Over the last year, the bridal scene received a long-overdue shake-up as non-conventional ceremonies informed new fashion trends and slashed wedding budgets demanded investment pieces that could work double duty. Additionally, as couples are becoming more mindful, they want a more impactful approach to everything that they do, including their wedding day.
“The new way of doing bridal is such a breath of fresh air,” admit Christina Wettstein and Kimberly Marcoux, co-founders of Melange de Blanc, a bridal market pop-up in Palm Beach, Fla. “There are really no rules anymore in any category of bridal and even accessories are now considered ‘bridal and beyond.’"
If you can wear it again—whether it's a dress, a jacket, a pant, a crop top—you can make your wedding outfit experience that much more valuable.
New industry norms are calling for wedding day looks that are relevant, mindful, and, perhaps most importantly, financially friendly by way of versatility. “When you think about clothing as heirlooms or investment pieces, nothing will ever fit you as well as your wedding ensemble,” says Wettstein. “If you can wear it again—whether it's a dress, a jacket, a pant, a crop top—you can make your wedding outfit experience that much more valuable.”
In years past brides would invest in an incredibly expensive gown from a popular fashion house and would maybe even consider buying a second dress, but now Wettstein says it's really about falling in love with what really defines you as a bride. “We're loving celebrating the individual's aesthetic!”
If you’re considering a more traditional gown, consider giving it a new life after your wedding by getting it tailored to a tea-length or midi or dying it in a fun new color for events down the road.
Looking ahead, the only rules this season are that there are no rules, and with that in mind, we’ve hand-picked a few looks that will have you saying yes to the dress (or jumpsuit, or separates) time and time again.
Below, take in some "bridal and beyond" inspiration from these designer wedding looks, some created with re-wearing in mind and others just too cool not to wear again!
Varca Bridal Sheena’s Party Dress
From ball gowns with leather piping to sequin jumpsuits with matching feathered jackets, Varca designs are exclusively made-to-measure for the bride who is unafraid to be bold. Inspired by “maximum movement and sparkle,” Sheena’s Party Dress was originally created as a wedding look for (and named after!) one of designer Sarah Varca’s best friends.
This beaded fringe party look is now a part of the brand’s permanent collection. Chevroned layers of beaded fringe dance over sequined lace topped off with a Swarovski crystal-studded neckline and armholes making this the “party dress to end all party dresses.” The designer shares, “For a wedding, I would style it with a long full veil, and for any other occasion just simple heels. It's perfect for New Year's, Vegas, 20s themed parties (there will hopefully be a lot of these in the near future!), and any event with good lighting and a dance floor!”
Scorcesa Clara Top & Jasmine Trousers
Driven by the desires of the non-traditional bride, vibrant style and exquisite tailoring are mainstays in Scorcesa’s ready-to-wear bridal collections. The Clara top and Jasmine trousers are no exception, and this power couple provides bold brides with a one-two punch investment. Outside of the wedding space, these pieces can shine together as an edgy evening look or separately–mixed and matched with other items in your closet for a variety of occasions.
“The Clara top can be paired with a pencil skirt or any tailored trousers that you may already own,” says Scorcesa founder and designer Charles C. Dieujuste. “Be bold! If you are the kind of gal that loves to accessorize, add your favorite statement earrings and some bracelets to complete the look.”
Galvan London Cropped Florence Dress
Designed by women for women, Galvan London was launched with the mission to fulfill the need for a new kind of occasion wear. With clean, geometric lines and delicate details, the Florence is a slip dress that exudes modern sophistication. Glossy satin and sheer silk organza, create a long and liquidy silhouette that is peaked by a halter neckline and slithers down to an open back. The bias-cut satin skims gracefully over curves, creating an effect that is sensual without being overtly sexy.
“Presented during this time of simplified yet heartfelt celebrations, the notion of less is more has never rung truer, stripping away layers and excess and putting the bride herself at the center of attention,” says Anna-Christin Haas, Galvan co-founder and creative director. “The Cropped Florence Dress is a less formal, mid-calf length dress that is perfect for cocktails and daytime events.” Post-wedding, the Florence can easily be worn throughout the summer with simple flats.
Nicole Miller Regina Gown
As a leading brand in the world of contemporary womenswear lines, Nicole Miller is well attuned to combining occasion-ready “wow” with everyday wearability. Crafted in 100 percent silk, the Regina gown defines modern elegance with a V-neckline and delicate lace trim details. This is a piece that keeps giving if you’re open to the possibilities that a little extra tailoring can offer after your wedding day.
Design Miller offers, “To extend the life of this gown after your wedding I’d suggest bringing it to a professional and having it shortened. This would make for a great midi or knee-length dress. I would also recommend getting it professionally dyed to a new, fresh color unless you are in need of a white dress for your next event.”
Elaya Vaughn Belvoir Dress
This whimsical tea-length dress is part of the Rebellious Royals collection from Elaya Vaughn, a DC-based brand designed by Project Runway all-star Kate Pankoke. The Belvoir dress’s sheer beaded bodice adds an effortless element to the tiered tulle skirt and sleeves. And because it isn't floor-length and doesn’t have a traditional silhouette, this versatile option works exceptionally well for non-bridal occasions: You won't immediately think "wedding" when you look at it styled with a few street-friendly pieces!
“I can easily see a bride wearing this dress for their birthday cocktail party, a New Year's event, or even an artsy networking event like a gallery opening,” reveals Pankoke. “To counter the sweetness of this look, I would keep the accessories a little edgy like some combat boots and a leather jacket draped over the shoulders.”
Miranda Bennett Wrap Top & Palazzo Pants
The pairing of the wrap top and the Palazzo pants in silk charmeuse is a favorite wedding day look from the all-woman team at Miranda Bennett Studio because it could read as a dress or as a jumpsuit. Plus, both pieces are interchangeable with others for the wedding weekend and beyond. The classic wrap top with extra-long sashes has endless styling options with various levels of coverage to suit all body types. The high-waisted pants are made from 100 percent silk charmeuse, a satin-faced fabric that feels luxuriously airy and drapes beautifully, giving the illusion of a skirt with the freedom of pants.
“This [top] is a favorite for a night out, a daytime jaunt through the farmer's market, or a day at the office,” says Bennett. “I love pairing the Palazzo pant with our organic cotton bubble gauze Carlisle top, a bodysuit, or a cropped tee and sandals for day. For a night out, I would pair it with our silk organza Carlisle top, a slip top with our Bardi duster, or a boxy blazer and a heel or refined wedge."
Rebecca Vallance Florent Midi
Rebecca Vallance has quickly become one of Australia’s most notable fashion brands and has been seen on stylish women including Kerry Washington, Priyanka Chopra, Chrissy Teigen, and more. Off the heels of a successful bridal debut in 2020, her second collection is designed for a variety of wedding milestone moments; from the bridal shower to reception to honeymoon and beyond. The stunning viscose satin fabrication of the Florent midi dress easily makes this particular piece an especially wearable item in anyone’s wardrobe.
“This classic shape suits all ages and body shapes. The high neck and dramatic sleeve make it versatile for a christening, date night, or any event that you want to bring your elegant self,” says founder and creative director Rebecca Vallance. “I would team it with a classic stiletto and some statement jewelry.” The Florent midi will be available in the brand’s upcoming August release.