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Scarlet lady - wearing red as a wedding guest

There are certain super-scary urban legends you hear about weddings. Y'know the ones: "Bride warns guests not to wear yellow"; or "Bride asks guests for contribution to cost". Then there are the kind of unspoken faux pas that we all know not to do: wear white, ivory or cream; get falling-down drunk; flirt with the father of the bride (or of the groom, or the newly engaged best man). And then? There are slightly wobbly, uncertain guidelines. Is it okay to go sleeveless in a church? Can you wear a strapless dress to a chapel ceremony? Is it acceptable to be the lady in red?

In short: probably not (invest in a jacket or shrug - you can always lose it later on in the night); definitely not (same as, or just layer a sheer cami over it) and yes - but this a path best trodden carefully.

Think flirty, not full-on

The myth of the red-dress woman is based around that dress being a very obvious outward display of her sexuality. A kind of sartorial "hello, boys", for want of a less simplistic comparison. The flash of red from your dress may immediately result in an "oh, no she didn't!" from the bridal party (bridesmaids, mother of the bride, close female family), but a glimpse of you in your fun, flirty and most definitely not super-sexy dress will quickly assuage any worries they may have! You're going for Kate Bosworth at a festival, not Sofia Vergara on a red carpet.

Consider your cleavage

For some, this is a big consideration; for others, not so much. But wherever you sit on the cleavage scale, it's worth toning it way down if you want to turn up to a friend's / acquaintance's / family member's wedding in red and get away with it. Anything too risqué will draw more attention than the shade is doing on its own, and turn your sweet, flirty, cocktail dress into a desperate cry for attention. (And nobody wants to be that girl.) If you have to ask, "is this too much?", it probably is.

If in doubt, go for print

If pure red fabric is loud, attention-grabbing and a little out-there, print is its friendlier, more amicable little sister. I mean, we get it: you look good in red. It makes you feel confident and vibrant - and it looks great with your hair! So why not tone your love of the color down just a little and go for a print with red in it? That way you're wearing the color you love (and feeling great doing it!) but toning down the vibrancy just a few notches.

Ultimately, though, this wedding isn't about you! It's about the bride and groom coming together with their nearest and dearest to celebrate a lifelong commitment to one another. If you're having second thoughts about your red dress, just go with something else - there are 364 other days in the year for you to wear your favorite color - without risking offending anyone.


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