31 July 2007

Wedding vows and short shorts don't mix

I completely trust your sense of dress appropriateness…which brings me to this question: would something similar to this shorts-and-cropped-jacket combo be appropriate to wear to a wedding? I'm a huge fan of the slightly sexy/brattiness of dressy shorts but I'm unsure how appropriate they would be at a fairly traditional 3:00PM church ceremony and 5:00PM country club reception.

I don't need a more in-detail explanation of what you mean by "fairly traditional," I don't need to know whether you're considering ballet flats or stilettos, and honestly, I don't even need to know what your figure looks like, because regardless of your responses, the first word out of my mouth would remain a resounding "NO."

I'm not trying to be harsh or hyperbolic, but wearing shorts - booty, city, university or Bermuda - to even the most casual wedding ceremony runs contrary to every tenet of venue-appropriate dress I've tried to impart in the last seven months.

Though I avoid them at all costs for reasons relating to panic attacks, chills and sudden bouts of claustrophobia, I do know and accept the fact that weddings are occasions when the guests must not, out of respect for the bride, draw egregious attention to themselves. This means no wearing white, no excessive cleavage, no mini dresses, no discussion about how this is likely the last time you'll see your girlfriend in a social situation, no shotgunning beers at the reception to lament that fact and certainly no short shorts.

The outfit to which you linked me (pictured above) is adorable, especially that 3/4-sleeve bolero, but no matter how dressy or church-appropriate the above-the-waist components happen to be, those shorts will vitiate all your good effort in one fell three-inch-inseamed swoop. Yeah, they're blousy, yeah, they're pricey, and yeah, they're not that short, but still, at the end of the long, long "heartwarming" day, they're still too casual.

If you're not into skirts or dresses, but you're also on several late Summer, early Autumn wedding rosters, your only option is a pair of lightweight trousers. Were I you, I'd get that bolero, complement it with some high-waisted black trousers, a feminine, tuck-in-able ivory blouse and a pair of polished slingbacks. The best part of this ensemble, better even than the feeling you'll get slipping through the don't-look-better-than-the-bride loophole, is that all these components - the jacket, the pants, the top and the pumps - are versatile staples that can be worn again and again in not only formal but professional and casual venues as well.

Buy the shorts, too, but wear them with cute flats during the day or with heels later in the night. Just please, keep them away from the chapel.


I like Johanna's haircut said...

When I read the question, all I could say was "Wow." Is this person serious with wanting to wear a sexy/bratty shorts combo to a wedding?!!! Have they never been to a wedding before? This really disturbs me that she would describe her outfit as such. I guess good taste doesn't reside in everyone, the shame.

A 3:00pm wedding, a nice sundress is fine, but make sure that there isn't too much white in it. Try Tracy Reese or DVF if she wants a bit of sex appeal. But Johanna is right on the money, if you try to be too sexy (and definitely too bratty), you will be considered rude and completely out of line.

dc girl said...

I love those Theory trousers you link to. Wish they had my size :-(

Anonymous said...

Oh god, another one of these late-20s "career women" who hates the idea of love and marriage. Pretty and articulate as you are, my dear, your shallowness is even more prominent. I pray one day you realize true love and yes, marriage, is worth more than a pretty dress and pair of couture shoes. The more of your drivel I read, however, the less I'm holding my breath.

Johanna said...


I'd have advised you to stop holding your breath months ago! Dresses and shoes, dresses and shoes...yep, that's all I need.

thanks for the prayers.


Teek said...

Psht. Love, marriage, black patent leather peep-toe platform heels with little suede bows... I see no reason why the three are mutually exclusive. Particularly if the first two happen to come with a high line of credit and an appreciative eye!

ataraxia said...

i often think johanna's entries are shallow (hehe) but not this one. i find this one to be quite the opposite -- key message: dress to show respect and honor to the bride.

i'm not married (yet) but hope that when that day comes all of my friends are there dressed to the nines in outfits that they've had fun shopping for and feel like a star in...but know that they shouldn't outshine me up there on the alter :)

Anonymous said...

Ok, this is gonna sound a bit creepy, but were you just outside on M St. with a cupcake carrier and brown and white dress?

Even though I normally sign on here with my name, this time I won't for fear of backlash for this comment: our editrix is even MORE stunning (and tan!) in person than she is in her pictures. Every man who walked by her was turning his head for a second glance. Including me.

K said...

I have definitely stretched the bridal attire good taste limit, but only when allowed, like a low-key wedding in Las Vegas (strapless, short-ish dress in white and pink) and a wedding AND reception in 90 degree weather outside in a vineyard in Sonoma (slightly more cleavage-baring but mercifully knit and light t-bags calf-length dress).

And let me tell you, shorts would never, EVER cross my mind! You might as well chomp gum and yell "ha-aaaay!" as the bride comes down the aisle.

Johanna said...


thanks, girls.

anonymous 2-

yep, that must've been me, unless there's another woman roaming around this part of town with 18 perfectly frosted cupcakes in an Oneida cupcake carrier!

You're too sweet, thank you.


I should have written in a qualifier that if you, said guest, have perfect breasts, it is not only appropriate but *expected* that you show a touch of cleavage. If for no other reason than to put a smile on the groom's face :-)

I'm still jealous of that Sonoma trip. Me want that, too. But sans wedding.