousers lined with silk are ideal for cold weather! You’ll be warm while looking impeccable.
Look for waterproof boots that match your coat and scarf.
Looking for the perfect pair of weather-proof boots? We recommend something with a wool lining, and a durable sole that can handle icy sidewalks. I love my classic Le Chameau rain boots for their breathable midsoles, which make them feel like slippers, as well as their waterproof nubuck leather outer layer. If you’re looking to glam up your look, they also come in metallic silver and rose gold.
But if you are going to be walking on snow and ice all night, you may want something warmer than rubber boots—in that case, these cap-toe cowboy boots from Dolce Vita might be just what you’re looking for. They have the same lug sole as my favorite winter hiking boots that keep me from slipping on ice during daily walks with the dog (shout out to the Swiss brand Lowa).
Warm, stylish outfits can be elevated with the right accessories!
A simple, neutral outfit can be elevated with a great accessory. Try one of these options:
- A scarf. The right scarf can really pull an outfit together and give it an extra dose of chicness, but in the wintertime you’ll want to find one that’s both stylish and functional. Cashmere is a fine choice. Silk may be too thin, but silk blends work well because they have more warmth without making you look like you’re wearing your granny’s nightgown around your neck.
- A hat. In addition to keeping your head warm, a stylish hat is a fun way of showing off your unique sense of fashion and will turn heads for all the right reasons. Whether it’s a beanie, fedora, or cloche style (or something else entirely—anything goes when it comes to hats!), make sure your chosen lid complements the rest of what you’re wearing rather than clashing with it or looking out of place in some other way. If you feel like going full-on 1920s flapper (which is always chic), try pairing that cute little number up top with a pair of long gloves and some dangly chandelier earrings!
- Jewelry. Sparkling diamonds are always appropriate at parties, as long as they don’t clash with the color scheme or style theme of whatever gathering you’re attending—but if glitzy isn’t really your thing, a nice string of pearls can help complete almost any ensemble while still being understated enough that you won’t come off as gaudy or overdressed in comparison to everyone else at the event!
The important thing is that you not only feel warm and comfortable, but also look stylish. This may require a few outfit tweaks from your standard cold-weather uniform. You can achieve this by layering or pairing different garments with one another, or by adding something to an already-warm outfit—like a statement necklace or chic pair of earrings—to make it special. After all, regardless of whether it’s snowing outside, every wedding guest should feel like they’re walking the red carpet.