Style Advice: What To Wear To A Wedding

With a slew of friends getting engaged and/or married, wedding season is definitely upon us! I was delighted with the response I received from commenters and readers on my post about Dummeow's wedding dress picks last week. Indeed, when I tweeted the link to the post, gorgeous Twitterer Jennifer_Lee tweeted in reply:

"I love weddings in the summer.. I have one to go to this August.. you should do an entry on what to wear to a wedding! :)"

Just as wedding ceremonies and receptions differ according to the couple's tastes and culture, there is no one right dress code for a wedding. What you wear to someone's wedding depends on a number of things:

  1. Does the invitation specify a dress code?
  2. If there's no specified dress code, what time of day are the reception and ceremony? For events happening during the day, more casual dress is acceptable.
  3. Where is it all happening? If you'll be outdoors in a park or on a beach, opt for flats or wedges instead of heels that will sink into lawns and sand.
Now, I have to say this for the benefit of the socks-with-sandals, casual-or-die crowd: Please do not wear jeans or casual garb to someone's wedding. There are so many everyday occasions where jeans are acceptable. Weddings are not everyday occasions. This is a very special day for the happy couple and for the friends and family members who love them. Show some respect for everyone involved and dress appropriately.

Alright, onto the fun part! I've whipped up some Polyvore sets to illustrate different outfits for different types of weddings; if you want more information about the featured items just click the links provided below. Enjoy!

afternoon wedding
Afternoon wedding: Save the sequins and skin-baring numbers for the raucous bachelorette party! Daytime weddings call for something more demure. This full-skirted colour block dress is bold yet classic and feminine; add a silver pendant and pearl stud earrings for some subtle polish without detracting from the impact of the dress. Black peep-toe flats walk the fine line between casual and dressy, while a cropped cardigan will keep bare shoulders warm. I added the Chanel purse because the textured cream-and-black tweed is so lovely.

beach wedding
Beach wedding: Lucky enough to be going to a destination wedding in a tropical paradise? Show off sun-kissed skin and keep cool with a short draped jersey dress in a bright hue. Flat metallic sandals make walking on sandy beaches a breeze and add glam shine, as do the pearly white polish, a moonstone cocktail ring, and moonstone earrings. Shield your eyes from the sun's rays with a straw fedora, then switch it for a white feathered headband for the evening festivities. Ooh and check out the nude Burberry leather wristlet with the ruffles down the front--cute!

formal wedding
Formal wedding: Formal weddings and evening receptions mean calling out all the stops. A one-shoulder dress is sassy without being too revealing; play up the warmth of its purple hue with gold-tinged accessories and a cream-coloured pashmina. I threw in this sky-high pair of Louboutins because they were too beautiful, but whatever shoes you go with, make sure you can dance in them comfortably!

Black and white wedding outfit
Wear black or white to a wedding? Ah, the age-old question of whether it's appropriate to wear black or white to someone's wedding. I think white is definitely a no-no out of respect for the bride, and while the little black dress is always a safe bet, the LBD can be a bit stale sometimes. Why not go for a patterned dress that combines the two? I love the bold slanted stripes on this frock, which I echoed in the slanted pleats of the clutch and the crisscross detailing of the pumps. A chunky coral necklace and turquoise bracelet provide a dose of much-needed colour.

Which Polyvore set is your favourite? Will you be attending a wedding sometime soon, and if so, any idea what you'll be wearing?

String Magazine Spotlight

String's founder, Maria Jose Hernandez Cos, makes a speech.

The Vancouver fashion industry and well-wishers alike gathered at the Metropole last Friday for the String Magazine Spotlight, a party celebrating the online publication's one-year anniversary. Founder and editor, Maria Jose Hernandez Cos, welcomed everyone warmly and spoke of the magazine's mission and its experiences thus far. Contributors Leanne Yu and Kari Chellouf were also present and full of glowing praise for their editor as they made speeches.

The evening's highlight was a 5-part fashion show featuring local labels and designers: Flora & Fauna, Morena Clothing, Nixxi, Chapel Couture by Alicia Grunert, and Drew William. Flora & Fauna kicked things off with a collection of casual jersey separates. Morena Clothing featured full skirts, fitted tops, and dresses with quirky one-of-a-kind details and embellishments.

Pink and orange strapless dress by Flora & Fauna

Morena Clothing's opening look was feminine and whimsical.

Nixxi's collection of draped jersey tops and leggings in eco-friendly fabrications was a pleasant surprise--wearable, on-trend, and with just enough detailing to keep things interesting. Out of the pieces that Chapel Couture presented, the most memorable ones for me were the rompers, particularly one risque number with an open front and a bare back--definitely not for the faint of heart! Drew William wowed the crowd with his slouchy deconstructed menswear; the jumpsuit and the delicate cutout vest were particularly eye-catching.

Drew William's jumpsuit for the men

Nixxi's surprisingly wearable interpretation of the harem trouser

Chapel Couture's saucy romper

Congratulations to String Magazine on a great party and a successful year!

Runway photos by Stanley Lau. Photos of Maria and of party-goers by Yvonne Chew. This post also appears on Stylefinds.

Today's Outfit: String Magazine Party

This edition of Today's Outfit is brought to you by a fantastic hook-up that Wendy Brandes offered to her blogger bitches; it was through her that I got this Francis one-shoulder zigzag dress at a fantastic price! I was thrilled when I received it in the mail but held off wearing the dress until the String Magazine one-year anniversary party. (My coverage of the party will be published here and on Stylefinds tomorrow.) The evening was a ton of fun, but the funniest moment occurred when I ran into Blanche Macdonald grad and up-and-coming designer Roger Prince. I met Roger when I interviewed his girlfriend Theresa James (also a Blanche grad and a talented designer) for Vancouver Fashion eZine. He and I did a double take and crowed with laughter when we noticed each other's striped apparel. Knowing WendyB's penchant for "twins" moments, I had to get a picture of this hilarious coincidence.


Soirées Etc.

Here's a look at some of the events happening in Vancouver this weekend, as well as a shameless plug for my Stylefinds editor Shallom in her latest venture.

String Magazine Spotlight
String Magazine is celebrating its one-year anniversary with a soirée at The Met tomorrow night! Mingle with Vancouver's fashion industry as you enjoy a fashion show featuring local labels Flora & Fauna, Morena Clothing, Nixxi, Chapel Couture (Alicia Grunert), and Drew William. Expect music and entertainment as well. For more information about the event and how to purchase tickets, check out the Facebook event page.

Breast Cancer "Pool Boy" Party
Support the BC Cancer Foundation's "Weekend to End Breast Cancer" while pampering yourself and participating in some shameless objectification of the male sex! The InspirationALL modelling agency is hosting a pool boy party at Brava Towers (1155 Seymour Street) on Sunday June 28th from 3 to 9pm. A $25 ticket will get you admission, one drink, a vegetarian meal and dessert, and a gift bag. Oh, and did I mention that sweet gorgeous men will be waiting on attendees hand and foot? See the Facebook event page for more information or email to purchase your ticket in advance.

Finally, my Stylefinds editor Shallom is one of 2 finalists in the Holt Renfrew Contemporary Correspondent Search. The winner will be an official blogger for Holts and receive all sorts of fabulous prizes. She has full details on how to cast your vote over at Stylefinds. I suggest you go and vote for her, stat. Good luck Shallom!
(Photo by FFX © Florbela's Fotographix)

Style Advice: Picking The Dream Wedding Dress

Lovely blogger and fellow high school alum Dummeow recently got engaged--congratulations! Since she's been following this blog for a while, when she announced her engagement she also messaged me asking for an advice post on wedding dresses. Wedding dress shopping is so personal and I didn't want to impose my own tastes on someone else, so I asked her for further details about the ceremony and the overall look she wanted to achieve, and suggested that she pick out several dresses she liked. Dummeow kindly obliged and posted her top picks; now I'm going to go through these dresses and offer my thoughts on each selection.

The classic A-line silhouette, lace pattern, and ribbon sash make this gown sweet and feminine. However, when paired with the updo and elbow-length gloves Dummeow wants to wear, the overall look might be a little too precious. Instead, I suggest bare arms, a good manicure, and a hairstyle that's not overly fussy to keep the look a little more modern, a little less Disney princess.

The scalloped neckline is quite pretty. Judging from the fit across the waist/hip area, this is not a dress for the tummy-conscious. Spanx might be a good idea for the big day. The lace train looks beautiful in the picture but could be a pain in real life. Picture tripping over it when you stand in the park for pictures, having to hold it up so it doesn't trail on the ground...but that's what bridesmaids are for, right? ;-)

This number is a lot more modern and sleek than the first two. Like dress #2, I'm concerned with the hassle posed by the train. The empire waist detailing highlights the body at its smallest point (just above the natural waistline) and the inverted V panel in the front elongates the body, making a petite girl look taller and slimmer.

Quite honestly, this is lace overkill for me, and again, for the tummy-conscious this number may not be the most flattering. But if this sort of dress is your cup of tea, I recommend keeping accessories to a minimum and wearing simple hair and makeup like the bride pictured here.

Of this dress, Dummeow said, "Something simple. I like looking at it but not for a wedding." The simplicity and elegant draping provide the perfect blank canvas for more dramatic accessories and hairstyles. Instead of buying a one-piece dress, though, I'd try to achieve a similar look with a two-piece ensemble composed of a ballgown skirt and a bustier. After the wedding, both pieces can be re-worn in other outfits.

Love the creative pleating on this gown! This is probably my hands-down favourite of the bunch.

The pleating around the chest has the potential to be unflattering.

Bordering on too puffy, plus with all the rhinestones on the bodice AND the gloves AND the updo we're treading on Disney princess territory once again.

Dummeow says, "Love the scrunch effect although a little too much considering there will be a bouquet." Agreed.

Instead of defining the body and drawing the eye to the narrowest part of the torso, the high stance of the "skinny" empire waist belt on this gown adds volume. I don't recommend this gown for petite girls or for anyone with a large chest or a curvy figure as it will make you look a lot bigger than you actually are. It might work on someone who's tall and willowy.

Which one of Dummeow's picks is your favourite? When you envision your dream wedding dress, what does it look like? If you're a married reader, what sort of dress did you wear for the ceremony?

The Bay Downtown Presents "Winter In Summer"

Last Thursday, The Bay Downtown hosted "Winter in Summer," a preview of the spring/summer clothing that forms a part of the official apparel line for the 2010 Winter Olympics. Guests nibbled on ice cream cones and sipped drinks as they watched a First Nations dance performance and perused the merchandise. A mini fashion show followed featuring a couple of Team Canada athletes as models.

Athletic apparel is really not my thing; however, I can see how it would appeal to Vancouverites who live in workout gear and yoga pants 24/7.

The kids' stuff was much more adorable than the adults'. I loved the romper pj's and matching pink bathrobe on display (if only it came in my size!). The mascot backpacks--with a trio of pockets in the back shaped like faces and feet--made me smile too.

I also really liked the "carpooling" tee depicting all of the 2010 mascots in a minivan, presumably driving to Whistler to catch all the Olympic action.

I was secretly hoping to get my picture taken with one of the 2010 mascots when I received the invitation and was disappointed that Quatchi, Sumi, Miga, and Mukmuk (my personal favourite) were nowhere to be found, although miniature versions were abundant. Oh well, some other time perhaps...


Translated: La Oreja de Van Gogh

I'm positively obsessed with this song at the moment. You should definitely check out the high-resolution music video for "Dulce Locura" on YouTube (which I can't Oh, and in case you haven't figured it out, the band's name translates to "Van Gogh's Ear."

Dulce Locura ("Sweet Madness")

I sell the inventory of memories of the most beautiful story one can ever hear
I sell the script of the saddest and most beautiful film one can ever see
I sell the chords, the shining melody, the lyrics yet to be composed in life
I sell until the sign announces the moment when life will be lived

I understand that you left, and now I serve my sentence but
don't ask me if I'd want to live

Without your moon, without your sun, without your sweet madness
I become once again small and slight, the night dreams of you and makes a mockery of itself
I want to embrace you and you vanish

I sell a brokedown camera that captured the gaze yet to be recorded
I sell two expired tickets for the second row yet to be torn apart
I sell two seats reserved ages ago and now I fall where in life I sat

I sell until the sign announces the moment when life will be lived
I understand that you left, and now I serve my sentence but
don't ask me if I'd want to live

Without your moon, without your sun, without your sweet madness
I become once again small and slight, the night dreams of you and makes a mockery of itself
I want to embrace you

Without your moon, without your sun, without your sweet madness
Crying like a day of rain my soul takes off and looks for you
on a voyage, a voyage from which it never returns

I'll climb each night to find your moon on my roof
the memory of an embrace that makes me tremble

Without your moon, without your sun, without your sweet madness
I become once again small and slight, the night dreams of you and makes a mockery of itself
I want to embrace you

Without your moon, without your sun, without your sweet madness
Crying like a day of rain my soul takes off and looks for you
on a voyage, a voyage from which it will never return

3 Awards, 20 Random Factoids

I'm a little overwhelmed with love from the blogosphere at the moment as I've received 3 awards from different bloggers since last week. 2 of these awards come with rules stating I need to share 10 things about me, so brace yourselves for an onslaught of Solo Lisa trivia.

First, lovely Tea of Everyday Sugar gave me the Honest Scrap award. Thanks Tea!

The rules are as follows:

  • I must thank the person who gave me the award and list their blog and link it.
  • I must list 10 honest things about myself.
  • I must put a copy of The Honest Scrap Logo on my blog.
  • I must select at least 7 other worthy bloggers & list their links.
  • I must notify the bloggers of the award and hopefully they will follow the above three requirements also.
And, without further ado, 10 honest tidbits about me:

  1. I can't drive. I've halfheartedly considered learning since high school but I always find other things I'd rather be doing (extracurriculars, dance, writing, part-time jobs, etc.).
  2. Like Tea, I'm not a morning person.
  3. When I was a kid, my dream job changed from year to year--teacher, astronomer, Egyptologist, cartoonist, and novelist.
  4. Looking back, the only one of those careers I would still consider is Egyptologist.
  5. I like re-reading my old Archie comics sometimes, especially the retro '60s Betty and Veronica and Katy Keene stories for the outfits.
  6. I go through anti-social spells where I'd rather be alone and in a quiet, contemplative state than be with other people.
  7. Shoes are stacked on my bookcase alongside my books, old magazines, CDs, and DVDs.
  8. The last book I read was a young adult novel called Emily Goldberg Learns to Salsa. And yes, I picked it up because it had "salsa" in the title.
  9. One of my favourite procrastination activities is reading the Globe and Mail online.
  10. Quirkiest compliment I've received lately: A guy friend described me as "Tina Fey sexy cool."
I can't wait to read what these bloggers will share about themselves:
  1. (Into) the Fray
  2. Black Patent Stilettos
  3. Clothes Line Finds
  4. Oh Lady E
  5. Mo-logue
  6. Saturday Jane's Last Semester
  7. The Starving Stylist
I have gorgeous Rosie Unknown of Into the Wilderness to thank for the second award, which came with these rules (revised for clarity in this's the technical writer coming out in me!):
  • Each blogger must post these rules.
  • Each blogger must list ten random facts/habits about themselves and pass the award on to other recipients.
  • The award recipients then need to do the same.
  • Don't forget to leave a comment telling the recipients about the award!

And now, another list of 10 things about me:
  1. My love of Latin pop culture was actually a result of my Diego Luna crush. After becoming completely obsessed with him, I started looking up other films he was in and films his co-stars did. Then I began researching the soundtracks' artists and listening to their music. It spiralled out of control from there.
  2. Music playing on my iPod as I made my way to work this morning: Pitbull, the Eagles, Plastilina Mosh.
  3. I don't mind being really busy as long as I have one or two evenings a week to putter around at home.
  4. I use 2-in-1 shampoo to cut down on showering time.
  5. Poorly designed compartments on handbags are dealbreakers for me no matter how cute the handbag may be. I don't like having to dig for things at the bottom of my purse!
  6. Current food fixation: pineapple buns from Chinese bakeries.
  7. I spent a summer living in a town of 12,000 people up north and giving tours at the local museum.
  8. I don't shave my legs for months at a time, if ever. What little hair there is on my calves is barely noticeable, especially after a summer tan starts to develop.
  9. I'm 5'3" but my younger brother is 6' tall. The tall gene definitely skipped me.
  10. Every night before I go to bed, I pour myself a glass of water and put it on my night stand just in case I wake up later and get thirsty.
Whew, that's quite enough narcissistic navel-gazing for today! I'm passing this award on to Tis Serendipity, Little Bow Prep, and Trisch Express--can't wait to read these ladies' responses.

Lastly, Sweety P Style Files gave me the "Your Blog is Fabulous!" award. Thanks Sweety P!


Today's Outfit: Lazy Summer Sundays

This post's title is kind of a misnomer because I got a lot of cleaning done last Sunday afternoon! However, some much anticipated play time came after work as I met lovely Twitterer erin_gee for Mexican food and margaritas that evening.

I was trying to go for relaxed, fuss-free summer dressing with this outfit: minimal accessories and the smallest purse possible, hair clipped back, halter top and skirt. In short, comfortable but not too dressed down. I wore a pair of canvas platform heels that I save for sit-down occasions instead of casual sandals, though. I'm sure we all have a pair or two of "sit-down shoes" in our collections; am I right, ladies?

  • White halter top (from Mexico)
  • Denim skirt (from Chinatown)
  • Shoes (Payless)
  • Earrings (Claire's)
  • Ring (H&M)
  • Wristlet (Coach)
P.S. If you look carefully at my nails, you'll see that I'm wearing the OPI coral-hued Modern Girl polish that I bought at Wink Beauty Lounge.

Eye Candy: Gossip Girl Summer Style

The end of the latest season of Gossip Girl is both a blessing and a curse--a blessing because I have my Monday nights free again and don't have to worry about missing the latest episode, a curse because now I have to wait months until I can find out what will happen next. In the meantime, I can return to the CW website and relive my favourite fashion moments from the show via the photo galleries. The outfit details are so wonderful that I've started keeping a Gossip Girl inspiration folder on my laptop and saving my favourite episode stills for future reference.

For today's post, I thought it might be fun to share some of the spring/summer outfits I saved to my inspiration folder, and what inspirational stuff it is!

Lessons learned from this group of photos:
  1. Nothing is easier or more chic than a dress in the summer. Better yet, make it a dress in white or a floral print.
  2. Headbands add polish to tousled summer locks.
  3. Don't be afraid of pairing statement accessories like wide belts, sashes, and bib necklaces with prints; however, the accessories should draw upon one of the colours in the dress's print to create a unified look.
Which look is your favourite?

So Many Summer Sales...

...and so little time and money! Check out these great sales happening in Vancouver this week and next. (Click the flyers for more info.)

Bronsino, Catalyst Reaction, Olie & Patina Studio Sale

Expect to find terrific deals on leather handbags and accessories.

225-975 Vernon Drive
Saturday June 13th and Sunday June 14th, 11am to 6pm

Two of Hearts Boutique Last of the Best Sale

The ladies of Two of Hearts are clearing out samples and one-off items (including spring merchandise), in addition to providing 25-50% discounts on other items. The sale's on the same day as Car Free Day, so take the opportunity to stroll along Main Street and do a little window-shopping.

3728 Main Street
Sunday June 14th, starts at 12pm

Allison Wonderland Sale

In the words of designer Allison Smith, "There will be some really cute limited edition styles not yet available in stores, new summer dresses and blazers. There is going to be a $5 rack too!! Joining in on the action will be Refine Jewellery, Kulus Designs and Body Baubles."

210-309 West Cordova Street
Thursday June 18th, 1pm to 7pm
Cash only

Happy shopping and have a great weekend, everyone!

This post also appears on Stylefinds.

Solo Lisa Reads: Morvern Callar By Alan Warner

Looking for a summer beach read that isn't fluffy chick lit or a fashion magazine? If you're in the mood for something distinctive, quirky, and well-written, I recommend Morvern Callar by Alan Warner. I was first introduced to this book in university and picked it up again recently for a very pleasurable re-reading.

Morvern Callar recounts the life of a twentysomething high school dropout living in a Scottish port town and working a dead-end job at a supermarket. A few days before Christmas, Morvern wakes up to discover that her boyfriend has committed suicide. Surprised but remarkably unfazed, she goes about her everyday life--work, partying with her friend Lanna, saving up for a resort holiday in Spain. She does deal with the body eventually (I'll leave it to you to find out how), and uses the money from her boyfriend's estate and newly published novel to plunge headfirst into a life of hedonism. Having grown up in a working class family and faced with few prospects as an adult, she now finds herself having the time of her life, but will it last?

Warner deftly weaves together class politics, Scottish flavour, obscure music (Morvern makes special mix tapes to play when disposing of the body), and the '90s rave scene in this novel, which received the Somerset Maugham Award in 1997. For me, this book is perfect summer reading because of the escapist element of Morvern's journey to Spain--depicted as a land of eternal sun, summer, and relaxation--and the captivating quality of her narrative voice. The Scottish slang and odd Gaelic phrases do take some getting used to, but once you start reading you won't want to stop.

What do you like reading in the summer?


Confession time: I spend a lot of time browsing the Anthropologie website, clicking around and sighing over the clothes, then sighing even more at the astronomical prices. However, vintage-inspired apparel and accessories with whimsical, pretty detailing need not cost an arm and a leg! I recently received an email from Mai Olivo, the owner of online boutique RUCHE, inviting me to check out her website. According to Mai, "RUCHE is a modern women's boutique with a vintage touch. We try to find items that are new, in-style, trendy, yet still inspired by a vintage look. We handpick each product to give you the perfect selection of clothing, accessories and more. When you visit, we want you to enter a feeling of comfort and nostalgia. We can only hope that you enjoy your visit every time."

Chicas on a budget, take note: Most of the pieces I saw on RUCHE were less than $50 and shipping to Canada is under $10. RUCHE also stocks eco-friendly and handmade finds. And if you're like me and love to window-shop Anthropologie's website, well, there's no shortage of feminine eye candy here.

My favourite picks...

Parfumee coral daisy sundress ($49.99). I love how this frock is so unabashedly feminine with its floral embroidery and cutout details. The silhouette is classic but the coral is perfectly on-trend this season.

Perfect with everything boatneck top ($36.99). This is one top that certainly lives up to its name. Its crisp whiteness and clean lines make it the perfect complement for skinny jeans, denim skirts, leggings, or trousers.

Adorn berry handmade drop earrings ($32.99). These are a nice finishing touch on summer outfits and look good enough to eat.

Chili pepper beaded cuff bracelet ($19.99). Ah, more coral...a bold cuff in a bright hue shows off slim wrists and sun-kissed skin in the warmer months.

Chenin grape scarf ($22.99). It's gray! It's a lightweight summer scarf! It's shaped like bunches of grapes! It's so awesome I can't stop using exclamation points!

Special offer for Solo Lisa readers! Type in the coupon code "SOLOLISA" during checkout for 10% off.
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