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Five Great Linen Pieces: Part 2, Some Weddings and a Funeral | Manolo for the Big Girl

Five Great Linen Pieces: Part 2, Some Weddings and a Funeral

Every year about this time I buy two dresses; one to wear to weddings, and another to wear to funerals. Southerners love weddings but we LIVE for funerals, and we tend to go to both with startling frequency, especially in the summer which is when all the best people kick off. At a recent memorial service of a wonderful and deeply missed lady, not only did all the friends and family attend, but so did her husband’s dentist, barber and maybe the daughter’s former pediatrician. Plus I got to wear a mantilla. That doesn’t really have anything to do with the story, but it’s not often an Episcopalian girl gets to wear a mantilla, so I just thought I’d share.

Between making deviled eggs and writing condolence letters –on proper stationery, if you please–  if you’re going to a funeral, or desperately wondering WHAT you’re going to do now that Wedgwood has discontinued the deviled egg plate you’ve been giving six times a year since 1997 (what? We’re an egg-loving people.) if you’re going to a wedding, the one thing you DON’T have time to do is worry about what you’re going to wear.

Linen Sheath Dresses

(click image for link)

Yes, it’s the same dress.  Weddings — like funerals– are about being appropriately dressed, so while I understand wanting to look capital F Fabulous all the time, when it comes to events that are typically religious ceremonies, it’s better to be understated.  Oh, a word to the wise: Linen is not an evening fabric so if you’ve got a wedding after dark, unless you plan on wearing some serious Liz Taylor jewels, you might be better served by finding another jacket.

How to wear it:

–pearls, of course. And gloves, if you’re That Kinda Girl (probably not for a funeral, unless you’re a Known Entity and loved for it)

–flawless, perfectly polished understated make-up.

–lovely shawl or delicate cardigan. For the sake of photos AND propriety, keep your upper arms covered.

–big brooch, or cameos. I love cameos and people never wear them anymore.

–with fabric shoes. I might be the last person on earth who cares about this, but weddings and funerals call for fabric shoes. Plain leather, no matter how fancy or expensive, isn’t formal enough. If you’re going to be outside, think twice before you wear stilettos lest you sink into that lovely sacred ground.

10 Responses to “Five Great Linen Pieces: Part 2, Some Weddings and a Funeral”

  1. Frances April 13, 2010 at 1:11 pm #

    This is so lovely! Most of the weddings I attend are Asian Catholic weddings, and I wouldn’t really get a chance to wear an outfit like that. I love the look of Western wedding daywear, it’s so fresh and pretty, but for evening, I love my Indian outfits. Bring on the zardosi!

  2. Plumcake April 13, 2010 at 1:35 pm #

    Frances: I love, LOVE Indian weddings. LOVE. I am so jealous of anyone who actually gets to wear the clothes (and all that beautiful gold!)

  3. Frances April 13, 2010 at 1:51 pm #

    Plummie, believe me when I say you could rock Indian wedding outfits. It would look tremendously ‘couture’ on you (I suspect most stuff does, you lucky toad!) but you would look sublime. The best part about those outfits is that they are made for curves and dramatic makeup. And romantic assignations on balconies. Have you seen the way zardosi shimmers in moonlight? Be still, my heart.

    I love Western wedding daywear but I’m always disappointed by what the guests wear to the reception dinner. Why?? It could be so beautiful and chic and yet most people seem to opt for a dull, black dress. Without statement jewellery! Jaysus wept.

  4. Mimi Stratton April 13, 2010 at 7:35 pm #

    This is off-topic, sorry! I don’t do linen, ever. But god help you if you have to return anything to Torrid. Or anywhere else that requires the heinous “Return Authorization #”, which more and more vendors seem to do. First, you have to look up the customer service number on the website. Then you have to give them the order #, the order date, the item #, and description of item. Then you wait on the phone for 20 minutes while they go back and forth, complaining that the computer seems *slow* today. Then you have to go to YOUR computer and print out the bloody postage return label. Then put that in the package and drive to the damn UPS or FedEx office to drop off the package. I think I just won’t buy anything, ever again!

  5. theDiva April 13, 2010 at 8:32 pm #

    “I might be the last person on earth who cares about this”

    You’re not! Fabric shoes are definitely a must for formal occasions.

    My darling younger brother is getting married on the Friday evening of Memorial Day weekend. I should get that dress, in red, to wear. Could I get away with silver peau de soie pumps and a silver wrap? Hm.

  6. Lisa April 13, 2010 at 9:12 pm #

    I had no idea that fabric shoes were more formal than leather. I was clearly not raised properly.

  7. Poppy Buxom April 13, 2010 at 10:21 pm #

    Bless you for insisting on formal shoes. It may only be a stopgap as our so-called civilization gallops towards Armageddon, but it was lovely, anyway.

  8. Rubiatonta April 13, 2010 at 10:30 pm #

    Plumcake, Episcopalian girls may not get much chance to wear mantillas these days, but my mom work the heck out of them when I was a kid. In fact, she gave me her favorite black one not too long ago. Lord, I love vintage lace!

    And I’ve been over noodling around on the Spiegel site — lots of yummy linen to take with me to Spain when I head over for my annual summer stay. (Nothing else, and I mean nothing, is cool enough for Madrid in July!) Can’t wait to see your pick for tomorrow.

  9. blackberry April 17, 2010 at 1:57 pm #

    Ditto Lisa’s comment. Hadn’t a clue.

  10. Laurel May 27, 2010 at 5:51 pm #

    I was raised in California, and do faintly recall a friend of mine telling me I couldn’t wear leather shoes to prom because it wasn’t right with a formal dress, but it never would have occurred to me that this rule also applied to weddings and funerals. I am a bit sheepish but mostly fascinated to learn these rules that are all so foreign to me.

    Of course, most weddings I’ve been to were extremely informal and not religious at all. I’m not sure if the brides were wearing fabric shoes, much less the guests.