winter occasion dressing is supposed to be easy, right? during the holiday party season, the clear message seems to be that all that's needed for festive fun is a sparkly little frock, vertiginous heels, and a tube of red lipstick - and what's so hard about that?
nothing, really - but after the fairy lights have been boxed up and the party hats turned to firewood, things become a bit trickier. enter the season of the winter wedding, in which the rules are a bit more difficult to navigate.
for one thing, weddings tend to be more conservative occasions than holiday parties - after all, there are normally more over 50's present than potential dates - and the former won't appreciate a wonderbra and set of sparkly tights as much as the latter. plus, there's the whole 'upstaging the bride' thing. the end result, as i witnessed at my first winter wedding of the year last weekend, is normally a sea of little black dresses and pearls - but aren't weddings supposed to be celebritory occasions - and, in effect, a chance for guests to have fun with what they wear?
contrary to what most people seem to think, i have set out to prove there IS a middle ground between the sequins and lace of holiday dressing and the funereal black shift that tends to dominate winter weddings, and have found a few looks that are fun without being frivolous, and attention-grabbing without being attention-seeking:
option 1: country club classic
this '60's inspired tunic dress is conservative enough for a country club wedding, yet the flared sleeves and magenta silk fabric ensure it stays interesting. i like it with jaunty heels in a contrasting shade, but the less daring could pair it with a pair of opaque tights and black patent courts.
*outfit by topshop and available at topshop.com*
option 2: city hall chic
option 2: city hall chic
the head-turning graphic on the front of this dress by balenciaga is the perfect marriage of art and fashion - perfect for an urban wedding. i would pair it with simple flats and handbag and no jewellery, letting the dress speak for itself
*dress by balenciaga, shoes by coccinelle, clutch by karma, all available at yoox.com*
option 3: ravishing at the ritz
a black-tie invitation doesn't necessarily mean you need to wear black - rather, it's a perfect opportunity to sparkle in a subdued version of this season's metallics
*dress by julie haus, shoes by cynthia vincent, bracelets by bing bang, all available at shopbop.com*