Editor’s letter: Wedding wardrobe blues

We didnʼt make the Best Dressed list, but the bride was magnificent.

Newlyweds Denise and DanThe first of my three children to get married, Dan (32) has always been a conservative kind of guy. Still, I was a bit surprised when he decided to wear a khaki-colored lightweight wool gab suit to his wedding on a beach in Costa Rica. It was purchased (but never worn; it was the “get one free’ in a BOGO…) at Men’s Wearhouse last spring and, ever the pragmatist, Dan saw no point in buying a new suit when this one was literally good as new. (He was determined to wear a suit to his wedding despite the fact that his bride requested casual, probably not the best way to kick off a lifetime of marital accord…) Mike, his older brother and best man, was planning to wear a white linen shirt and white linen pants (purchased years ago, probably at a Salvation Army store; a wilderness trainer by profession, Mike is not that into clothes…). My husband (father of the groom, a CPA who these days eschews suits and ties) would wear a Tommy Bahama island-printed washed silk shirt and tan linen pants, both recently purchased for the occasion at DXL. (I must say here that I’m a big fan of both Men’s Wearhouse and DXL: the service and assortments are exceptional and I can generally get in and out in minutes!)

As for me, I found what I thought was the perfect dress: a bright red sexy knit with an uneven hemline, very appropriate for an Argentine tango. (So what if this was Costa Rica and not Argentina: how different could they be?)

The first sign of trouble was at the airport in San Jose. I had packed in each of our suitcases a few bottles of a particular wine that the bride had requested we bring with us for a wedding toast: a sparkling Moscato d’Asti from Italy that’s always been Danny’s favorite and that she was unable to find in Costa Rica. Wrapping the bottles carefully in layers of T-shirts, I assumed they’d be well protected. But at the baggage claim in San Jose, I opened my suitcase to discover that everything inside was a bit damp. Feeling around, I realized that some of the items were not damp but sopping wet; what’s more, there was broken glass everywhere. (Lesson to self: Never pack sparkling wine on an airplane flight…)

Arriving an hour or so later at our beautiful resort hotel on the majestic Pacific Ocean, who could get upset about a little spilt wine? But upon unpacking, I noticed that the red dye from my new dress was now all over the white linen shirt and pants that Mike had asked me to put in my suitcase, since he travels with only a backpack. In other words, his white linen outfit was now spotted with pink and my sexy red dress smelled very much like a brothel. But surely there would be dry cleaning service at the resort? Alas, there wasn’t. (Nor was there a hair salon, but that’s another story…)

In the end, it all worked out fine, especially for the men. Dan looked handsome in his khaki suit pants (it was too hot for the jacket), lavender shirt and purple tie; Mike looked cool in his almost-white linen shirt and pants. (I had managed to scrub out most of the pink stains and Mike, ever the optimist, thought they added character…) Terry looked perfectly appropriate (if a bit tourist-y) in his Tommy Bahama blue floral shirt (although the post-wedding Facebook comments told a different story: “Never take fashion advice from a man in a Hawaiian shirt,” wrote one friend. “Doesn’t he know someone in the fashion business?” pleaded another…).

As for me, the champagne-scented tango dress was not going to make it so I ended up wearing a boldly printed beach schmatta, a cover-up intended for over a swimsuit. No it wasn’t great, but it matched my frizzy beach hair and bottom line, the joy and love radiating from the newly married bride and groom created a glowing beauty all its own.

Karen signature

Do you have a great wedding wardrobe disaster story? Read a couple more by MR’s fashion director William Buckley and our associate publisher Michelle Brown here and comment to add your own.

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