Wedding Guest Jitters… How to Dress to Make It Through the Microscope Test
My boyfriend is the best man at his brother’s wedding next week. We are both previously divorced. It will be the first time I meet many of his family (we have traveled to Florida to meet his parents and other siblings.) I’ve not yet met the bride or groom. It is a Saturday evening wedding in Chicago. I expect it to be classy, but not stuffy. The rehearsal dinner is at an art gallery with the typical wine and cheese. I have several questions about things that I’m a teeny bit nervous about!
Attire:I thought a simple black dress would be fine, as I’m not anything special in this wedding. When I said that to his mother (a very dear lady, really) she said, “Oh yes, you’re special, you make my son happy and EVERYONE will be checking you out, but don’t worry dear, you’ll be fine”… uh… nothing like a little pressure. So, I’m thinking about a long black sleeveless scoop neck dress (but I’m really hating my arms this summer!). Or, black wide-leg flowy pants worn with a V-neck top that has sheer long sleeves (the miracle diet hasn’t worked yet, eeks). Either outift with strappy beaded sandals? Which one? Do I wear hose?
Manners:He was married for 20+ years to a woman most of his family hated… and hasn’t seen many of his relatives since the divorce last year. There will undoubtedly be people who don’t have a clue. As he and his parents will be busy with details, is it appropriate for me to introduce myself? Do I call myself his girlfriend? He’s 45 years old and I’m 36. Can I just be his ‘friend’ or what? (Moline, IL)
His mother is a very dear lady, really? I think that they would call her a major bee-atch uptown.
No loving person suggests a left-handed, “Oh yes, you’re special, you make my son happy and EVERYONE will be checking you out, but don’t worry dear, you’ll be fine”. Only a neurotic, meddling woman with an axe to grind into the heart of the woman who takes her son’s attention away from her says that. Get it? If she hated his wife of 20-something years, she will most likely wind up hating you or whomever her son is involved with. Love, shmuve, this woman will be a pain in your side if you or your boyfriend let her. Ignore her cracks before this wedding turns into your big, fat Greek tragedy!
The best way to deal with a family of small time checker-outers is to give them something really worth checking out: look marvelous, feel self-confident, and blow (figuratively, of course) their squinty eyes right out of their head with every jealous glare they send your way.
If you are feeling a little sorry for the shape you are in, wear what makes you feel better about yourself sounds like the V-neck top with sheer sleeves. The V-neck draws the eye down and visually lengthens your torso, while the sheer sleeves camouflage less than perfectly toned arms. Follow the no sheer hose over bare toes with sandals rule, and you’ll be fashionably fine.
As far as putting a title on the terms of your relationship, the generic boyfriend/girlfriend label is just fine. It’s not your place to report about his past alliance. Let’s try to remember that the day belongs to the bride and groom and everyone else is simply sharing their joy!
–July 5, 2002
Resident fashion expert & style mentor- With just about 20 years experience in the glamour industry as a New York-based photography fashion stylist, syndicated columnist, contributing editor, lecturer, on-air television/radio fashion expert, and founder / editor in chief of FocusOnStyle.com. Sharon Haver knows the modern-thinking woman wants easygoing style that suits her individual needs, spiced with just the right amount of flip and wit to make it personal.