Spring wedding season may be behind us, but beware: fall weddings still lurk on the horizon. Styling yourself as a member of the wedding party is relatively easy: just follow what the happy couple suggest you do. But styling yourself as a guest gets pretty tricky. Should I wear my hair up or down? It’s 90 degrees, how can I stay cool but still dress appropriately? The people behind Rumble on the Runway and the Minnesota Fashion Awards offer their style tips for how to stay cool, calm, and stylish at the next wedding you’re invited to.
Style Starts at the Top: Hair
Aside from finding the outfit, choosing a hairstyle is probably the next greatest stress factor for wedding guests. When deciding between an up-do or wearing your hair down, Tressie Schneider, the rumble segment coordinator for Rumble on the Runway and Minnesota Fashion Awards, suggests asking yourself five questions:
- Is this a formal evening wedding? (Then go up.)
- Is it an afternoon, more relaxed wedding? (Think about wearing it down.)
- Is your total look formal or casual? (Style appropriately.)
- Is everyone in the wedding wearing their hair down, casual? (Maybe don’t try so hard; rock it casual.)
- How do you want to wear your hair? (Perhaps the most important question, and then do a casual/formal version of that.)
Not clear enough? Faatemah Ampy is an award-winning hair stylist and panelist for the Minnesota Fashion Awards, so heed her advice. “Guests should come dressed for the time of day the wedding is held,” Ampy says. “Common hair mistake: hair that is overdone. Your hairstyle should embody your personal style and not be driven by trend. Remember: trends are guidelines, not a road map to excellence. Always do you!”
A similar sentiment is shared by Fatima Olive, fellow Minnesota Fashion Awards panelist and makeup artist. “I recommend sticking with more classic styles; nothing too fussy or trendy,” she says. “A top knot, classic ponytail, and braids are all very fashionable and won’t date you when you look at pictures 10 years down the road.”
After taking a side in the great debate of up versus down, think about the texture of your hair. For warm weather, Olive recommends you stick with your hair’s natural texture. In other words, if you have curly or wavy hair, incorporate that into the hairstyle you are choosing. “That way you don’t need to fight with humidity and have hair revert to its natural texture halfway through the ceremony,” she says. “And don’t forget a bit of Big Sexy Hair Weatherproof spray to control the frizz.”
Say No to Sweaty Makeup
The experts agree: go for the “less is more” approach. Olive recommends a basic look: a tinted moisturizer or BB cream, a sheer stain for the cheeks and lips like Benetint from Benefit, and a waterproof mascara so you don’t have to worry about it running during the ceremony (she loves Diorshow waterproof mascara).
Make sure you’re not falling into the trap of layering on more makeup or hair products to “last though the long day” and heat. Use the proper prep products and finishing products and you will extend the longevity of your hair and makeup looks without looking like your face and hair are frozen in time. Instead of falling into that trap, Schneider suggests a few steps to look great no matter the weather:
- Prep your skin with a shine/oil control primer.
- Go light on the moisturizers.
- Prep your eyelids as well. Heat and sweat mean eyeshadow creasing and nobody has time for that.
- Set with a matte finishing powder and, if you get really oily, spray a setting spray in your T-zone.
- Pack tissues to dab (not wipe) sweat off your forehead and oil blotting sheets for your upper lip and T-zone.
- Rock a hat. Not only will it protect your face and scalp from getting burnt and shiny from direct sun hitting you, but it takes your total look to another level.
- If skipping the hat option, make sure to use a humidity-resistant finishing hair spray.
With that basic routine in your repertoire, the question then becomes how much makeup is appropriate to wear? Gauge the setting of the wedding and how formal or casual it is while staying true to your own style. “If you normally go all out with your makeup, there is no reason to hold back out of respect,” Schneider says. “Do it up like you normally would. If you are a fresh face natural kinda gal, maybe just up the game a little by adding a tad more cheek color and some lip color. It’s a great way to ‘dress up’ your everyday face without adding too much time or products to your routine.”Olive’s best advice is to pay attention to skincare. “Makeup is icing on the cake,” she says. “Take care of your skin and you actually need less makeup to look great.”
Trendy vs. Classic
“I do really think you can go either way,” Schneider says. “But as a general rule I say think of the style of the people who are getting married. If they are super trendy and that’s the setting of the wedding, go for the latest trends! If it’s more of a classic feel and the couple is more reserved, maybe go with the timeless LBD. You can always add a trendy shoe or scarf to jazz it up if you are bored with it.”
Of course, remember that weddings are highly photographed events. How would you like to be remembered 10 years from now? Is the trendy look going to date you? Olive says, “I think going too trendy can be a bit of a mistake or wearing anything too flashy that could upstage the couple getting married.”
Sarah Edwards, stylist and Minnesota Fashion Awards panelist, says it boils down to personal style. “It’s important to focus on your own, personal style and find one that can work for a variety of events & parties,” she says.
Edwards suggests focusing on the theme of the wedding and use great tailoring to create your look, a thought that Schneider echoes. “Do your research for the wedding or event you are going to and know the dress code,” Schneider says. “Show respect for it and the hosts. But at the end of the day, be yourself and feel fabulous. You will have such a better time if you look and feel good and like yourself. Stay true to your own personal style while staying within the dress code and feel of the event. Your smile and confidence will always be your best accessory and my best style tip.”
Staying cool doesn’t mean more skin
The key here is light, breathable fabrics — think quality linens. Schneider suggests open-toe shoes and her special trick: bring a little vintage fan in your clutch. She says, “You will keep your face cool and look so glam fanning yourself.”
While women can go sleeveless (or even strapless) for their attire, it’s definitely harder for men to look dressed up and still stay cool. But a lot of Schneider’s tips are the same: try breathable lightweight fabrics. If it’s a more casual outdoor wedding, try breezy linen pants and a white button-up. “Dress cropped pants and chino shorts styled with dress shirts and ties or bow ties is a huge trend right now and can be a tad cooler,” she says. “Just make sure you dress up those shorts if you go that route! Tread carefully there. Otherwise as a general rule for men, tanks and shorts are never acceptable for a wedding.”
Edwards sympathizes with guys who want to stay cool during warm weather. She says, “Atmosfere in Minneapolis is the best place to find great things to wear for weddings. And it is always fashionable to #supportlocal.”
The natural tendency in warm weather is to wear less clothing, but be careful not to show too much skin. Wear light fabrics that still cover instead of leaving little to nothing to the imagination. “I say for a general rule of dressing: show off one area, legs or arms/chest,” Schneider says. “Not both and never midriffs for a wedding. A great style to keep cool and still look wedding-guest-appropriate is a strapless (not too low) chiffon A-line dress that comes to your knees. Or a simple loose slip dress made from a light fabric. Both can be styled more formal with heels and accessories or casual with flats.”
Edwards is quick to agree with this sentiment. “If it evens out you’re OK,” Edwards says. “Meaning if you have a lot of leg showing, then cover up on the top. Or if you are wearing a maxi then it is okay to show more skin up top.”On the opposite side of the spectrum, staying warm as we move into fall and winter wedding season is much easier. This isn’t as hard as there is usually ample heat and weddings are often indoors. But if you go to a fall outdoor wedding and it’s a tad breezy, Schneider suggests dressing in layers as the temps can drastically change.
“Add a fab jacket to your look or try a fur stole to add warmth and a touch of a vintage-lux feel to your look,” she says. “Wear closed-toe shoes and bring dress gloves that match your look. Rock your hair down and add a hat to keep your neck and ears warm for a chilly outdoor fall wedding.”
Common Mistakes To Avoid
Going severely underdressed or overdressed is the first thing that comes to Schneider’s mind. “This seems like it would go unsaid, but I have seen it happen,” she says. “If you show up in your everyday look, pants or jeans and not doing your hair or makeup at all, it just screams, ‘I don’t want to be here, I don’t care, I have no respect for you, I’m just here for the food and where is the open bar.’ Don’t be that person. Just don’t.”
On the other side of the scale, it also can be disrespectful to show up and outdo the bride and groom. Don’t show up as a guest with your hair and makeup obviously done professionally (you’re not fooling anyone) and dressed to the nines, overshadowing the wedding party. Schneider advises you know what you are going to and gauge your look appropriately. She says, “It’s not your day, take a step back.”
Another common faux pas to avoid is matching the wedding. It’s as simple as finding out the wedding colors and not wearing that color dress. “Let’s avoid being approached all night and asked what your role in the wedding was,” Schneider says.But when it comes to style advice, Edwards may have the last word: “Always be yourself. Unless you can be Beyoncé. Then always be Beyoncé.”
Rumble on the Runway and Minnesota Fashion Awards will be held August 21, 2015 at The Depot in downtown Minneapolis. For more information, head to www.rumblemn.com.