Did you watch William and Catherine (apparently, we're not supposed to call her Kate anymore) get married today? In the words of so many British spectators interviewed by the BBC, "It was absolutely lovely." I particularly loved Catherine's wedding gown with its lace sleeves. At every wedding I've been to in the past few years, the bride, bridesmaids, and many of the young female guests have all worn strapless dresses. And you know what that means? Throughout the receptions, they were constantly yanking at the fabric under their arms, in a desperate attempt to keep the ever-sliding strapless dresses in place. Pretty ridiculous. Fortunately for us 50+ women, we don't have to be slaves to strapless dresses or any other wedding dress style. In my post, Here Comes the Wedding Guest, All Dressing in...?, I offered some thoughts and examples of flattering dresses for women over 50. In this post, I offer some ideas on accessories--shoes and handbags--for the dress.
For example, the Anne Klein Fall Floral Jersey Dress, Ships 9/15 (Brown) ($119) at the top of this post would look fabulous with the Anne Klein Peri Dress Detailed Pumps (Brown) below.
One of my favorite color combos is black and brown. So I would pair the dress and shoes with a trendy ruffled clutch like this . Furmani Chiffon clutch Black - Clutch from eBags.com.
CHOOSING YOUR SHOES & HANDBAG
I always feel a great sense of relief after I've chosen a dress for a wedding or other special event. It seems like the hardest part is over. But that's a complete fallacy, isn't it? As we all know, shoes can make or break a lovely outfit. (Dorothy's ruby slipper certainly jazzed up her outfit, don't you think?) When accessorizing a wedding guest dress or suit, I look for shoes and a handbag that:
- Compliment the outfit without being strictly coordinated. Matching necklace and earrings set or matching shoes and purse are old-fashion concepts. Today's styling is all about being adventurous, taking chances. However, I'm going to leave super-contrasting combinations to the 20-something set. My goal is to find pretty accessories that work together, but don't necessarily match. If I'm going to wear a navy dress with navy spectator shoes, I'm not going to choose a navy bag.
- Are Good Quality. It's a special occasion, so the wedding accessories should be the best quality you can afford.
- Exude Fun. Shoes are a great way to show off your personal style and spirit. A recent New York Magazine article, entitled Chunky Spring Shoes featured some far-out footwear for spring. What I found interesting was that the shoes were the only “out there” part of outfits. The women were dressed conservatively otherwise. I'd think twice about shoes as chunky and sky scraping as the ones shown in the magazine, but women over 50 should have fun with accessories.
- Are Appropriate. Make sure you know what kind of affair is planned and dress for it. True story: About 10 years ago, my husband and I were invited to one of his work colleague's wedding. The invitation said the service was going to be held at a state park, followed by a restaurant reception. I assumed the ceremony would be accessible in party heels (silly me!). As it turned out, the ceremony was held at the top a waterfall. Guests had to climb roughly 60 railroad tie steps to get to the top. I had to cinch up my form-fitting sheath dress (I was younger then) so that my legs could straddle each high step. At the top of the stairs, my heels sunk into the moist, moss-covered ground. The moral: If the ceremony and/or receptions are planned for somewhere other than a church, restaurant, hotel or catering venue, be sure to ask a few questions.
DRESS + SHOES + HANDBAG
The 2011 trend of styling contrasting patterns, colors and materials is all over the magazines. As an over 50 woman, I want to be a little adventurous, but you probably won't see me wearing a striped dress with floral print shoes, or floral print blouse with a plaid skirt. I do, however, love having the option of wearing a pattern shoe, like the Anne Klein Jalyna Dress Pump (Black) ($79 with 3" heels). They 're perfect for a bright solid color dress like the one below.
Jones New York Crushed Floral Side Drape Dress ($118)
Marc by Marc Jacobs Snake On a Wire Clutch ($158)
A solid color dress, like this Jones New York Pleated Neck Sheath Dress, ($129), gives you a lot of options when it comes to choosing your accessories. You might choose a festive shoe with a few bobbles and a textured clutch.
Anne Klein Marla casual flat (Black) ($79, now $49)
Lauren Merkin Handbags Ava Weathered Croco Clutch ($295)
Texture is all the rage right now. In fact, designers are challenging women to mix textures whenever possible. For, instance, you might try a dress like this Anne Klein Textured Draped Sheath Dress, Ships 9/15 (Red) ($550), plus a shoe with patent leather and a studded purse. It's eye-catching without being glaring--if you know what I mean.
Easy Spirit Urmine Comfortable shoes for women (Black)
House of Harlow 1960 Tilly Clutch ($250)
Black and white dresses are also very versatile when it comes to choosing accessories. You can pair them just about any colors--red, turquoise, yellow, purple--with them. Here are some more ideas.
Jones New York Black And White V-Neck Floral Dress - Pattern ($128)
Anne Klein Pipa Dress Detailed (Grey) ($49)
Free Endearment Dana Teal - Leather Handbags
Jones New York Floral Black and White Belted Sheath Dress (Pattern) ($128)
Easy Spirit Bashful, Ships 5/16 Comfortable shoes for women (Black), Wide Width ($69)
Inge Christopher Theda B Oversized Clutch Blue - Clutch