What to Wear to a Bridal Shower, According to Fashion Experts

From interpreting dress codes to the colors to avoid, the pros are sharing their best tips and outfit ideas.

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Engagement season is in full swing, and while we often wonder what to wear to a wedding, figuring out how to dress for a bridal shower can be pretty confusing, too. As a guest, we know to stay clear of shades of white (unless told otherwise), but are other colors off-limits? Would it be too extra to incorporate sparkle into out outfit? Should we dress down in jeans or go fancy with a ruffled dress?

Some bridal shower hosts will specify a dress policy on the invitation, but most of the time, the dress code is up to interpretation. Rather than struggling to read between the lines, we reached out to fashion stylists Abby Young, Morgan Bienvenue, and Naina Singla for a few bridal shower guest dress and outfit ideas, solving this dilemma once and for all.

Here are some pro-approved dos and don’ts to keep in mind while choosing your bridal shower guest outfit.

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Take note of the invitation for clues.

Morgan Bienvenue recommends reading the invitation closely for clues about the type of soiree you’ll be attending. Ask yourself: Is the bridal shower during the day or at night? Does it seem to have a theme, like "Written in the Stars" or feature sweet pastel colors and flowers? Does the invite reflect the couple's personalities and seem low-key? The answers to these questions may inform your decision about what to wear.

Figure out if it's a formal or casual event.

Singla tells InStyle that the second step to figuring out what to wear to a bridal shower is honing in on just how formal or casual the party is. If it’s a more formal event, for example, Singla says a good rule of thumb is for attendees to wear something like "a pantsuit, skirt-suit, or a high-neck sheath dress.” If the event is more casual, however, Singla says guests “could pair a blouse and trousers, a flowy dress, or a jumpsuit.”

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Factor in the potential for games

“Some of the activities or games you can expect at a bridal shower might require you to wear something more comfortable and be easy to move in,” notes Bienvenue. “If you're a close family member or friend to the couple, I might also anticipate the probability of sitting on the floor at some point to collect wrapping paper from opening gifts.”

In other words, if you’ll be playing an active role in the bridal shower, factor practicality into your final outfit.

Think about the photos.

Whatever you decide to wear, aim for something photo-friendly. This is especially key if you're family or close friends with the future bride and groom, Young tells InStyle.

Don’t dress too flashy.

Unless encouraged by a theme, Young says elaborate rhinestone details, statement jewelry, neon colors, and/or loud logo prints are out.

“It's definitely a good time to look nice, but it's not the day to call attention to yourself and what you're wearing,” Young says.

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Bring backup footwear.

Young warns that if you plan on wearing dressier shoes like platform heels, it’s a good idea to bring along a pair of clean, comfy sneakers too.

“Unless you ask the host beforehand, you never know if there'll be games/challenges that require that you be on your feet!”

Opt for a flowy dress or skirt.

If you're looking for specific ideas when it comes to bridal shower guest dresses, stylist Jodie Filogomo says to pull out a floral maxi dress, especially if the celebration is taking place in the spring or summer.

“If you don't want to wear a dress, then a slip skirt and camisole would be just as appropriate," she tells InStyle. "If it's wintertime, then you could easily wear a tulle skirt and sweater with boots to stay warm yet look stylish.”

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Pair jeans with a nice blouse.

“When I think of dressier blouses, I think of shiny ones, ruffle details, or ones that have a pretty print something like a colorful floral,” explains Filogomo. “[For a more casual bridal shower] I would opt for a dressier blouse and nix the T-shirt unless that's what the invitation suggests.”

Lean toward traditional — with a twist.

Bienvenue tells us that if you’re going to a bridal shower that’s leaning more traditional, opt for a sweet yet dramatic silhouette that gives your outfit a hint of surprise or edge.

“An A-line dress or circle skirt with a knit top combination comes to mind, especially in a bold color or with interesting embellishments,” she tells InStyle. “Another route you can take is a sweater dress with kitten heels and cute accessories, like '90s-style square frame sunglasses and campy hair clips.”

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Keep your bridal shower guest dress simple and seasonal.

According to Singla, a timeless, silk midi slip dress is the perfect bridal shower guest outfit, complete with a black blazer and heels or knee boots.

“This is a great seasonal look you can dress up or down that is both simple and feminine,” she tells InStyle. “You can’t go wrong with wearing a slip dress to a bridal shower. Just add a glass of champs, and you are set to go!”

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