Wedding attire: Whether a guest — or the bride or groom, here are some tips for looking your best this summer

I was taught that dressing up for a wedding demonstrates one’s respect for the ceremony that a committed couple is taking very seriously.

One of my biggest surprises, when moving to Boise from Seattle, was how many people here wear jeans to weddings. I’ve been told, “It’s an Idaho thing,” which I now completely understand, but ... here’s my personal opinion, speaking particularly to the men: If you wear jeans every day, think of this as a chance to step up your game a little.

Surely you have some black slacks or khakis in your closet that you’d like to get more use out of? In general, whether it’s a wedding or graduation party or any kind of formal ceremony, there are only two times when it’s truly acceptable to wear jeans: 1) It’s a Western-themed or similarly themed wedding or ceremony, or 2) The groom or other guests of honor are wearing jeans. If you’re not sure whether jeans are appropriate, just ask the bride and/or groom.

One big trend in summer fashion right now is floral dresses, for both the bridal party and wedding guests.

It might have something to do with the current ’70s trend, but flowers are everywhere. Rosemary Lindstrom of Bridal by Marie, a full-service bridal boutique at 123 E. Aikens St. in Eagle (, has multiple floral bridesmaid dresses in her shop, both short and maxi, and just looking at those cheery prints brought a smile to my face. That’s the power of flowers.

A maxi dress is also an easy, comfortable and elegant choice. Dressed up with heels or dressed down with sandals, a floral maxi is always a stand-out feminine style and simple to coordinate around.

It’s so colorful, you really don’t need much in the way of jewelry or accessories. Just remember to balance wilder prints with simpler jewelry.

If you want to go the route of pants or shorts, there are some great choices hitting the stores for summer. Long, loose palazzo pants are very trendy this season and can add brightness and femininity to your outfit, while also being ridiculously comfortable.

Find a patterned pair in your favorite colors. Add a solid color blouse or tank top. If you choose to wear shorts (and you might want to check in with the bride and groom here, too, as far as appropriateness), avoid denim and opt for dressier choices such as cotton, rayon or linen in solid colors, prints, floral patterns, etc. Floral print shorts, for example, are cute with a solid-colored top.

Not sure what shoes to wear with your look? Gladiator sandals and platform shoes are trending right now. Take a tip from the French, and plan your footwear in conjunction with the hemline of your shorts, skirt or dress. If it’s above your knees, wear flat shoes. Below the knees, wear platforms, wedges or pumps.

And for the bride & groom

What’s the No. 1 trend in wedding gowns this season? “Lace, lace and more lace,” says Lindstrom, who has been in the wedding business for more than 15 years. Thanks to Kate Middleton, brides are turning to traditional shapes and textures and choosing lacy gowns. Lace is feminine and traditional, to be sure, but some gowns also utilize lace paneling to create peek-a-boo glimpses of skin on arms, backs and even waists and décolleté.

Sheer and illusion panels also create see-through accents that hint at modesty, while simultaneously drawing attention to what’s underneath. Long, sheer sleeves are popular, but also trending are sheer illusion panels over an open back or delicately covering a plunging neckline.

Butterflies, ruffles, bows, flowers and beading — all are part of a growing trend to add 3-D effects to your gown. These additions can be costly but have a stunning impact. Imagine a glowing white gown covered in tulle, with delicate ivory butterflies playfully flitting among the ruffles. This trend is definitely for the bride who wants to make a bold statement.

Pastels are another hot trend, with blush pink as the most popular. “You very rarely see a true-white gown these days,” Lindstrom says. “It’s too stark and can photograph harshly. Most gowns are a version of white, with gold, pink, blue, gray or yellow undertones.” You should look for the color that best suits your skin tone.

And many people don’t know that until the 1840s, blue was the most popular wedding dress color. With the popularity of the recently released “Cinderella” movie, pastel blue may be poised for a major bridal comeback in the years ahead.

According to Lindstrom, another major trend is the LWD — Little White Dress. Some brides are purchasing a matching dress to their bridesmaids, except in white, for the rehearsal dinner, reception, honeymoon photos and any other occasion where she wants to be comfortable, but still stand out as “The Bride.”

White dresses are trending for summer now in non-wedding fashion, too, so it’s easy to find options all over town.

Some other trends

Florals and watercolors: Playing off the current obsession with all things ’70s, free-spirited brides are embracing watercolor, patchwork and floral gowns, often with bell sleeves and tie-up accents. Channel the Woodstock vibe further with bare feet or gladiator sandals, and put your bridesmaids in mix-matched maxi dresses.

Alternative to the dress: Many brides are opting out of the traditional gown altogether. White sleeveless jumpsuits, tailored white or pastel tuxes, rompers, shorts and even crop-tops with a long skirt have been popular. Pants, shorts and jumpsuits can sometimes be visually more masculine, so if you want to keep a more feminine look, opt for soft touches like lace edging, ruffles and beading.

Off-shoulder: Shoulders are definitely the body part du jour for 2015. Last season’s midriff-baring styles are still popular, but less so in wedding fashion. Strapless gowns are a stunning and traditional way to show shoulder, while fall-off-the-shoulder sleeves are gaining popularity.

Underneath: I asked Lindstrom what the most common trend was in wedding fashion overall. Her response, surprisingly, was “cowgirl boots.” Whether or not a bride is opting for a country or Western-themed wedding, chances are she’s wearing cowgirl boots under her dress. Now, that’s an Idaho thing.

And finally: Whatever your personal style, Lindstrom cautions brides not to have their hearts too set on a particular style or dress before trying on gowns.

Different body types find some dresses more flattering than others, and it’s not always what you may expect. Be open to trying gown styles that your wedding stylist recommends; she knows body types and what works with a variety of figures.

“I’ve seen so many brides say, ‘No, I’m not sure that’s my style,’ then come out of the dressing room and burst into tears when they see how stunning they look in a particular fit of gown I’ve urged them to consider,” Lindstrom says. “Finding a wedding dress is an emotional experience to begin with, but even more so when that moment hits you, and you know it’s The One. That’s my favorite part.”

Whether you are the bride, the groom or a wedding guest, it can be best to err on the side of traditional and then add in your own unique individual touches. The result will be both timeless and personal, and you’ll cherish the memories — and those photos — for years to come.

Email Tanya your ideas and questions for Treasure at Visit her blog at for more Treasure Valley shopping news.