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In Vogue

In Vogue
Crystal orchid clip; WHITE by Vera Wang collection at David's Bridal (Photo courtesy of Vera Wang and David's Bridal)

It's a given that the bride and groom are going to look smashing on their wedding day.  It's their day, after all.  But considering how special the other people in their wedding are, it only makes sense that they look their best, too.

 With today's versatile fashion trends, it's never been easier. Gone are the puffy pink dresses and ugly rental tuxedos that were once standard wedding party attire. In fact, according to the experts, stuffy matching bridesmaid dresses and standard tuxes are out — and personal style is in.

Groomsmen fashions, for example, have moved far away from the traditional black-tie wedding style. "I'm seeing tons of grooms putting a personal twist into what their groomsmen are wearing," said Ed Libby, celebrity event designer and owner of Ed Libby & Co. in Los Angeles and New York, known to many as a wedding style and trend guru. "I'm seeing lots of hip suits, khakis, cool jackets and plaid ties." Custom suits in tan, or café colored jackets with white shirts and linen pants also make groomsmen look sharp and chic. "They look like individuals, not the waiters," Libby said.

These days, even rental tuxes are considered beyond boring. New tuxedo fashions, like the Black by Vera Wang collection created in partnership with Men's Wearhouse, offer modern, sophisticated designs in black and gray with shorter jackets and narrower lapels.

Bridesmaids have it better than ever, too. "Brides today are increasingly sensitive to the tastes, feelings and finances of their attendants," said designer Vera Wang in an email interview. She emphasized that, whatever the style of the dress, it should flatter women equally. "If everyone cannot wear the same silhouette, select different variations on a theme for each attendant," she suggested, such as dresses in different colors but in the same style, or all in the same skirt with different tops.
But despite these new trends, tradition is still very much alive.

"Even the most understated ceremony involves a certain respect for ritual and pageantry," Wang said. "No one plays more of a significant role than the bride's attendants." From the flower girl to the maid of honor, Wang noted, these honored participants provide a prelude to the much-anticipated arrival of the bride.

In terms of color, Libby has noted a trend toward softer muted colors, especially at trend-setting red carpet events. "We saw a lot of nudes, peaches and ivories at the Golden Globes," he said, pointing out that, while those colors won't go well with a dark tuxedo, "they're gorgeous with café-colored jackets and light colors and fabrics such as linen for the groomsmen."

 "Another color scheme to watch for is sunset peach or 'cantaloupe,' which will be big at the Oscars," he said. "Fashion designers are tired of the usual lavender, so now lavender is a bit more gray," he said. In fact, a palette of no fewer than nine notable hues appear in the White by Vera Wang collection, which is a lot for a collection, and they aren't just your basic colors either: amethyst, blush, champagne, charcoal, ebony, midnight, moss, orchid and willow — a bold yellow-green hue that is being introduced as a new color for the spring season.

"There is more complexity to the colors," said Libby, noting that there is a subtle, but important difference between basic orange and cantaloupe or coral.

Accessories are a great way to personalize your wedding party attire. "Grooms are finding cool accessories such as suede sneakers or funky cuff links which reflect who they are," said Libby, noting that custom-made ties and Hermes ties are also in vogue. "Guys are more stylish these days," he said. "For example, if it's cuff links, they're going off the beaten track to find vintage cuff links or quirky designs such as dice, lions heads or sports team logos."

For bridesmaids, custom jewelry and hair ornaments such as the floral-inspired accessories in the White by Vera Wang Spring 2012 collection are hot. But Libby has also seen his share of matching red-bottomed Christian Louboutins and jeweled Giuseppe Zanotti sandals, which double as meaningful gifts from the bride.

 Some bridal parties are even moving away from the traditional bouquet, opting instead for whimsical spins on the tradition like purses or clutches made out of flowers. "For a recent winter wedding, the bride's grandmother had passed away, so we created individual muffs out of her mink stole for the bridesmaids, which incorporated floral elements," Libby said.

 Couples who choose the hottest fashion trends for their wedding party are making a statement.  Not only do they want to look and feel spectacular on their big day — they want the people closest to them to look and feel that way, too.

Jennifer Evans Gardner
Brand Publishing Writer