What to wear to a wedding on an apple farm?
September 11, 2009 6:26 AM   Subscribe

I'm invited to a wedding in October on an apple farm in the upper Hudson Valley, NY. We will be in a drafty barn and outdoors in the late afternoon into evening. The wedding invitation says to dress "dressy casual". It is going to be cool to cold. So, what do I wear? I'm female and in my mid-40s.
posted by Pineapplicious to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (20 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Longish fine knit wool dress, solid tights, closed toe shoes with a solid heel for navigating fields and a large pashmina to drape artfully over your shoulders? And silk thermal undies?
posted by x46 at 6:32 AM on September 11, 2009

Whatever you end up wearing, wrap yourself up in a magnificent shawl.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 6:33 AM on September 11, 2009

Nice wool wrap dress to the knee, and second the "magnificent shawl"!
posted by Miko at 6:37 AM on September 11, 2009

So much depends on your personal style. If it were me, I'd be considering something like this --something a bit thicker than your standard jersey dress, ideally with a bit of wool and, since it would be outdoors, something machine washable. I like dresses for weddings, but if you'd be more comfortable in trousers, sleek, work-nice pants would be a good option. I would pair the dress with a cute pair of thick tights (possibly red?) and boots (if you think it would be more cold than cool) or close-toed pumps. I'd bring a long sweater and/or a scarf in case it got chilly.
posted by brambory at 6:40 AM on September 11, 2009

I would wear dressy slacks (maybe something with a wider leg, but watch for potential hem-mud issues) and a drapey knit or silky-rayon blouse, with the shawl.
posted by Lyn Never at 6:44 AM on September 11, 2009

This seems like a great opportunity for some gorgeous leather boots, a dress, a shawl/cardi, and tights. If it's warmer than you expected, you could always go for a lighter denier on the tights and lose the cardi.
posted by ukdanae at 6:47 AM on September 11, 2009

I agree with the magnificent shawl, though you should consider a more standard layering piece for either under it or exchanging out later in the evening. There are great ways to drape shawls, and they're easy to wear most of the time, but you might get sick of having to redrape every time you reach for the Li'l Smokies at the buffet :P

This event was absolutely made for a great pair of boots. They'll be comfy and super appropriate. Again, avoid heels that might sink into the grass. Even something like this will make you feel like you're aerating. (I speak from experience.) Try a simpler style with a wedge, square or flat heel, and/or something like a riding boot. (This is, after all, fall in the Hudson Valley.) This one would be perfect (and makes me wish I had smaller calves!). Ooh! So would this one -- I have another pair of Dansko boots and they're wonderful. If you do have a wider calf, look at Fitzwell.

And, if I may, I think you should wear a hat :) I am always trying to bring back the wearing of hats, and there's no better place than an outdoor wedding. A wool cloche, maybe with a cute silver pin on it, would look very nice and probably be a good way to add more color. Aside from regular department stores, there's usually a pretty good selection of interesting and slightly more formal hats (but easy to dress up or down) at places like TJ Maxx, which is nice when you don't want to lay out a fortune on an experiment.

Now I wish I were going!
posted by Madamina at 7:01 AM on September 11, 2009 [1 favorite]

I second the hat -- you can always get away with a hat at a wedding!
posted by ukdanae at 7:10 AM on September 11, 2009

A (faux) fur coat or shawl could work well.
posted by fermezporte at 7:25 AM on September 11, 2009

Absolutely thick tights and solid heals. I would think boots would be acceptable if you're wearing a dress. Also, I grew up in Upstate NY, and while a shall might be pretty, too far North and it will be useless. We UNYs are the type to wear down coat over our Halloween costumes and flash them quickly for candy (I know from experience), since by Halloween it is usually snowing above the finger lakes. If you're pretty far north up the valley, no one would fault you for bringing an extra wool dress coat for insurance. Honestly, drafty barn wedding in October seems downright cruel depending on how far north you are.
posted by itsonreserve at 7:36 AM on September 11, 2009

Aaaarrrrgggh! There is no such thing as "dressy casual". However, these days if you put "informal" on an invitation people would show up wearing sweatpants and flip flops. So I would interpret "dressy casual" as what you would wear to campaign in if you were running for....Vice President of the United States. (I was going to put, "What you would wear to church", but these days people wear whatever they feel like wearing to church including jeans and tube tops.)

So to clarify, dressing a cut above corderoys, chinos, and jeans, but dressing down from sexy cocktail dresses and ballgowns.

Wool skirt, white silk blouse, suede leather vest, paisley shawl, leather boots.
Black pencil skirt, Cream cashmere twin set, pearls, spectator pumps.
Black cigarette pants, green turtleneck, silk scarf, velvet blazer.

In other words, autumnal colors, sensible outdoor shoes (rather than stilettos) and layers.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 7:36 AM on September 11, 2009

Layers and opaque tights (with closed toed shoes or boots, no pointy heels!) plus a warm shawl are probably the way to go. Trousers or dress/skirt depends a lot on your preference and style. Bring your coat -- you can always leave it in the car if you don't need it (or lend it to a guest who didn't bring one). A hat would be nice, especially for a wedding, but if it's not part of your usual style, I'd probably skip it, or get one now and experiment with hairstyles that will work with it.

(personal note: I went to a wedding in a park on the shore of Lake Superior one October, when the wind was coming off the lake. It was cold. I wore a wool blend plaid jumper over a black mock turtleneck and white silk buttondown shirt, a silvery gray shawl, black tights, and black granny boots. I had a dark green velveteen blazer, but wound up lending it to one of the bridesmaids. If I could have found plum or green tights to match the jumper, I would have worn those instead of black, but I couldn't. I was warm and as comfortable as one can be when outside in the cold wind, but still looked good.)
posted by jlkr at 7:49 AM on September 11, 2009

Having attended an outdoor "dressy casual" event in the upper midwest in early November, I feel your pain. Here's what worked for me:

cashmere sweater
wool skirt
the best boots ever*
accessorize as appropriate.

If you layer enough underneath, you can do the shawl thing on top and not freeze. Since I was standing beside Lake Michigan for literally 2+ hours, I went with a neutral-but-dressy wool coat and elegant scarf instead. My scarf/coat coordinated with my outfit, so I was put-together either way.

*Seriously, those boots, though pricier than I ever thought I would go, are worth the money a meelion times over. They are waterproof suede and they mean it. Impervious to water, mud dries and brushes right off, no breaking-in period, sensible heel, and oh-by-the-way they look good. DO EET.
posted by somanyamys at 8:01 AM on September 11, 2009

Can I butt in and ask you experts if "dressy casual" and "semi-casual" mean the same thing? I was actually going to post a very similar question but the wedding I'm attending says semi-casual and it will be a bit warmer here.

This wedding is also on a farm! I think the bride will be wearing a simple dress and I wonder about the horrible possibility of being more dressy than her.
posted by peep at 8:29 AM on September 11, 2009

This, or something similar in black with a gorgeous silk, orange or wine colored shawl.
posted by Sophie1 at 9:10 AM on September 11, 2009

for peep, here's my (non-expert) interpretation...

People put all kinds of qualifiers in front of "casual," because "casual" without modification tends to invite all manner of inappropriateness. People will wear anything and everything.

However, the more common "Business Casual" sounds weird for a wedding, like you expect all the men to show up in a khakis and polo shirts. And depending on the workplace, there are things that might not be appropriate for women to wear to work (because they're sparkly or whatever) that might be perfectly appropriate in this context.

Without any other qualifiers, all you have is Business (Power Suits!) Cocktail/Semi-Formal (short evening wear) and Formal (long evening wear), which are all obviously Way Too Much for an outdoor farm wedding. So now we're back to A Million Kinds of Casual. Hence the confusion.

Except that yes, they all basically mean the same thing, which is this: You don't need to wear a fancy dress, but please don't wear jeans.

posted by somanyamys at 9:20 AM on September 11, 2009 [1 favorite]

I think terms like "dressy casual" leave you with a lot of personal choice. All it is saying is NOT cocktail attire, black tie, or jeans/t-shirts. What are YOU comfortable in? A fabulous pants suit? great skirt and sweater? Pretty warm dress? I think whatever you wear there will be others more dressy and others more casual, so instead of trying to interpret what the term means, figure out what you look good in, like to wear, and will be warm enough in that is more special than something you'd wear to work but not formal wear. Have a great time!
posted by Lylo at 1:29 PM on September 11, 2009

I love all the suggestions so far: dress, boots, shawl. Me, I would be shopping at places like Boden USA, Garnet Hill, Isabella Bird and the Sundance Catalog. Bootwise I adore my Born Navis, and they're a great price too.
posted by rdc at 1:53 PM on September 11, 2009

Aand now you've got me lusting after this pretty shawl.
posted by rdc at 2:02 PM on September 11, 2009

As much fine cashmere as you can afford. Layer so you can regulate temp. Somanyamys boots. Depending on how stylish you feel, these shawls are vibrant, interesting and would bring life and excitement to any barn without upstaging the bride.
posted by Muirwylde at 12:19 AM on September 12, 2009

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