What should I wear with this dress?
June 15, 2012 11:20 AM   Subscribe

How should I accessorize this flapper-style black dress that I'm wearing as a bridesmaid? Seeking ideas on shoes and jewelry (and possibly hosiery or leg coverage).

I love the dress, and the bride approves. I'm not very practiced at dressing up/coordinating for formal occasions, and my goal here is simply to look nice for the pictures and to not stand out with tackiness. Here are my questions:

- There may or may not be a purple sash. To err on the side of caution, what color/style shoes would go nicely? Lace hem hits right at my knee, if that helps. UK shoe shopping suggestions?
-Panty hose totally tacky? I'm going to try to find toe-less ones here in the UK. I really really hate my legs--they are scarred and weirdly shaped due to injuries and operations, and I feel more comfortable with coverage. I used to use that Sally Hansen spray on stuff, but I heard the formula is now sparkly, and I don't know where I can find it here anyway.
-No necklace with that lace neckline, right? Or maybe a choker?
-What color/style of earrings and other jewelry would work?
- Nice bag style that's a bit bigger than a clutch?

Any inspiration or direction is welcome, such as stuff I can look at on pinterest or etsy or ebay, and then search for elsewhere, if necessary. I do have a small window for online shopping and returning before I fly out for the wedding, so sites that ship reasonably to the UK would be really helpful (modcloth was really awesome for that, but I don't have any experience with the quality of their shoes or accessories). Real shop suggestions are also welcome, of course!

Thanks very much, mefites!
posted by sundaydriver to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (20 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I am certainly no fashion plate but I'd agree with you, no necklace. You want to show off the lace neckline, not compete with it. I think you could wear pantyhose if you'd like, just make sure they're as close to your natural skintone as possible. None of that "suntan" nonsense from the 80s. Or maybe try a sunless tanner (something gradual like this if it's sold in the UK).
posted by jabes at 11:34 AM on June 15, 2012

Nude "sandal foot" pantyhose would certainly be fine; flappers in the 20s wore stockings as part of their "costume". Instead of a necklace, consider accessorizing this gorgeous dress with some sort of fascinator in your hair.
posted by Oriole Adams at 11:47 AM on June 15, 2012 [3 favorites]

I would go with no necklace, some sparkly/dangly earrings, and something in your hair as previously suggested. For your legs, you can try something like Dermablend; they sell it at Boots and it'll give you coverage and make your skin look smooth. If you are worried about the color rubbing off then nude hose that match your skin color would be fine. If you're wearing sandals or something with an open toe, then I'd go the Dermablend route.
posted by bedhead at 11:51 AM on June 15, 2012

I like the idea of seamed stockings, perhaps a sheer black. Go for a 20's inspired shoe, like this. Any simple T-strap should do.

A drawstring bag, might look nice. Or a vintage needle point bag.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 12:12 PM on June 15, 2012 [2 favorites]

Definitely a fascinator. I think hose will be fine - I'm not sure I would go with seamed stockings with this dress, though. Did you notice that ModCloth will actually chat with you about accessorizing their clothes in a live chat? Click where it says "Make a date."
posted by woodvine at 12:39 PM on June 15, 2012 [1 favorite]

Some inspiration: (of course imagine the dresses in black!)
http://pinterest.com/pin/259519997246731066/ - dark hose!

So from that I gather, hair up with something sweet in your hair, glam earrings, maybe a string of white pearls (to pop off the black of your dress) (if its not pearls I would do a lovely set of bracelets or a cocktail ring), nude hose and t-strap or mary jane-esque heels (yay can be find in a variety of heights). You can find bigger evening clutched as well. but most flapper-esque bags are small with the string so that may be the route you want to take to have a sweet flapper look?

Have fun!!
posted by xicana63 at 12:41 PM on June 15, 2012 [1 favorite]

I am going to go against the grain and suggest an opera-length (36 inch) necklace, with either a single or double strand, and a fascinator in your hair. If the wedding is going to be purple/plum, maybe something like this pretty headband/fascinator?
posted by Snarl Furillo at 12:43 PM on June 15, 2012

Don't wear a fascinator with that dress- you'll look like you're wearing a flapper Halloween costume. If you're going with stockings, I'd say dangly, sparkly earrings, like these or these (in keeping with the purple theme).
posted by showbiz_liz at 1:06 PM on June 15, 2012 [6 favorites]

I loooove that dress. Lucky you.

No necklace, that would be way too busy on top. Something elaborate in the hair would be perfect.

Wear nude hose or sheer black seamed stockings if you'll feel more comfortable in them. The sunless tanner products work pretty well though. Clarins makes a good one.
posted by fingersandtoes at 1:07 PM on June 15, 2012

I second the suggestion for a long necklace. Google 'flapper' and look at the images for inspiration. Long necklaces are part of the look but plain enough not to compete with your collar.
posted by Dragonness at 1:23 PM on June 15, 2012

Love that dress! Silver high heeled sandals. No necklace. Sparkly dangly earrings. Maybe one big cocktail ring with black stone, something like this.
posted by Cocodrillo at 1:24 PM on June 15, 2012 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I also have very scarred legs and love Sally Hansen spray on stuff since discovering it last year. As I'm sure you know, fake tan doesn't hide scars.

You can buy it in the UK, in Boots. It's usually on clipstrips (the hanging plastic displays clipped to the normal shelves) in either the tights, nails or maybe suncream sections.

It is slightly sparkly now, but this is totally unnoticable from a distance. The bigger issue is that it's only available in 'medium'. Depending on how pale you are, you might need to fake tan the rest of your exposed flesh not to have a weird two-tone thing going on if you use this.

Alternatively, Debenhams sell toe-less tights if you'd prefer those.

For the rest, I personally would avoid too much more 20s flapper reference unless it's a specifically themed wedding. I'd do a fairly chunky silver and diamante bracelet, small diamante earrings and hair in a chignon with a small silver slide. I'd probably mix it up and get a largish patent clutch to add some texture contrast, and nude shoes (though these look like an almost perfect match, if you're into that and have the budget!)
posted by citands at 1:36 PM on June 15, 2012

Nthing sheer black stockings, seamed only if you have the patience to straighten them all night (or perhaps they can be glued in place?). For easy UK shipping you might choose among these (NSFW due to bare-ass models).

One reason long necklaces worked so well was that flappers' undergarments compressed their chests, creating a cylindrical torso effect. Your dress however appears intelligently modified to complement a modern, albeit perhaps minimized, bust. You are correct to leave the dress itself unadorned (except perhaps by bridal sash).

What time of day is the wedding?
posted by feral_goldfish at 2:00 PM on June 15, 2012

Nude fishnet (maybe something like this?) for your legs. I'm pale and bruise v. easily and nude fishnets allow some coverage without feeling as icky as hose. And then one fabulous piece of jewelry: dangled earrings. Or: I like the extra-long beaded (pearl?) necklace idea -- but wear it so the length is in the back.
posted by mochapickle at 2:54 PM on June 15, 2012 [1 favorite]

Love, love, love the idea of pearls with that dress! A simple ring, like this. Maybe a hair comb like this. Maybe some earrings? I may be in love a little bit with this clutch. Also... I totally picked all those things out separately so its entirely possible nothing matches, but I at least love all of it with that dress!

Also nthing the seamed black stockings. Adorable.
posted by Quincy at 3:39 PM on June 15, 2012

I would not go full flapper with that (lovely) dress unless thats the look of the whole wedding--it will stand out in the pictures as costumey and be distracting, which is not what you want in a bridesmaid outfit. Save the long necklaces and seamed stockings and fascinator for when you wear it again.

Dangly sparkly earrings, yes, maybe with an Art Deco feel. I would do either a chunky sparkly bracelet or a big ring or a sparkly hair comb, but not more than one of those, depending on your hairstyle and feelings about bracelets.
posted by The Elusive Architeuthis at 8:06 AM on June 16, 2012 [1 favorite]

You can get toe-less tights at M&S, in four shades.
I'd also avoid a necklace but have other nice jewellery - chunky bracelets sound nice since it's sleeveless. To avoid clashing with the potential sash it's probably easier to go with neutral-y accessories and jewellery than trying to choose a coordinating colour or match. I'd probably choose jewellery in only metal tones and uncoloured stones or pearls, and shoes/bag in black, nude tones, champagne, something that goes with practically everything.
posted by pocketfluff at 9:03 AM on June 16, 2012

For a wedding, I would wear a large flower in my hair, real or silk. Black silk pumps, sheer black stockings, with an optional seam. A chunky bracelet in rhinestone, transparent acrylic, or a cluster of pearl, rhinestone or silver bracelets.
posted by theora55 at 10:59 AM on June 16, 2012

How...funky are you? If you are sort of funky (or extremely funky!), I love the look of really opaque colored tights with the black dress. If there's going to be a purple sash, lavender tights and silver closed-toe shoes would be perfect and summery, plus festive and distinctive. Patterned stockings are also very trendy right now, and if you did a sheer black with a little pattern — dots? rose lace? — that would also be lovely. These looks are probably in the "Zooey Deschanel would approve of this outfit" camp, though, and might not be your jam. Nude tights tend to look a little old-ladyish to me, and toeless tights are just more trouble than they're worth in my experience. Toe wedgies all night? Mercy.

Skip a necklace, especially because the back of the dress is so distinctive — the clasp of a necklace kind of ruins the effect, and that back is crying out for an over-the-shoulder–style glamour shot. Hair up, and you can get a way with some serious volume if you want, particularly because the dress is so streamlined. (Vintage hair might look a little costume-y, depending on what shoes you pick.) Because you're skipping the necklace, go a little bananas on the earrings. Chandelier earrings are always gorgeous, but I think anything dangly and sparkly works. Also, as a connoisseur of cheap jewelry, I can assure you that a pair of drop earrings from Claire's (or whatever cruddy down-market jewelry store for teenagers you prefer) is JUST AS GOOD as a nice pair. Not in the long run/heirloom capacity, certainly, but for these purposes? Cheapo is your friend. They'll be sparklier, too. Get a stack of bangles or a few chunky bracelets to go with it.

Pick a few colors for the outfit, and then have each color recur in at least one other place in the outfit. So for example, black dress, lavender tights, purple sash, silver shoes. Silver/sparkle/rhinestone earrings. Purple, black, lavender, silver/rhinestoneish bracelets. (This works especially well because purple and lavender are cousins.) Any of those colors for the bag, or if you lucked out and found a bag that had, say, purple and silver, you've hit the jackpot. If you want something small in your hair, maybe a lavender flower? Everything in black looks sort of drab to me, but everything in silver looks like you're a Rockette. This mix-and-match makes everything coordinate, but you won't look like you're in a uniform or in a children's clothing catalog.

Have fun!
posted by Charity Garfein at 1:42 PM on June 16, 2012 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thank you, everyone--some really lovely ideas here that I wouldn't have thought of on my own!
posted by sundaydriver at 2:45 AM on June 17, 2012

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