I’m looking for a cute long dress for my brother’s wedding, in which I’m going to be a bridesmaid. It’s a morning wedding, so it’s not super formal. I have issues with showing my arms, and I’m worried I won’t be able to find something light, cute, and appropriate for the occasion that I also feel comfortable in. Do you have any suggestions? —Nathalia, 17, Brazil
Congrats to your bro! You have quite a few different options for your slammin’ wedding outfit—there are all sorts of of three-quarter- and long-sleeved dresses that will look great at a morning wedding. Lighter, day-friendly colors are obvious, lovely choices for this occasion, but you can also choose something like this vintage-inspired lace dress or this foxy, frilly alternative.
If you can’t find the perfect long-sleeved dress, you can always go with a sleeveless dress and wear some sort of cover-up, like a bolero or a shawl, over it. Lace boleros in particular are not only pretty, but also thin enough that you can wear one if it’s warm out without sweating. Of course, there are also other types of boleros that could also make your outfit really cute, like these retro-style ones from Trashy Diva. And a sequined shawl like this can level up the fanciness of an otherwise plain ’n’ simple frock. If you want even more arm coverage, you could opt for a lace cardigan like this beaut. Eat some cake for me! —Marie
I’m about to go see Arcade Fire, and on their latest tour they’ve been asking the audience to show up in “formal attire or costume.” I want to wear something super rad, but I don’t know where to start! I want to wear a costume that is practical for dancing and just generally freaking out. —Kate, Minneapolis
First things first: Go to a thrift store. You might find a standout piece there that will serve as the inspiration for your whole look. I once found a GIANT white petticoat at a thrift shop, and it became the basis for a Marie Antoinette–themed photo shoot that I did with friends! Once I had that jumping-off point in place, the rest of the concept came together way more easily.
Let’s say you come across a shiny blue easy-to-dance-in ’80s dress like this one. I’d take one look at that gorgeous little number and start thinking of a couple of theme ideas…Disco Mermaid? Punk Rock Alien Girl From the Planet Zoing? For Disco Mermaid, I’d hit up a craft store and stock up on fake seaweed and plastic starfish and shells to make hair clips and necklaces with. Then I’d add bright, sparkly eye shadow and glitter fishnets. For Punk Rock Alien Queen, I’d wear a blue or green wig, spiked bracelets, blue lipstick, black fishnets, and a bad attitude. But whatever inspires you, have fun with it! —Marie
My grandmother passed down an old fox-fur coat to me several years ago. While I love the look of it, I feel conflicted about wearing real-fur clothing because of the majorly inhumane practices that go into it. I also don’t want the coat to go to waste. Part of me argues that, since the coat is a used gift, wearing it is OK, but I don’t want to seem like I’m endorsing fur farming. What do you think I should do? —Emma, Portland, OR
Fur real, I think it’s so great that you’re thinking about the issues that surround fur instead of just going, “Whoo, free fur coat!” and slingin’ it over your shoulders without a second thought. I know where you’re coming from: I, too, love the look and feel of fur, but I also love li’l beasts and don’t want to contribute to the inhumane fur industry.
My grandmother had a whole closetful of fur coats. As a child, I spent excessive amounts of time hiding in it and stroking the coats because I adored their softness and their aura of glamor. When my grandma passed away, she left me all her furs, because I had appreciated them so much as a kid…and I had no idea what to do with them! They fit me perfectly, but I felt like it was unacceptable to wear them in public, so they stayed locked in my closet. But I saw them in my closet every day, and one day, years later, I took one out and tried it on. Ahhh, it was magic—the coat was easily the warmest one I’d ever put on, and it still smelled like my grandmother’s perfume. I wore it out the door that day and started to wear it a lot more afterward, and even though people sometimes made negative comments about it (usually my friends—strangers never bothered me), I had solid reasons for wearing it that I can pass on to you, Emma.
Your reasoning in favor of wearing your grandmother’s coat is pretty much the same as mine was. The coat in question is a vintage fur. Your owning or wearing it isn’t contributing money to the industry that killed the animals whose pelts were used to make it decades ago. I think the fur industry is horribly cruel and that there is absolutely NO reason for new fur coats to be made. But I also agree with you that it would be wasteful to simply throw all vintage furs away. Your coat is a family heirloom, which gives it personal and sentimental value, and it’s beautiful and warm. You are not directly contributing to a demand for new fur by wearing an old fur coat, but on the off chance that someone does ask you where to buy a fur like it, you could direct them to websites that sell vintage fur, like Etsy and eBay, and explain that your coat is vintage, not new, and that vintage fur is the way to go. In short, I think it’s OK to be simultaneously permissive of vintage fur and anti–new fur!
If you choose to wear the coat, be prepared for the random person who just goes, “OMG YOU’RE WEARING FUR” before they know anything about you, your coat, or your reasons for wearing it. If you’re comfortable justifying your choice, then I say go for it. —Krista
It’s really cold where I live—most days, the temperature is around -15 degrees Celsius [5 degreed Fahrenheit]. A girl can wear jeans only so many days in a row—what are some other cool options that will keep me warm? —Kira, AB, Canada
First, look for fleece-lined tights and leggings like these, these, these, and these. Those are the numero uno necessary accessory (nec-cessory??) to showing off your gams in cold weather. You might also have to double up on tights! If you want even more warmth—and additional cuteness—you can try layering printed leg warmers over your tights, like these ones from Sock Dreams!
I’d also amass a small collection of cute coats, like this one with heart pockets and this cute printed one, if I lived in such a freezing clime. And scarves are an easy way to throw some color and/or adorability into your ensemble: I want every single one of these scarves from Yummy You!
Take a look at these bloggers’ cute cold weather outfits for some more inspiration:
Stay warm, my sweet! —Marie ♦