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Respectfully yours: wedding attire

Dear Jacquelyn, I am going to a wedding and I would like to wear a black cocktail dress. My friends are telling me I should avoid wearing black to a wedding. The wedding is semi-formal and I feel a black dress is an appropriate choice. What’s your opinion about wearing black as a wedding guest?

Dear Reader,

Decoding the rules of wedding attire confuses most people.

The time of the event will dictate what you should wear. If it’s an afternoon or early evening event, reach for light colors and fabrics. If the event is later in the evening, wear darker colors and more muted patterns.

In the past, if a guest wore black to nuptials, it was considered a protest to the marriage about to take place. While wearing black to a wedding was long considered a bad move, it’s no longer looked upon with disdain.

Obviously, times have changed. Today, it is absolutely acceptable to wear a tasteful, classic black dress.

Keep in mind some simple guidelines when choosing your black dress. As with colors, appropriateness has more to do with the cut, fit, and material of the dress, rather than the color.

Avoid short low-cut dresses meant for the club. Leave them in the fitting room. Dresses and skirts should be a fingertip-length at the shortest.

If your black dress makes you feel good and flatters you, then by all means wear it. Be sure to accessorize with jewelry and fabulous shoes. This isn’t the first time you’ve heard this, but, it bears repeating: Never upstage or upset the bride by wearing whites, creams, or ivories.

Respectfully Yours, Jacquelyn

Have a question? Email: jacquelyn@ptd.net. Jacquelyn Youst is owner of the Pennsylvania Academy of Protocol, specializing in etiquette training. She is on the board of directors of the National Civility Foundation. All Rights Reserved &Copy; 2018 Jacquelyn Youst