How to Wear a Wedding Dress Even If You're Not Getting Married

Eric Wilson is InStyle's fashion news director. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram. 

You Don't Have to Be a Bride to Wear White Anymore
Photo: Getty Images

Being a bride has never been more fashionable, though there’s no need to get married.

Lacy white dresses, suitable for modern brides or those seeking a just a fresh and clean look, seem to be having been having a major moment on runways and red carpets here at the start of spring. Jessica Alba, Rachel McAdams, Jennifer Morrison, and Olivia Wilde are just a few of the stars who have stepped out in recent weeks wearing white dresses that in a different context would be suitable for saying “I do.”

What is behind this trend, might you wonder? Well, a lot of things could have inspired the connection, especially advances in fabric production that have created marvelous techno laces and macramé-like textiles for designers to play with. But a more likely cause would have been Riccardo Tisci’s spring collection for Givenchy, a major event when it was shown in New York last September. Tisci explored many components of ceremonial dressing – brides and grooms featured prominently in his mostly black and white show – and it’s no wonder that the matrimonial look is now appearing elsewhere in fashion. (Rooney Mara appeared in a look from the Givenchy spring show that combined a white lace dress with a tuxedo shirt at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival in February, below, and, of course, went on to wear a white lace Givenchy Couture dress to the Oscars.)

You Don't Have to Be a Bride to Wear White Anymore
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Now we’re starting to see Miss Havishams everywhere, even in H&M’s latest Conscious Exclusive collection that was presented this month, which included three wedding dresses that were designed for brides and non-brides alike. “We call them wedding dresses, but you don’t have to marry to wear them,” Ann-Sofie Johansson, a creative advisor at H&M, told WWD recently. “I don’t want to marry, but I want to wear the lace dress anyway.”

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