Ask A Stylist: Summer Weddings, Backless Dresses, and the Canadian Tuxedo


Sometimes, we all just need a little expert advice. When it comes to our fashion queries and style woes, getting a little insight from someone who dresses people for a living is exactly the ticket, and luckily for us, our Spark stylist, Casey, is always willing to offer a little help. We asked you what you’d want to ask Casey, then got her thoughts on three of your most burning summer style questions.

Your question: “What should I wear to a summer wedding? Are white dresses allowed?”

Casey’s answer: “These days, it seems like so many traditional wedding rules are bending, if not being done away with all together. While it’s great that couples now feel free to express their identity during their big day, this new-found freedom can muddy the already murky waters of wedding guest dressing. Don't go down with the ship – if you keep a few details in mind, you can still find a clear path to outfit success.

My number one tip to ensure you will always be appropriately attired is to pay attention to the location. The wedding venue is the main indicator of what you should wear, so always tailor your outfit to suit the venue. Is the wedding being held at the Fort Garry Hotel or in the couple’s backyard? On the rooftop of the Winnipeg Art Gallery or on the water at Grand Beach?

By paying attention to this major detail you can get a sense of the occasion, which will inform whether you wear a mid-length body-con dress or a flowing off-the-shoulder number. 

The next tip is to choose your accessories wisely. The right accessories can elevate a dress for a more formal occasion or dress it down for a casual wedding. Let’s say you start with a simple wrap dress; adding statement earrings, strappy heels, and a sleek clutch will be more formal, while mule sandals, delicate necklaces, and a basket handbag will carry the same dress to a more casual location.

Now this is a pro tip – believe it or not, dresses aren't the only options anymore. If you are adventurous, a flowing jumpsuit may be appropriate for a more casual atmosphere, while wide-leg dress pants and a statement top can be dressed up for any cocktail-hour affair. Just make sure your look is polished and put together to match the weight of the occasion.

One final tip: Even though it’s now kosher for bridesmaids to wear white, that doesn't mean you should. Some things never change.”

Your question: “How do you wear denim-on-denim without looking like a cowboy?”


Casey’s answer: The Canadian tuxedo: this look is a classic, and in the past few years, it has been enjoying a much-deserved resurgence. Right now we’re seeing the look on it-girls not just from up north, but around the globe.

When done wrong, you can end up looking like an extra from Mary Kate and Ashley’s 1994 movie, “How the West was Fun,” but done right, it’s the perfect kind of laid-back cool and far more versatile than you might think. Keep a few things in mind and the look will feel fresh and modern, escaping cowboy territory all together.

Tip 1: The first rule of thumb is to keep the top portion of your outfit a lighter denim than the bottom portion. This will break up the outfit slightly, keeping you from looking too ‘matchy-matchy’.

Tip 2: If wearing a denim shirt, always tuck the front into your jeans to show off your shape. Extra points for high-waisted jeans.

Tip 3: Keep the accessories simple; double-denim is already a big statement, so you don't want to overwhelm the outfit.

Tip 4: Select your footwear with care. Because denim-on-denim is such a clean pallet, your shoes will really pop. Have some fun with this! Wear shoes you wouldn't expect, like an architectural boot or a heel with a pop of colour.

Tip 5: Remember skinny jeans are classic, but try switching it up with a denim skirt or wide-leg jeans for a more playful ‘70s feel. Or for the more adventurous, white, high-waisted, wide-legged cropped jeans are really having a moment.

Keep these tips in mind and you’ll be right on-trend – not to mention patriotic!

Your question: “What’s the best bra for backless dresses?”

Casey’s answer: “When so many summer outfits are either are backless, strapless, have cut-outs, or are some combination of all three, there are a few “tools” every woman should have in her arsenal. Hudson's Bay, La Senza, and Diva Lingerie have whole sections devoted to sneaky underpinnings. They all carry a myriad of styles of stick-on bras, bra strap converters, and nipple covers, all of which do a great job of offering support without ruining the lines of your outfit. These are a great investment as they can be used again and again under multiple outfits to create the look you want.

If you are looking for a more permanent way to add support to a favourite backless dress and are handy with a needle and thread, another trick is to sew an inexpensive bra into the interior of the dress. You can cut off the straps of the bra, leaving just the cups. This may take a bit of trial and error to find the right position, and will work best with more structured dresses.

All of this being said, in my experience the best solution for any undergarment woes is plain old medical tape. Tape gives you the freedom to cover and create support exactly wear you need it, helping you feel secure even in the trickiest of summer outfits. I find it to be the most versatile option; it
stretches and moves with your body in ways most bras just can’t. It can even be combined with any stick-on bra to add more security on a hot summer day.

You can find medical tape at London Drugs or Walmart, and don't worry – it’s kind to your skin, as it is medical grade. I guarantee you that under most celeb’s red carpet gowns, there is a criss-cross of medical tape keeping things “in place.” It really is a stylist’s (and stylish woman's) secret weapon.

Big thanks to Casey for sharing her advice! Check out more Ask A Stylist posts here, here, and here, and hit us up on Instagram or Twitter with any questions you want us to ask Casey.

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