A etiquette expert helps answer this wedding fashion question.
Jeans have been a staple in the fashion industry for decades, and they're commonly viewed as a versatile garment that can be styled to suit almost any occasion. But while slipping on a pair of jeans might be a stylish choice for most events, many would argue that wearing denim to a wedding is absolutely off-limits.
Still, between festive, themed, and casual dress codes, the lines are consistently getting blurred as to what can be worn to a wedding. And for guests with a closet full of denim and a desire to express their personal style, is it actually inappropriate for them to wear jeans on their loved one's big day? The short answer: Yes—but there are very (and we mean very) few instances where this attire might be appropriate.
To further dive into this subject, we reached out to an etiquette expert to help explain if, and when, it’s okay to wear jeans to a wedding. Plus, we rounded up a few suitable outfit ideas for wedding guests to consider.
Meet our Expert
Can You Wear Jeans to a Wedding?
According to Lisa Lyons, an event planner and etiquette advisor, jeans are inappropriate to wear as they're generally deemed as casual and informal. "Weddings are typically formal or semi-formal events, and wearing jeans may be seen as disrespectful and not in line with the dress code," she explains.
In most cases, you can find dress code information on your invitation—and when planning your outfit, it's important to refer to these fashion guidelines to help steer your choices. However, if no dress code details have been provided, Lyons says you can use your invite for context clues to help inform your decision. “First, consider the venue,” she shares. “If it is being held at the Ritz Carlton, you will want to lean more formal. If it is being held in a barn or backyard, it is possible the attire is less formal. Similarly, you can look to the invitations for clues—a formal invitation suite would suggest a formal wedding.”
Still struggling to find a look? Ask a friend or family for help and leave your denim alone. “Adhering to the dress code shows respect for the couple and the significance of the occasion,” explains Lyons. “Ignoring a dress code to wear what you prefer is inconsiderate to the couple and their wishes for their wedding day.”
When to Wear Jeans to a Wedding
Though there are not many situations where wearing denim to a wedding would be appropriate, Lyons does note that “The only instance in which jeans are acceptable at a wedding is if the invitation specifically says ‘jeans,’ such as in a themed wedding.” For example, a Western or rustic-themed wedding may be an opportunity for guests to wear jeans, since these types of events are usually held outdoors and have a more casual dress code. Even the groom will sometimes turn up in jeans, a suit jacket, and a cowboy hat, which gives guests the freedom to follow suit.
Ultimately, though, it’s better to play it safe when it comes to jeans than to risk disrespecting the couple’s preferences for their big day. “Weddings always carry both an emotional and financial investment—they are among the most important days of a couple’s life together,” explains Lyons. “By inviting you as their guest, they are choosing to share this day with you. Respecting the dress code honors the significance of the day and your relationship to the happy couple.”
Appropriate Wedding Outfit Ideas
As mentioned, most weddings will require more formal attire than jeans. So, if you’re currently searching for an appropriate look to wear, we put together a few outfit ideas, as highlighted below.
“For a black-tie wedding, you will want to adhere to traditional guidelines,” explains Lyons. This means, for women, floor-length gowns, formal cocktail dresses, or chic pantsuits. As for men, it’s typically best to stick to tuxedos or, at the very least, a formal dinner suit.
Formal or Cocktail Attire
Since formal or cocktail attire dress codes give guests “more room for interpretation,” Lyons suggests “slacks, flowing trousers, a tailored suit, or a skirt and blouse.” For women who choose to wear a skirt, opt for a tea-length, knee-length, or midi hemline to keep your look elegant but not too over the top. On the other hand, men are still required to pair their suits with a dress shirt and a tie.
“For a more informal occasion, such as a backyard wedding, lean into linen trousers, khakis, sun dresses, or collared shirts for men,” says Lyons. Women can also style their dress with wedges or strappy sandals, and a few statement jewelry pieces for a relaxed yet sophisticated result. What's more, while men can choose to forgo a tie and suit jacket, they should take the season and location into consideration.
Up Next: Can You Wear a Hat to a Wedding?
Read the original article on Brides.