Wedding dress codes can make us freak out. Beach chic? Upscale country? Semi-formal? Instead of taking a risk and wearing something fun and interesting, we usually find ourselves defaulting to a lackluster, safe dress. The fear that we'll stand out in all the wrong ways (read: underdressed, overdressed, or too on-theme) is just not worthwhile on another person's big day.
But just because it's someone else's wedding doesn't mean you shouldn't feel your best. The sweet spot is an outfit that's interesting
and in the safe zone. And one of the easiest ways to zhuzh up a wedding look is by forgoing dresses altogether. Instead, bring pants and skirts into the mix. Even if you're headed to a black-tie event, a cool suit or formal midi and top will up the ante in an appropriate way. Ahead, five wedding-ready outfits that don't involve a single dress. Here's to switching things up a bit.
The Dress Over Pants We've mastered dresses over pants when it comes to casual looks. We know that our jeans have the power to make all our dresses look that much better. But, pants under dresses are a great way to mix it up when it comes to formal events, too. Try a dress with an asymmetric hemline, or one that's a little too short to wear to a wedding on its own. You'll show off just enough of the pants, and get the right amount of coverage. Zara Sateen Dress, $99.90, available at Zara (shop similar here); Roh Seoul Aline Clutch Black, $168, available at W Concept; Pink Tartan High Waist Pants, $325 $162.50, available at IfChic; Anissa Kermiche Menage A Trois White Pearl Chain Earring, $1,266.94, available at Anissa Kermiche; Dries van Noten Sculpted-heel Suede Ankle-tie Pumps, $890, available at Barneys New York (shop similar here). More
The Matching Set If you're not about wearing a suit because, let's be honest, not all of us feel super-comfortable in one, try a matching set. You'll get the same feel, while being slightly less polished. This silvery set is sleek, can feel fancy when paired with the right accessories, and is the perfect palette for mixing metals. Le Fou by Wilfred Monique Pant, $185 $79.99, available at Aritzia; Le Fou by Wilfred Sirene Blouse, $165 $74.99, available at Aritzia; Stella McCartney Ball Leopard Faux-Fur Classic Clutch, $2,464, available at MatchesFashion (shop similar here); Charlotte Chesnais Large Galilea Earrings, $735, available at Moda Operandi (shop similar here); Jimmy Choo Mari Ankle-Tie Pump Bordeaux, $895, available at Neiman Marcus (shop similar here). More
The Skirt Yes, you can wear skirts to formal affairs, too. The best way to pick a skirt is to envision a dress you would wear to the wedding, and channel only the bottom half. Sounds simple, but it works. Another easy rule of thumb is that so long as your skirt is midi or longer, chances are you're good to go. Try pairing it with a formal, dimensional top, like this strapless number. Justine Clenquet Chloë Choker Gold, $127.50, available at Trouva; Tibi Satin Poplin Wrap Bustier, $118, available at N-Duo-Concept (shop similar here); Maison Margiela Court Paneled Glossed-leather and PVC Pumps, $663.25, available at The Outnet; Front Row Shop Vintage Brown Faux Fur Coat, $125, available at Front Row Shop (shop similar here); Stella McCartney Carmen Metallic-paneled Pleated Crepe Maxi Skirt, $1,695 $848, available at Net-A-Porter. More The Jumpsuit When done right, a jumpsuit is the ultimate dress substitute. To start, go for a black option; it's more interesting than your run-of-the-mill LBD. This version is upscale, but simple. Plus, you'll be able to wear it again and again, since you can dress it up or down, and make it feel different depending on accessories. Topshop Frill Strappy Jumpsuit, $125, available at Topshop (shop similar here); Opening Ceremony Crystal Nev Zip Clutch, $350, available at Opening Ceremony (shop similar here); Common Muse Greta Chain Earrings, $42, available at Common Muse; Christian Louboutin Riverina 55 Leather-trimmed Embroidered Mesh Pumps, $825, available at Net-A-Porte r; Tibi Bonded Houndstooth Coat, $1,250, available at Tibi (shop similar here). More
The Suit A suit is one of the easiest ways to look dressed up, put-together, and dress code-appropriate without even thinking about it. Seriously, with this throw-on-and-go look, getting dressed takes almost no time, especially because your shoes barely show (we recommend a pair with a low heel). For a more formal event, forgo a shirt altogether, and show a little skin with a chic bra or bralette. Zara Velvet Trousers, $99.90, available at Zara; Zara Velvet Jacket With Belt, $169, available at Zara; Victoria's Secret Longline Bralette, $10, available at Victoria's Secret; Gucci Leather Pump, $850, available at Gucci; Otaat / Myers Ring Pouch Medium, $160, available at Lisa Says Gah. More Like what you see? How about some more R29 goodness, right here? Some Unexpected Outfit Ideas For All Those April Showers The Fashion Guide To The Weather Report 30+ Items To Cut From Your Closet