There are many industries that have been hard hit this year by the pandemic, one of them being the wedding industry. Sellers and vendors both big and small found their sales dropped off sharply as weddings were postponed and cancelled all over the country, including my younger sister’s. It can sometimes feel like there are so many small businesses to support that one isn’t sure where it’s best to spend one’s money, and it’s true that one person can only do so much. One of the excellent things about the vintage loving community, though, is that the notion of dressing for events is slightly redundant for us, because we love getting dressed up all the time. That makes us excellent candidates for supporting businesses like today’s feature, Fascinators Direct, a Brighton-based fascinators and hat company–because, hey, if sassy mid-century loving folks don’t know how to rock some killer headwear, then who does??
Some dresses serves as an epitome of a certain time, or feeling, or season. This little number from The Pretty Dress Company? Well this dress is mostly certainly spring.
We pinups love to get our glam on, so you’d think an invite to a wedding would be a lovely excuse to bust out our best finery and indulge in our utmost glamour. Depending on the formality of the wedding in question, the temperament of the wedding party and the guests, and the glam level of your aforementioned finery, sometimes, though, being a pinup invited to a wedding can be a difficult situation in terms of clothes.
The 50s style is feminine, classic and elegant, but it’s also equal parts glamorous, sexy and attention-grabbing. A swing dress that displays no cleavage and little leg can still easily make you the centre of attention by pure virtue of the fact that it’s an unusual style for anyone to sport head-to-toe these days, let alone factoring in the attention a petticoated full skirt is likely to garner.
In my daily pinup life I dress however I want and it doesn’t bother me to get stares, but as a woman attending a wedding I like to look both lovely and appropriate in the photos without being perceived as attempting to upstage the bride by out-glamming her or overdressing–never something I would do deliberately, but some people can come to weddings in rather casual dress, automatically making others looked overdressed by comparison. Given that, as it’s someone else’s special day, I prefer to dress as if part of the beautiful set dressing of the day as a whole so I can focus on sharing the joy with everyone rather than dressing intentionally to wow and then worrying if I’ve overdone it.
Thus, my personal rule with weddings for my own attire is that it’s easier to err on the side of caution and find a way to represent my true pinup self without inviting strangers to cast their own opinion. If you, too, share those same feelings when you get a wedding invite, I wanted to share with you my two top tips for keeping your style on point without unintentionally eliciting sharp tendencies in others. My two style rules for wedding attire is to dress sweetly or dress chicly.
There is absolutely no reason for you to give up your pinup sentimentality when picking your outfit for a wedding or reception, but if you opt for something demure or classically stylish then you’re likely to evoke a more wedding-appropriate vintage vibe than if you go full force for the glam or the kitsch. These days people are gleefully adopting fascinators at a wedding, but when you add a fascinator to a full pinup ensemble it can look burlesque and glamorous and fabulous–three things that the stylishly-challenged can get offended by. So, you don’t have to be scared of wearing a fascinator, but be prepared to have to tone down your look in other areas to soften your style overall. Maybe swap out your red lipstick for a softer shade, or wear a smart swing dress rather than a tight wiggle. Wear lower heels. Leave off the seamed stockings. It often only takes one tweak or two to achieve a quieter but still polished version of your usual look.
I’ve been to two weddings for friends so far this year, and I took a different dressing tact for each. To attend my friend Steph’s wedding in March I decided to go soft and demure in this feminine and wistful mint spotted Unique Vintage Garden State dress.