Fashion: How to dress for the wedding season

M&Co Boutique floral shimmer dress, £79 (www.mandco.com). Picture: PA Photo/Handout.

M&Co Boutique floral shimmer dress, £79 (www.mandco.com). Picture: PA Photo/Handout. - Credit: PA

It’s that time of the year when the mantelpiece starts to strain under the weight of summer invitations.

(Top) Ezme metallic dress, £406; embellished headband, £48; (Bottom) Ezme coat, £476; Janne dress, £

(Top) Ezme metallic dress, £406; embellished headband, £48; (Bottom) Ezme coat, £476; Janne dress, £384; all Narciss (www.shopnarciss.com). Picture: PA Photo/Handout. - Credit: PA

Whether it’s weddings, christenings or a day at the races, that trusty LBD you rely on for the office just isn’t going to cut it.

Sequin print dress, £119; Damsel in a Dress (0207 697 2735/www.damselinadress.co.uk). Picture: PA Ph

Sequin print dress, £119; Damsel in a Dress (0207 697 2735/www.damselinadress.co.uk). Picture: PA Photo/Handout. - Credit: PA

The occasion season calls for flirtier, lighter and brighter fashion that turns heads.

Holly Willoughby stepping out for her Spring/Summer 2013 Very.co.uk launch. Picture: PA Photo/Handou

Holly Willoughby stepping out for her Spring/Summer 2013 Very.co.uk launch. Picture: PA Photo/Handout. - Credit: PA

If a wedding is on the agenda, you don’t want to risk upstaging the bride but equally it’s no fun blending into the fashion background. Occasionwear needs to be striking but comfortable enough to wear all day (and night) long.

From sharp trouser suits to floaty dresses, summer is the season to indulge your inner lady. Ditch the smart casuals and go wild with the dressing-up box.


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“It’s a one-hit wonder - all you need are shoes and you’re ready to go,” says Paula Reed, author of Style Clinic.

“Sure, you can accessorise as much as you like, but even with the most minimal styling, a great dress can make you look polished and pulled together in an instant.”

The cleaner shapes of structured dresses mean that you can go to town with textures, print and colour, as well as your accessories.

“A simple column dress looks crisper and fresher in summer than layers of separates,” Reed suggests.

“Always avoid overexposure with acres of naked skin for summer occasions. Let the fabric create the lightness.”

Floaty fancy

If structured silhouettes feel too severe, go floaty and ethereal.

Avoid flounces and frills unless you want to add curves to your frame - simple, clean lines look more flattering on looser garments.

Opt for a full-length maxi, midi-length dress or a full skirt with an impressive swing on the dancefloor - but just ensure you don’t swamp your best assets.

“Play to your strengths,” Reed urges. “If you’re complimented on your beautiful neck and shoulders, great cleavage, good legs or graceful arms, this is what you should accentuate.”

The longer the hemline, the more you can show off shoulders and decolletage. If within dress code (some race days have strict guidelines), bare shoulders minimise wide hips and avert the eyes from a straight waist.

Wear a smart jacket over the top and you have a different outfit to move seamlessly from day to night.

Suits you

While some women favour dresses, others worship at the alter of separates. Tailoring is particularly useful if you are top or bottom heavy and need to mix and match different sizes.

Suiting can look modern, slick and oh-so chic. But it can also look like you’ve just slotted in some overtime at the office.

For summer occasions, lighten up and try and avoid darker colours. Reed advises: “Colours that expand your figure instantly are white, yellow, orange, lime and almost all shades of pink.

“Colours that camouflage are neutrals and almost all pastels - everything from caramel to ice blue.”

While skirt suiting is more traditional, trouser suits can look effortlessly contemporary. Kate Moss once went one step further at a summer wedding with a short suit.

Go for style extremes, either wide palazzo pants or slim-fit pencil trousers and accessorise with leg-lengthening heels.

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