Wedding Guest Ensembles That Go Beyond the Cocktail Dress

·4 min read

Though dresses are the most popular garment choice for formal occasions, cocktail parties, and weddings, they certainly aren’t the only option. A dress might not suit your mood or style and so why invest in an occasion-specific knowing you’ll most likely only end up wearing it once? For a less traditional but equally tasteful wedding guest outfit, you could consider dressed-up tailoring, party-ready jumpsuits, or elegant and formal separates like a bustier top with tuxedo pants instead. You’ll look the part (without looking like everyone else), and you’ll be able to incorporate and re-wear these pieces beyond the wedding day—an added bonus when it comes to purchasing an event-ready ensemble.

With the right accessories, shoes, and a little hair and makeup, a sheeny suit or silk blouse and wide-leg trousers will fit right in amongst a sea of guests in dresses. Take it from this editor, who most recently wore a shiny orange short suit to a garden party ceremony in Houston, and has worn pants to three out of four attended Met Galas.

While unexpected, a formal look that isn’t a dress can still appropriately adhere to the invitation’s dress code. Here, three wedding guest ensembles to help you get dressed up—no dress required.

The Occasion Suit

If you decide to ditch the dress for a pair of pants, whether it’s a full suit or separates, be sure to stick to typical formalwear materials and colors. Silks, satins, or florals are all nice places to start, especially for spring and summer weddings. Exaggerated details like a belted waist or dramatic draping hemlines bring the look to the next level, giving a feminine touch to a wedding guest outfit that is grounded in a pair of trousers.

Jacquemus La veste d’homme oversized blazer

$1220.00, FARFETCH

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Jacquemus Sauge tailored trousers

$870.00, FARFETCH

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Mango satin belt blazer

$120.00, MANGO

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Mango satin palazzo pants

$80.00, MANGO

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The Vampire's Wife floral-print tie-waist blouse

$936.00, FARFETCH

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The Vampire's Wife rose-print wide-leg trousers

$922.00, FARFETCH

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Marina Moscone patchwork bustier

$870.00, AMAZON

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Marina Moscone slim flare trouser

$390.00, AMAZON

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Oscar de la Renta floral strapless cascade corset top

$2990.00, SAKS FIFTH AVENUE

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Oscar de la Renta floral high-waisted wide-leg pants

$1390.00, SAKS FIFTH AVENUE

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The Formal All-in-One

An evening jumpsuit isn’t just for Studio 54-inspired fetes; the swishy-panted one-piece is but another option for dress-fatigued wedding guests. These all-in-one pieces have the details of some of your favorite midi-dresses—say, a romantic puff sleeve, a back revealing halter neck, or drapey, off-the-shoulder sleeves—while elegantly reaching great floor lengths. They’re a solid option for when the invite says, black-tie optional.

Rebecca Taylor silk charmeuse jumpsuit

$495.00, REBECCA TAYLOR

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Halston Elie wide-leg jumpsuit

$695.00, SAKS FIFTH AVENUE

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M Missoni Lurex-knit halterneck jumpsuit

$885.00, FARFETCH

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Staud Selene recycle shell halter jumpsuit

$295.00, MODA OPERANDI

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DVF Diane von Furstenberg Bernice floral print jumpsuit

$1220.00, FARFETCH

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Cara Cara Blue Hill jumpsuit

$595.00, CARA CARA

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The Skirted Separates

This silhouette might be mistaken for a dress, however, these skirted looks are, in fact, two pieces. Finding separates might make for one less trip to the alterations specialist, and you’ll certainly be able to wear the top or bottoms again after the wedding. Tove and ALC’s shirred tank tops will look just as sweet with a pair of jeans as they would dressed up with their matching skirts, while Vince’s silk slip skirt can take you from the ceremony to casual days if you swap out the complementing top for a T-shirt.

Totême crinkled silk camisole

$320.00, MYTHERESA

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Totême crinkled silk midi-skirt

$510.00, MYTHERESA

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Vince appliquéd satin tank top

$312.00, MYTHERESA

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Vince appliquéd satin midi-skirt

$406.00, MYTHERESA

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Paris Georgia Alice asymmetric top

$445.00, BROWNS FASHION

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Paris Georgia Tulip high-waist pleated skirt

$448.00, BROWNS FASHION

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A.L.C. Lennyn cotton poplin top

$195.00, A.L.C.

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A.L.C. Lyra smocked poplin skirt

$395.00, A.L.C.

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Smythe asymmetrical one-shoulder top

$295.00, NORDSTROM

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Smythe asymmetrical gathered skirt

$325.00, NORDSTROM

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Originally Appeared on Vogue