I have to start going to weddings next month, and I just bought a really cute white dress that I really want to wear to them. Should I go for it or is that still a rude thing to do?
The question that plagues (first-world) women every spring. Will my white cocktail dress offend a bride? However, this season it feels more important than past wedding seasons because wearing all-white is a trend, therefore a lot of the dresses that you'll want to buy will be white. And many of the formal occasions people buy cocktail dresses for in the spring are wedding-related so this is annoying!
Now, I am a big believer in sane weddings planned by people for whom the marriage is more important than the wedding. Brides whose weddings don't turn them into monsters that populate a whole sub-genre of reality television, that then reflect badly on other sane wedding-planning women. Brides who choose not to exploit their friends by vastly overestimating the amount of time, energy, and money those friends want to spend on bridal showers, bachelorette parties, and then the weddings themselves. Brides who wouldn’t throw a shit fit or launch a hate campaign against a girl who wore a white cocktail dress to her nuptials.
So I wish this wasn't a question we had to ask ourselves every year. But to answer it: I would try to find out how the bride feels about it. If it's your friend, you can just ask her. (I prefer to ask people directly how they feel about certain things rather than trying to figure it out by mind-reading, which is just a waste of time.) If that's not something you're able to do since you don't know the bride or something like that, you then have to figure out how big your balls are. If we're talking tennis balls, I'd say wear the white cocktail dress and own it. If we're talking golf balls, I'd say wear some white. Like, something that's white-ish and patterned, like this (which I want but won't have since it's $440):
The one thing I would say you probably should never wear to a wedding is a white gown that is wedding dress-like. Even brides that are pretty cool about guests wearing white cocktail dresses generally seem to prefer guests not go there. And why would you want to be the weirdo wearing a wedding dress-esque thing to someone else's wedding? Even if you don't think it's rude, it's just creepy.
That said, I would not mind if guests wore white cocktail dresses to my wedding. Something more gown-like would probably give me self-righteous pause, but with more and more brides wearing non-white dresses to their weddings, guests wearing white shouldn’t feel like an outright prohibited thing. After all, wouldn’t you prefer a woman wear a conservative white cocktail dress as opposed to something that was too loud or uglier than the things Deena wears on "Jersey Shore"? I sure would! Besides, there are lots of things in addition to those examples that are worse than a basic white shift dress. Here are five examples:
1. This Mary Katranzou floral gown with a train.
I’d be downright pissed if someone wore this to my wedding. Everyone in fashion is pissing their pants over Mary Katranzou right now, and rightly so since she works a floral print better than Beyoncé works a Tumblr (OH YES I DID). This is super-fashionable, extremely flashy, and, at $5,490, costs more than many wedding dresses. Not to mention, is much better looking than most wedding dresses, which err on the side of bad crusty pageant attire.
2. This, or 99.99998 percent of things by Herve Leger.
A wedding is not a nightclub, the pre-party for the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show, or a grad school formal. So the tight Herve nonsense (and knockoffs of said nonsense) should stay at home.
3. This “Gangster Capelet Dress.”
As tempting as it might be to look like a pin-striped sting ray on the dance floor, and all.
4. This tie-dyed dress by Monique Lhuillier that Buffy wore to the Golden Globes.
Like, just cut a slit up the side and stick your right leg out all night, why don’t you!
5. Anything by the Blonds.
A little white cocktail dress really cannot look that bad next to this.