how to tackle confusing wedding dress codes
Reader James asked:
I’m going to a wedding later this month with my fiancee. It’s an outdoor wedding in Philadelphia (the reception’s in a barn I’ve been told?), so I know I need to dress warmly, but I don’t know what’s appropriate. Here’s the note from the bride herself:
“Some of you have asked us what to wear. Our dress code is rustic chic, and therefore, you should wear whatever makes you happy.”
What does “rustic chic” entail?!
“Rustic Chic” is a new one, even to me, but I love it. It sounds like one of those slow fast-food restaurant in a mall that serves $15 beet and goat cheese paninis and hibiscus lemonade.
Honestly, I think the bride was trying to be nice with her explanation, but I can also see why it didn’t help you at all in deciding what to wear. The key with any wedding wear is to look appropriate for the occasion but still comfortable. In this case, that means warm. Because the only thing worse than sitting through a predictably terrible best man speech is shivering through it.
But while visions of flannel-lined jeans may be dancing in your head, it’s still a wedding – even if it is taking place where cows are usually milked and chickens are…egged? (I’m from a city, I don’t know the terminology). So even if nothing would make you happier than showing up in a Jets hoodie, I doubt it’ll make the bride happy – despite her generous insistence to the contrary.
You should, however, be able to forego a suit in favor of separates. Try a navy blazer over gray slacks, with a white dress shirt, dark tie, and a v-neck sweater over top for warmth. Or maybe a textured sports coat (tweed or herringbone would look dressed up and feel a little more substantial), with a dark plaid shirt, knit tie and wool trousers?
You’ll look appropriately rustic but also be warm enough to tide you over til the hoedowning begins.