Dress for weddings
Weddings are pretty much joyous occasions that bring people together the world over and join families. We are allowed to express joy in our dress.
What not to wear: jeans, tank tops, t-shirts, stretchy pants, cargo shorts, flip-flops and athletic clothing would still be a poor choice, unless specifically approved.
Unless in the bridal party where the bride may allow members of her party to wear white, lady guests are generally advised not to wear white or shades of white as this may compete with the bridal party.
Also appreciate the theme of the wedding, some weddings are easy and relaxed, others are formal affairs, yet others have cultural themes. Here in our home, Kenya for the ladies a stylish cut out kitenge, lovely dress or pant suits will never go wrong in our African weddings, yet others wear saris, our gents in a nice shirt and trouser and a suit if the event is formal will not err, formal shoes and good belt. Choose outfits that bring out the best in you and accentuate your best features.
I have a barb to pick with grown ladies who wear extremely skimpy outfits to weddings, weddings have people from different backgrounds, with even potential employers, older more conservative generation in attendance. The rule of sexy for ladies is ‘showing less is more’, you do not have to walk around in a wedding half nude detracting others from the celebration of the day. Rule of thumb for keeping it stylishy attractive and sexy, if you are in a mini then your top half should be covered. If you are in bare back, strapless, or ‘mgongo wazi’ ensemble as we call them locally in Kenya then let it be a long flowing dress or jumpsuit.. A sheer or crotchet scarf or bolero is optional to keep things modest depending on the mood or the weather of the wedding. I once attended a wedding in Karen in cold July and I could only sympathize with the ladies who were ‘freezing and shining’ without scarves or boleros.
Weddings are great occasions to show case stylish hats, creative hairstyles and accessories (that is earrings, shoes, hair pieces, glitter) for ladies and gents alike. They are also a great occasion for ladies to go all out in make up but they should choose colours that accentuate their features.
Basically, what I am try to say in so many words is let us steer away from the culture of turning up for weddings in jeans and tshirts unless off course it is the wedding’s theme. It is a family’s special day of great joy, let us put in some effort for joyous occasions in life; milestone events that are not celebrated everyday, if only for the simple reason of not spoiling the wedding’s photos.
Dress for funerals
Indeed as people are born, people will surely die.
Dressing for funerals is almost similar the world over, with black, navy and dark conservative colours being the preferred colours. However, one should be considerate of religious and cultural beliefs that may affect dress code in a funeral. For example the Hindu colour of mourning is white.
Dressing for funerals or mourning is simple, conservative. As usual for men, the dress code is pretty simple; nice trousers (not jeans), a collared and buttoned down shirt, belt and dress shoes are most acceptable. Depending on one’s role in the funeral a dark coloured suit and tie are acceptable. For ladies, keep off revealing, casual or celebratory ensembles during this sombre moments. Go easy on accessories if not keeping off them entirely. Also a head scarf may be expected of women in a funeral set up.
I am also aware of the Kenyan situation where we travel to shags (upcountry) to bury our dearly departed,in such cases comfortable shoes to scale the terrain are acceptable.
Having been to a few funerals in my beloved home county Kisii in my lifetime, from what I pick from my community, death is a transition and people turn out dressed in their best clothes to give off a warm send off to a loved one. So let us all be cognizant of the different set ups, cultural and religious norms and dress appropriately for the funerals of our dearly departed loved ones.
In parting, in this emotional focus on dressing, there are instances where people have stated in their wishes to have a gay and happy mood to celebrate their lives in their funerals and asking for bright colours or their favorite colour to be worn, in such instances the wishes of the dead may be met by donning bright colours or the departed’s favorite colour to a funeral.
Dress for other special occasions
Other special occasions in life may be milestone birthdays (30 years, 40 years, 50 years etc), birth of a child, milestone wedding anniversaries, graduations, engagements, baptisms, christenings, birth of children, first job, new job, first house, parties, promotions, family and school reunions, end of year parties, you name it etc. Such events sometimes have guidelines on dress code set by the event organizers as is the case with themed parties. The most important thing is to read the mood of the party, be aware of social, cultural and religious expectations in dress code if any, put into consideration your body type and physical features (accentuate the strong ones)and dress appropriately.This ends our dress focus on dress for special occasions.
Let us all turn out dressed to our nines or appropriately for those special occasions this weekend!
The writer of this article has over time developed a keen interest in fashion, presentation and image matters.