Summer dating season is upon us, which means flights to book, registries to empty and pretty cocktail dresses to purchase. Whether you’re going oceanside for a coastal affair, galavanting in the South of France, witnessing vows in a more tropical climate or dancing all night in Manhattan, we have an ensemble worthy of the best-dressed guest nod that guarantees you’ll stand out (without showing up the bride). Here, ideas, inspiration and easy-to-shop looks for every attendee’s style.
On the Boardwalk
Nautical nuptials require short lengths, retro cuts, pared-down accessories and a color palette that doesn’t compete with the event’s likely neutral tones.
Invited to a celebration in the rainforests of Costa Rica or on the beaches of Hawaii? Be inspired by the theme with standout prints and subtly themed add-ons. Be bold when styling looks like these–but beware of the fine line between super-chic and costume.
Satin slip dresses fill the void for those attending a Black Tie or cosmopolitan affair–but also want to show off bronzed legs. Givenchy ruffled silk slip dress.
Parties on the water require playful ensembles with a bit of structure to withstand the wind and no matter what the venue, art-obsessed couples are owed an outfit with an element of whimsy to satisfy their off-the-beaten aesthetic. Rosie Assoulin flower-stamp cutout silk gown.
Patchwork prints and print-mixing exude an effortlessness that feels on point for a destination wedding. Etro floral print silk chiffon gown
Up all Night
Mini lengths are fun for a summer night affair, and platform sandals ensure you’ll have no trouble staying on the dance floor well into the night. Monse cocktail dress.
Daytime dresses get an instant update when gilded in patinaed metals and styled with minimalist extras. Altuzarra “Pamplona” embellished cotton dress.
Cabinet of Curiosities
Quirky details and cheeky motifs add light-hearted touches that feel festive for weddings in the garden or at a gallery. Alexander McQueen obsession-print ruffle-trimmed crepe dress.
Bold colors, natural elements (like raw quartz and exotics) and subtle hints to tropical prints make formalwear less fussy for the warm weather months, Elie Saab dégradé georgette gown.
Easy, breezy shapes–like a relaxed-fit suit–get a black tie update in an all over shimmer.
Rich fabrications like velvet, beading and brocade add a luxe-factor to even the most summery of shapes. Night Garden Medici-jacquard silk dress.