Ready-to-Wed: Translating Your Ready-to-Wear Style into Your Wedding Attire
Written by Katie O’Shaughnessy


You have two options for your wedding day look: “Go big” or “Do you.”

If you choose “Go big,” really go for it. If “Do you” sounds more up your alley, your best bet is to translate your weekend wear to wedding flair. Decide your usual look and find a 2.0 version of it, something with a little more glitz that’s still recognizable as your own unique style. “A bride should be the best version of herself on her wedding day. You want your look to reflect who you are,” says Natalia Lagunas, store manager of Bijou Bridal & Special Occasion.

Although it seems like brides have unlimited options and grooms get stuck with only a few avenues, there are ways a man can incorporate his personality into his look. The combined effect of newlyweds flaunting their personal style lets your guests know exactly whose wedding they’re attending.

Determine Your Aesthetic

Dive into your closet and find outfits that flatter your body and show your personality. If you pulled out mostly tops and pants, you like a no-nonsense look on the bottom, so watch for a slimmer silhouette like a long sheath or mermaid. If you grabbed dresses, identify the cut and go from there.

It’s important for the groom to find his groove, too. “Determine what he is most comfortable with when selecting his clothing. What type of jeans does he like? Does he wear button-down shirts? Does he select his clothing by comfort or by style?” says Joann Ambriz, CEO of Formally Modern Tuxedo.

Analyze Your Faves

Why did you choose these outfits? Does this shirt do amazing things to your arms? Do those pants enhance your shapely cheeks? You probably chose these pieces because of how they highlight your assets. Look for a wedding outfit that highlights the same things.

“She’ll probably gravitate toward a wedding gown that’s a proven silhouette that she’s worn in the past because she feels confident and beautiful in it,” says Nicole Kurz, owner of The Dress by Nicole.

Once a groom’s signature look has been established, he’s ready to match a wedding look to his style. “If he’s trendy, I would suggest a very fitted coat and pants with a bow tie and some colorful socks for a hint of color. If they’re conservative – a traditional tuxedo with a vest and tie in a more classic fit,” says Ambriz.

Shop until You Drop – of Sheer Happiness

Find cuts and styles that resemble your chosen pieces. If you pulled a bunch of A-line dresses from your wardrobe, look for an A-line gown that cinches your waist. If your chosen few are sassy sheaths, try on a fit-and-flare or mermaid and watch what happens to those curves.

If you’re still not quite sure what your daily look means, a consultant can help you when you begin shopping. “When they walk in, you can assess their personal style,” says Karen Rolfe, co-owner of Reddington Bridal. “We start with their everyday wear. We take that and glam it up one step.”

“During her first appointments, a bride should try on a variety of styles, silhouettes, necklines, and fabrics. This will help her discover the style that best fits her personality,” says Lagunas.

In his suit-seeking adventures, the groom should keep his mind open. “There are some great dinner jackets in gingham, white, or ivory with a black trim that will still be formal but certainly more trendy,” says Ambriz.

Enhance and Accessorize Your Look

You’re not just going to Uncle Jay’s pig roast in this dress. This is your wedding day. Stuff’s gonna get fancy, and you need to keep up. You don’t want to have the most casual look in the house and let some third cousin in a glittery gown steal your thunder. Not today, my friend, not today.

Take your style and enhance it. “When you’re looking at a wedding, you have to consider it’s almost like theater. Your guests have to see you and get an impression of you from further away,” says Diane Alfillé, vice president at Eve J. Alfillé Gallery & Studio.

Unless you have a jewelry box of identical earrings, your aesthetic probably changes from day to day. “Maybe you don’t normally wear a lot of jewelry, but you end up wearing a lot of accessories when you go out,” says Kurz. How you adapt your look to different occasions will help you decide what types of accessories you want on your big day.

Another way to up the ante is with your favorite hues. “Incorporate color, whether it be a headpiece, shoes, or other accessories like your jewelry,” says Erin Lindsay Janish, owner and head designer at Erin Lindsay Design.

“Don’t overdo it,” says Rolfe. “Less is more. If you’re someone who’s very fancy or glamorous, then you can afford to go with the bolder choices.”

If you like a vintage aesthetic, bring your family’s heirlooms into your outfit. “I like to take their mothers’ and grandmothers’ veils and incorporate that into their style,” says Antonietta Cervantes, owner and designer at Veiled by ChaCha.

If the groom wants to go the traditional route with a suit, he can still tailor it to his personality with some well-chosen accessories. “If he goes classic,” says Ambriz, “I would do a unique tie or bow tie, specialty socks, and engraved cufflinks to make it his own look.”

Don’t Put Yourself on a Short Leash

If you find something that’s not quite you but you like it, try it on. Just because you don’t already own a strapless top doesn’t mean you couldn’t rock a strapless dress.

“A lot of brides tend to think outside the box and do something different,” says Cervantes. If you’re not blown away by cuts that resemble your daily style, try something unexpected. “Though she’s not usually a Cinderella type of woman, she may be on their wedding day. Her wedding day’s a special day, so she might want to go outside her comfort zone.”

“It’s just important to know there aren’t that many rules. It’s her big day,” says Janish. “If she wants something, she should be able to incorporate it.”

Whatever you choose, make sure you can see yourself in the final product. “It’s a reflection of you. You really want to stay true to yourself and your look,” says Alfillé. “Young people these days really know who they are, and it’s really important for them to be individuals.”

Rock It

When your wedding day comes, you’ll know you look like a more vibrant version of you. You chose a dress based on things that make you feel comfortable and gorgeous, so go out, enjoy the night, and know that only you could pull off this look so perfectly.

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