Winter weddings offer extra special opportunities that the busy summer season doesn’t: snowy romantic backdrops, a valid reason to serve mulled wine, residual holiday cheer, and probably a really good deal on your venue (yeah, we got you). But the chillier temperatures also bring a unique moment to take more liberties, sartorially speaking, because it’s layering season—or what we like to think of as the Most Wonderful Time of the Year (to put together an outfit).
“Layer to add a twist to your look and maybe leave the back detail, sleeves, or something else as a surprise,” says Parisian bridal designer Rime Arodaky, who essentially based her extremely chic “French girl gone rebel” Fall 2018 collection on layering. “You get two looks in one this way.” And we love the versatility.
Layering offers enhancements and solutions to your wedding-day ensemble, whether you’re looking for a more conservative option for the ceremony, you have a walk from your grand entrance from the car (or sleigh) to the front door, or there’s a drafty ventilation system in the castle you’ve booked for your big day. Or maybe you just want to bring the drama and glamour to your stroll down the aisle because there are so many chic layers to elevate your wedding-day look (or looks) to meet all types of style preferences. But, of course, it’s all in how you layer, especially after so much heart, soul, sweat, and probably tears have gone into finding your dream wedding dress. Here's how to figure out what to wear over your wedding dress in winter.
Finding the Right Layering Piece
Rule of thumb: Find a layering piece in the most flattering silhouette that complements and, most importantly, doesn’t distract from the main focus. For example, for a sleek and fitted wedding gown, Arodaky suggests a versatile cape—be it a long and dramatic cloak or a short and vintage-inspired capelet. The former can also work with a voluminous ballgown as long as it’s roomy enough to not disturb the lines of the dress underneath and the same with the latter if the cropped length hits the waistline at the right point.
Or, maybe bring a touch of rock ‘n' roll into the mix with a moto-jacket—a wedding is a festive occasion, after all. Arodaky suggests pairing the outerwear staple with a sleek, body-con dress, or if the jacket is cropped and boxy, layer it over a mini or tea-length dress with a ‘50s style skirt. A streamlined blazer is obviously perfection with a tailored jumpsuit or top and trousers set. But the menswear-inspired silhouette also gives a slightly subversive but still glam counterbalance to a lace boho-style gown too. A cropped faux fur wedding coat makes for a romantic option with a mermaid gown or slip dress. Arodaky also likes a plush bolero paired with a wide-leg jumpsuit for a bold winter wedding aesthetic.
Speaking of mixing textures — it is also an engaging element in the wedding-layering formula. Arodaky has some personal favorite (and animal-friendly) combinations. “Fake leather and lace pair perfectly, as it's a mix of strong and very delicate,” she says. “Sequins and silk chiffon is a combo of sheer and shiny. And embroidered, patterned tulle on sleek crepe delicately reveals the minimalism of the crepe. It’s all about bringing opposites together.”
Texture play also helps you skirt the question of whether or not to pair varying shades of white and ivory together and Arodaky has a pretty spectacular cheat: “Sequins, for example, are nice if it's a mix of cream, white, and transparent,” she says, about bridging the varying tones through embellishments. So think a sequin-covered dress with an off-white layer or vice versa.
Of course, mixing in non-white hues can also be part of the fun. For a more traditional look, Arodaky suggests metallics. “I love the Lurex shiny effect like gold, silver, and rose-gold mixed with white because it enhances the silhouette,” she says. “I also love a black bow or black detail on white; it's so modern.” If you’re more adventurous, feel free to bring in color. For instance, a pastel-hued moto or bomber jacket would add a fresh and playful touch to your wedding white—and, bonus, you could wear it again.
“A voluminous organza-printed or hand-painted coat with pastel colors would be amazing,” says Arodaky. “A blue jean jacket is always cute and effortless to break a traditional look. The best way to find the right color is to just feel beautiful in it.” In other words, you’ll know when you know.
Find a Good Tailor
Of course, as with any wedding dress process, tailoring is essential. So if you have a wedding coat or other outer layer, make sure you bring it along with your dress, shoes, and foundation garments, etc. “Definitely bring all pieces to the tailor in order to get a cohesive look,” Arodaky says. “I recommend keeping everything light because you do not want to bring heaviness to the silhouette.”
But remember, even though there are so many chic, modern, edgy, and cool layers to play with, don’t take your eye off the prize. “The point is to choose the layer according to your gown, not the other way around.” Right, right, right.