Changing elegance

Not everyone has the cash on hand to buy themselves the ultimate matrimonial outfit. I was reminded of this truism while reading Genevieve Antoine Dariaux’s A Guide to Elegance, a book originally published in 1964. I have the 2003 edition, but it doesn’t seem to have changed much, being that Dariaux advocates the constant wearing of suits and warns against soiled kid gloves.

I wasn’t sure how to take the advice she gives brides-to-be whose dreams outstrip their budgets.

A bride-to-be never dreams of getting married in her everyday clothes, even for the most informal ceremony. If circumstances or her financial means do not permit her to wear the traditional white wedding gown, she wishes at least to appear in something new on that happy occasion. Her best solution in this case is to buy a smart suit and a very pretty hat, which can be of any style at all except for a flowered or white feather headdress with a veil.

Nothing strikes me as more pathetic than to see on Saturday morning at the doors of a church some young bride who could only afford half of a wedding ensemble, when it would have been much more charming and easier on her budget too if she had simply selected a normal city outfit. The same is true of the wedding party, who also have every interest in avoiding cho-chis and pastel shades which will be of no use to them later on.

It’s nice to know that the bridesmaids of yesteryear were as concerned about blah pastels as we are today–the most memorable part of 27 Dresses was how each and every bride told her maids that they’d be able to wear their hideous novelty dresses again–but Dariaux’s advice sounds rather condescending to me. While there’s nothing wrong with going with a nice “city outfit,” there’s a whole world of options in between the giant marshmallow gowns and the plain white suit. Especially now!

Simple IS elegant

For example, this midweight silk dress from the J. Crew Wedding Shop costs a mere $225, which is a steal where wedding wear is concerned. Pair it with a silk and cashmere wrap, some gold (or gold-like) filigree jewelry, and a pair of pretty white heels for a wonderfully elegant and put-together look.

9 Responses to “Changing elegance”

  1. Twistie says:

    I’m with you, NtB. There are plenty of options in between an opulant designer gown and a simple suit. Not only that, there are such options as borrowing or renting, and searching the sale racks that can allow a pennywise bride the look she wants for a fraction of the price.

    Oh, and while they do nothing for my complexion, there are a lot of women who look great in pastel shades. Forbidding them completely is just as bad as requiring them for every bridesmaid.

    Most of all, her pronouncement against feathered white hats makes me long to go out and get one just to wear for my next wedding. I’m contrary that way.

  2. Never teh Bride says:

    I’m curious to know just why she’s anti-feather, Twistie. Did she attend one too many weddings where the bride was topped off with a veil/clip combo that looked like a seagull had crashed the affair?

  3. Melissa B. says:

    I’m kind of confused about what “half of a wedding ensemble” looks like! I guess the standard wedding outfit included a lot more stuff back in 1964 than it does now. I’ve seen tons of brides who don’t wear a veil, or gloves, or a “bridal jacket,” and they’ve looked perfectly beautiful.

  4. Never teh Bride says:

    Maybe, Melissa B., half a wedding ensemble looks like this?

  5. Curious says:

    Where did you find that dress? It is gorgeous!

  6. Never teh Bride says:

    That’s from J Crew, Curious! My bad — I forgot to link it…

  7. sterlingspider says:

    If I can get my yoga arms back I may just buy that dress and marry *it*.


  8. zephyr sloan says:

    Truly elegant…where can I get it??!