Not sure what to wear to all of your summer invites? Whether it's a black tie wedding or a backyard barbecue, George Kotsiopoulos, co-host of E! Fashion Police, is here to crack the party dress codes for you.
With an extensive career in print and television, George has styled the likes of Julianne Moore, Heidi Klum, Anne Hathaway, Thandie Newton, and Milla Jovovich, so he knows a thing or two about fashion. As our Fashion
Men-tor this month, he gives us the scoop on what to wear to your next event, five things every woman should own, the best places to shop, and more.
What to wear to a black tie wedding:
Black tie weddings are tricky because you never want to upstage the bride. It's best to keep the embellishments and bold colors to a minimum. Go for a drapey goddess gown in a subdued shade reminiscent of a 1930s screen siren. Think of it like attending a fabulous red carpet film premiere but you are not the star. The star (aka the bride) can show up in the most exquisite couture gown because it's her movie, after all, but if a supporting character follows suit, you'll just look ridiculous and kind of delusional.
What to wear to a beach wedding:
Here's where you can have a little bit of fun with color. Try an extreme floral print cocktail dress or even a gown. Yes, a gown! This may seem formal but the print will make it much more casual. Since most beach weddings occur at sunset, you can add a little sparkle with your jewels and bag since the party will rage on into the night. Don't worry about your shoe choice and whether or not you'll be able to walk in the sand since there is usually a basket for your shoes and sometimes even flip-flops or slippers are provided for guests. I would just stick to something you can easily slip off.
What to wear to a backyard BBQ:
Head-to-toe white is super hot for summer, but definitely not for a BBQ. Sitting around outside is messy enough but then add food to the mix and you'll end up worrying about getting your ensemble dirty rather than enjoying yourself. The most obvious choice is a denim short since you have no idea what you'll be sitting on or where. You can't be sprawled out on a lawn in a body-con mini. Denim need not be solely indigo, so if you're feeling bold, opt for a pair in a bright color or even a neon. Play with your proportions so if you're shorts are skin tight, wear a loose top and vice versa. Since you'll be showing so much leg, keep it chic by not revealing too much on top and definitely wear a wedge or some type of flat sandal. Mud-covered spiked heels sinking in the lawn are not cute.
What to wear to a pool party:
I love pool parties because you kind of get to pack like you're going on a weekend trip. Even if you aren't planning on swimming, you need to have options just in case you might want to take a dip. My only rule when packing is every piece must work in multiple outfits. Lay out all your options and if all the colors work together, then you're good. Or make it easy and just bring Missoni which is kind of like Garanimals for the Capri set. Treat your swimsuit as a layering piece so it should work under a tank and shorts or like a bodysuit worn under a full skirt. A cover-up is key but this can be anything from a sheer poncho style to an oversize button up shirt or a light cotton/cashmere sweater or cardigan.
I don't care how old you are, you MUST shield your face from the sun, even if you are wearing sunblock, so don't forget a great straw hat in either a cuban style or the ubiquitous boho wide-brim 70s style. Sunglass trends are pretty much all over the place, so just pick a decade from 50s wayfarer, 60s round, 70s oversize wireframe, or 80s plastic aviators. Since most women don't look like Victoria's Secret models (and being a short guy myself), I understand the need for heels, just be sure to make it a wedge or a chunky heel.
5 items every woman should own this summer:
- A platform wedge in cork, wood, or rope because stilettos don't work with short-shorts or swimsuits.
- Any type of neon colored accessory will add a little bit of fun to even the most classic looks.
- Extreme floral printed anything from shoes to dresses to sunglasses, just don't wear them all at once.
- Crop tops but only to be worn with high-waisted bottoms to reveal a sliver of the upper abdomen. Too much belly is not chic and an exposed navel is a definite no-no.
- Anything peplum-ized, whether it's a dress, jacket, shirt, or tee. A peplum will emphasize your waist and give you curves if you don't have any.
Biggest summer style pet peeve:
Rubber flip-flops worn anywhere but the beach, pool, or yoga class.
Favorite places to shop for party pieces:
For the high-end, I like the Wilshire Boulevard trifecta of Barneys New York, Saks Fifth Avenue, and Neiman Marcus. If you can't find everything you need there then you have serious issues. I also like Brooks Brothers to get a leg up on the "Great Gatsby" trend that's surely heading our way (they did the majority of the costumes) and simply because they have something for everyone from the slim cuts in their collegiate line to the more fashiony pieces from Black Fleece. You can even score great things from the kids department like a "shrunken" seersucker boys blazer. I'm a pretty solid high/low kind of guy and feel like there's no reason for anything in between, so definitely hit Zara, H&M, and Forever 21 because sometimes it's just not necessary to spend a fortune on the trendiest of pieces. I also love JustFab.com for the chicest shoes and accessories that will only set you back $39.95 each!