Choosing an outfit for a bridal shower is really no different than choosing what to wear to any other party. You’ll want to match the formality and season, be comfortable, look great, and photograph well in whatever you choose to wear.
Don’t wear white. This wedding guest rule of etiquette applies to bridal showers as well. Since the bride-to-be often wears white to her shower, you don’t want to seem like you’re competing for her spotlight.
Don’t wear black. Your bridal shower look should be celebratory, festive, and happy—black is a bit too somber and/or “date night out” to wear to a bridal shower. If you’re set on dark colors, opt for a softer gray or navy.
Don’t wear anything too tight, sexy, or revealing. A bridal shower is not the time to flaunt your, um, assets. Since the guest list is usually all women, and since this event is technically part of the wedding festivities, keep things buttoned up.
But since bridal showers can come in all shapes and sizes—no two are the same—deciphering the dress code can be tricky. To help you choose a perfectly appropriate and flattering ensemble, we’ve outlined suggestions below for what to wear to a variety of different types of bridal showers based on their location, season, and formality.
Look for clues on your invitation to tell if a bridal shower will be on the fancier side. Invitation wording is generally a good indicator of formality: if numbers and abbreviations are spelled out, or if phrases like “request the pleasure of your company” are used, this is probably going to be a more formal bridal shower. Also look to see if the invitation provides words about the dress code, such as “festive” or “cocktail attire.”
For fancier bridal showers at upscale venues like country clubs, hotels, or restaurants, opt for cocktail attire, such as:
If the bridal shower is more casual, keep your outfit polished and festive but tone down on the level of formality. For example, swap out heels for ballet flats, if you’ll be more comfortable, or go for daytime fabrics like cotton, wool, and denim. Here are some ideas:
Backyard bridal showers are by nature less formal, although it’s never safe to assume that a bridal shower at a private home is casual. It’s a good idea to check in with the host(s)—if you’re attending an elegant garden party for high tea, showing up in jeans and Pumas would be embarrassing. Here are a few ideas for put-together looks suitable for a variety of seasons:
What you should wear to a bridal shower that’s held in a restaurant is really determined by the type and formality of the restaurant. If it’s a casual barbecue joint with outdoor picnic tables, opt for similar ideas to the casual or backyard showers above. If it’s a white tablecloth kind of restaurant, match the ambience with an outfit that’s classy and chic, such as:
Stick to rich, warm, or dark colors for bridal showers in the fall and winter months. Think burgundy, rust, navy, gray, brown, taupe, and forest green. Most showers during these months will be indoors, so don’t worry too much about outerwear, but reflect the season with longer sleeves and hemlines and heavier fabrics. Check out these ideas:
Bright, light colors—pastels and hot hues all the way—rule when it comes to what to wear to spring or summer bridal showers, as do florals and other summery prints like gingham, madras plaid, and seersucker. Lightweight cotton, silk, and linen feel cool and crisp. To get you inspired, here are some warm-weather shower outfit possibilities: