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Winery weddings: Pretty but chilly, via V. Sattui Winery Weddings.
I'm knee-deep in weddings this year, and while I have the summertime ones covered, it's the fall/winter events I'm worried about. Specifically, I'm attending a wedding in Napa in a few weeks that promises to be "blazing hot" during the day and "freezing" at night. How do I dress for this type of weather schizophrenia?
Cold Feet in New York
Dear Cold Feet,
Tell me about it—weddings left and right. I'm going to have to start taking out loans to cover gifts and travel (not to mention the cost of putting appropriate wedding looks together).
While we the wedding guests frequently worry over the dressing standards of a given wedding—will it be extremely formal? Or, will we dress formally because that's what one does and, upon arriving, be welcomed by a father-of-the-bride in a Hawaiian shirt? It's not a relaxing or fun wedding when you find yourself more dressed up than the wedding party. And at times like this I suggest you just look for the bar.
We worry less over temperature—which is a mistake. These days it seems everyone who intends to have a clever or unique wedding is wedding at beaches or in barns; in converted loft spaces or at wineries in Napa. Indeed, these settings are charming and cool and different—they prove the couple in question is cooler than your average country clubber (or something). But, they are a crapshoot in terms of temperature and comfort. They are entirely at the whim of the weather—which, as we all know, is becoming less predictable by the day. Throw a drafty barn or a poorly-ventilated post-industrial space into the mix and you're freezing or sweating all night—no matter how charming you find ranunculus-filled mason jars or the many-tiered cupcake displays.
In your case—as you're traipsing around what will undoubtedly be an absolutely stunning winery in Napa (enjoying so much California wine (I'm so jealous))—I suggest you start with a fairly simple, fairly short cocktail dress. Something easy, a black or navy or taupe solid. For day you can go barelegged with a statement shoe in turquoise or tomato red.
Ask yourself: WWKMD? (What Would Kate Moss Do)
After the ceremony and the brunch and the pictures and all that crap, you should have a half a minute to pull yourself together before cocktails and the reception—hopefully. At that point you can add a pair of tights. Yes, you can go nude, or black, but why not try lace or some other patterning? You can also pop on a little sequined sweater or chic satin-lapeled blazer. Your dress is black or navy or taupe so your sweater or blazer can be anything you want it to be.
The tights you can stash in your bag (along with a silk scarf you can shrug yourself into if you get really cold). The jacket you can keep in the car or at the check or on the back of your chair until you need it.
Your date should be less concerned: Men have pants and shirts and ties and jackets to keep them from ever getting cold anywhere. But, if it does get that cold—suggest he bring a light merino or cashmere sweater or sweater vest that he can slip over the shirt and under the jacket—something slightly bold in ruby or hunter green. Likewise, a cropped khaki or gray trench worn open with the belt fastened at the back would do the trick and look fairly debonaire.
Lastly, white wine spritzers for day and tons of red wine once the sun goes. That should do the trick.
Got a style question for Frank? Leave it in the comments or email one in here. Then buckle your two-toned leather Moschino belts, folks, because it's going to be ? Something.
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