Rainy season ends, and all of a sudden, another downpour comes in – wedding invites! I always cringe when I receive one, as I find that weddings, especially the Vietnamese ones, are one of the most difficult to dress up for as there are so many rules, cultures, traditions and myths that one has to look out for.
To start, one is never supposed to wear white – whether this is at a Western wedding or a Vietnamese wedding. Western dress code standard dictates that you are not supposed to upstage the bride. In Asian traditions, white is also associated with funerals. If you really think that you look best in white, choose a simple off-white dress or a skirt – something which is dramatically different from what the bride will wear, but best to pick another colour.
By the same token, black is out as well, as this colour is usually associated with death or mourning. If the bride or the groom has Italian blood, then avoid purple also as this is considered to be an unlucky colour for weddings by Italian traditions. If you are going to a Chinese wedding, then even red should be avoided as this is generally the colour of the Chinese wedding gown.
What about other bright colours that denote happiness? Well, fashion experts will possibly tell you no. Apparently, loud or garish apparel and accessories is a surprisingly common method of wedding-crashing women use to upstage the bride, which might be taken as a desperate call for attention. This will leave you a subject of discussion for the whole night, if not in the years to come.
That leaves pastel colours the safest bet. Having said that, a pastel-coloured pantsuit (or any colour for that matter) is a big no-no, too. Dress in a style or shape that is a little refined, precious and sleek will be more appropriate.
And by sleek, I mean well-cut, elegant and not skimpy. A skimpy dress showing up all your assets on a 1:1 scale is another surefire way to upstage the bride, so please try to be considerate.
Other items of clothing to avoid: shorts, jeans, t-shirts and plastic shoes are just banned. Period. Not even for a beach casual wedding party. Unless the bride and the groom expressly agree for flip-flops to be seen, avoid footwear that’s too informal for a special occasion.
The same goes for all you guys out there. You think a tuxedo is safe? Wrong. Unless the dress code is black-tie, there is only one person on that day who is supposed to be in a penguin suit and that person is not you.
Now, you know what I mean?