21 March 2011

Style Dilemma: How to do respectful and still rock it

Kate of Perpetually Nesting tweeted me last week, asking for help with what to wear to a conservative wedding in May - she can't show arms, shoulders, or legs. Hmmmph. It's an afternoon wedding, and we're not sure about the reception venue.

Eeek! This. Is. A. Challenge.

My first thoughts take me to a long, formal gown. But no. It's an afternoon wedding. Unless they're bucking convention (and isn't everyone these days?) and going black tie in the middle of the afternoon, formal in the afternoon just won't work.

Second thoughts take me to, unfortunately, an old lady pants suit. No.

Next, I'm leaping to a women's tuxedo, a la Michelle Pfeiffer or any of the Major Leading Ladies who've gone there in the past 15 years. But truth be told, as amazing as that could be, it would be leap for a Normal Person to go there at a Normal Person Event. Never mind that this is potentially a traditional crowd (Armenian Orthodox church), in which case a woman in pants is just not what you do. You'd have to have massive amounts of cojones to pull it off. PerpetuallyKate's got 'em, but I don't think that's what she had in mind.

So I'm back to some sort of long dress. Think. Think. Think. Bear with me. Let's call this post Part I. I'm convinced I can find more choices.

South Moon Under has this interesting jersey "maxi dress." I like to call it a gown. While form fitting, the black jersey could be incredibly forgiving. It is black, which is not everyone's first choice for a wedding, and it does have a scooped back. Given my own Orthodox wedding experience, it's nothing a little shawl won't handle, but still.

SMU has a number of other maxi dress choices, but they can be frumpy or too casual, as well as too open. Again, we can solve the "open" problem with a sweater, shawl, or jacket.

Now. The next look is a little tougher to pull off. It would require some very edited jewelry choices (I'd go for brass or gold, structured, geometric pieces, rather than the softer long chains. Keep it out of beachwear and in the HipCoolMamaWear. H&M (will you H&M marketing people please please please put the US merchandise online thankyouverymuch) has this breezy 70s-inspired frock.

Should we end up with a sleeveless dress of some kind, we need to cover up. If the shawl route just isn't covered enough, there's the jacket route. This won't work with all choices (really only with a solid-colored, fitted (read: not flowy) dress), but I'm in love with this bolero. Normally, "bolero" means "something my mom used to wear and I'd try to convince her otherwise," but this thing? I ran a across it on my Friday jaunt to the Atlantic City outlets (more on that later) and fell in love. Must. Find. Way. To. Wear. Or foist it on someone else, like Kate, for me to live vicariously through her fashion.

Stay tuned...I'm on the hunt...


Kate said...

I am so very very very impressed by ALL YOUR OPTIONS SO FAR. I knew I asked the right lady. I knew it. LOVE the second dress. Oh DC Celine, you are my hero!

Allie (Wardrobe Oxygen) said...

That IS a toughie, but I think you really handled the dilemma with style! Pants would probably be a faux pas if a woman has to cover her legs (I once wore palazzo pants in the '90s to a baby naming at a conservative synagogue and my uncle practically killed me). These dresses are perfect - and I want that one from H&M!