The Stylish Guest: Outfits For Summer Weddings And Special Events

champagne glasses ready to toast - Susan B. shares what to wear to a summer wedding or special event

Stymied By Summer Special Event Dressing?

Special event dressing is always a bit difficult for me to wrap my head around, especially during warmer months. So when Halsbrook asked if I’d like to feature some of their new items in a post, I decided to challenge myself to style a couple of outfits that would be appropriate for weddings, anniversaries or retirement parties. This post was created in partnership with Halsbrook. All ideas and opinions are my own. 

The Color MavenStyle blogger Susan B. of une femme d'un certain age imagines a wedding guest outfit for a Color Maven.

She likes it fun and bright. Happy colors, sophisticated prints. But not too over-the-top. Above, I started with a pretty cotton sheath dress, added some sandals and jewelry that pick up various colors in the dress, and a gold straw clutch.

Shown above: Elie Tahari dress | Bounkit earrings | Evocateur cuff | Kayu clutch

The Neutralista

Style blogger Susan B. creates a special event outfit in neutrals. Details at une femme d'un certain ageYou’ll find me playing for Team Neutral. The Neutralista likes to keep it subtle and chic. She goes for simple pieces that can be worn multiple ways and uses accessories to create different looks. Here instead of a dress I’ve started with a drapey pantsuit, and added sandals, jewelry and bags in soft tones and subtle prints.

Shown above:  LK Bennett jumpsuitJulie Vos earrings | Lorenza Gandaglia bag | Julie Vos bracelet

For either outfit, if the evening gets chilly or she just wants a bit of upper arm coverage, one of these embroidered shawls from Janavi would be just the thing.

About Halsbrook…

As you can see from the variety of pieces I’ve used above, Halsbrook carries a nice range of brands, very well-curated. And that’s what they’re really all about: a carefully selected assortment of on-trend but not trendy pieces that have been vetted for quality and fit. Halsbrook is like having a favorite small boutique online, and they pride themselves on excellent, personal service.

Are you a Color Maven, a Neutralista or a little of both? Do you have any special events coming up soon?

Stay in touch.

Affiliate links in posts may generate commissions for See my complete disclosure policy here.


  1. July 6, 2017 / 3:53 am

    I just visited the Halsbrook site, and you’re right … it is a nicely curated collection. Had never heard of it until now.

  2. Susan
    July 6, 2017 / 5:10 am

    I think the neutral collection looks appropriate for an evening event, but for a summer wedding/event during the day, a dress with colour (not black) looks less gloomy. However, if wearing a dress with that much colour/pattern, I would substitute the bangle and earrings for something less busy. I have a wedding to attend in September (Spring) and am undecided what to wear yet.

  3. Ellen
    July 6, 2017 / 5:10 am

    I have one back, all-special occasion dress, which was made bt Eileen Fisher. I wear it for all special occasions from weddings, to the opera, to a criuise. I accessrize brightly or elegantly as the occasion demands. Problem solved…forever I hope.

  4. July 6, 2017 / 5:42 am

    Either way is fun…black is always good, but for summer I like color. Had a similar dress for my great-niece’s wedding last summer. Wish I had those pink shoes for it….but on second thought – it was a garden wedding, under a tent…and it POURED RAIN! They would have been ruined. Thanks for your inspiring posts!

  5. July 6, 2017 / 6:50 am

    That first dress is stunning. The pattern is abstract enough that while somebody might remember you wearing a floral dress, they might not be sure if it’s the same dress if they run into you wearing it on another occasion.
    The black dress is timeless.

  6. July 6, 2017 / 7:14 am

    Traditionally, black and white are considered inappropriate to wear to a wedding–white because that color is reserved for the bride, and black because it’s associated with funerals and shouldn’t be worn to a joyous occasion. I’d certainly wear the black outfit for other occasions, though–very elegant.

    • Susan B
      July 6, 2017 / 7:29 am

      Rhonda, I think some of those strictures have been relaxed in recent years. Especially for evening events, I’ve seen (and worn) black to weddings, especially if it’s lightened up with some metallic or colored accessories.

      • July 6, 2017 / 7:49 am

        I have to second your response to Rhonda. One of my daughters, over a decade ago, had her bridesmaids wear black dresses trimmed with pink, and my own Mother-of-the-Bride dress was a black, knee-length, summer sheath — yes, obviously, this wedding skewed formal (the bride’s dress was long, but simple, and pale pink rather than white, and we had the reception at our former seaside home, but since then we’ve noted consistently that the restriction against black at weddings is pretty much dissolved in our circles at least)

  7. July 6, 2017 / 10:12 am

    I am not familiar with Halsbrook…now I must check them out!!

  8. Wendelah
    July 6, 2017 / 10:41 am

    I always wear color, especially in summer. I have light brown hair and a pale complexion. I have one black dress and I’ve never worn it, not even to the opera. Black looks okay on me, but I find it to be a depressing color, not a sophisticated one. I wear colors that cheer me up. Red, blue, yellow, green.

    The last wedding I attended was a summer wedding, held at Descanso Gardens in their beautiful Rose Garden. It was hot as Hades so I wore a long, sleeveless dress by Rachel Pally, in a subdued print. The hardest part was finding a dressy sandal that I could stand to have on my feet for the duration of the reception. Solution: Sparkly Fitflops!

    Halsbrook has lovely things but carried nothing in plus sizes.

  9. Angela
    July 6, 2017 / 1:42 pm

    For a Fiji Island wedding in November (very hot!!) I have chosen a cerulean blue lace dress with short sleeves. Bought the sparkly jandals (aka flip flops) but felt they didn’t work with a just below knee length dress, so subsequently purchased navy heeled espadrilles. I have a silver clutch and jewellery though am toying with a touch of pink, maybe for a necklace? Oh and it is all outside so no escaping to the comfort of airconditioing! Wish me luck as I don’t do tropical well!

  10. Pamela
    July 6, 2017 / 5:01 pm

    Probably a hat with a shady brim would be useful for an outdoor Fiji wedding. Hopefully it will be fine weather but likely hot and humid Lace sounds lovely. Best wishes, Pamela

    • Angela
      July 7, 2017 / 12:36 pm

      Thank you Pamela

  11. Jannie
    July 9, 2017 / 3:47 pm

    Nice site! Also just saw your link to Eileen Fisher with lower prices. Have a question for you…I am just 5’3″ and know you are also short. Does it bug you when on line they show a 5’10” model wearing a size 2 or 4??? Just blows my mind and often discourages me from buying something. Just offering some food for thought for all…no matter how you are challenged in fashion! Thanks so much!! Merci beaucoup!

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