Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Wishful Thinking: { Wardrobe } Decoding The Secret Language Of Formal Attire For A Filipino-Chinese Wedding

For those of you who are Chinese, or who have married into a Chinese family, you know what I speak of when I say that dressing for a Filipino-Chinese wedding can sometimes be a dilemma. 

For starters, when the invites say "formal attire," people normally assume it means full-length gown for ladies, suit or Barong Tagalog for men; however, it can also be easily misconstrued by some elders (and emphasis on some, ha) in the Fil-Chi community to mean any casual dress for the women and shorts-sleeved polo and slacks for the men.  C and I have found ourselves in too many a predicament wherein it would seem we are over-dressed; but in reality, we are actually the ones properly dressed.  It is easier for C since all he has to do is take off his coat, and he blends in already.  

It has been my habit to make an effort to strictly follow the dress code indicated on the invite whenever I have to attend a wedding.  Dressing appropriately shows the bride and groom that I recognize the effort that they have put into that special occasion.  Also, you'd have to agree that beautifully dressed guests make for a beautiful party.:)

Having been a victim of "over-dressing" in several Chinese weddings, I am now generously sharing my guide on how to decode the secret language of formal dressing for a Filipino-Chinese wedding. 

For a Chinese luncheon wedding that is held in a restaurant such as Gloria Maris or Century Seafood, I advise you to take out a dressy blouse and trousers from your closet.  It will not make you stand out, and yet people will still take notice of the carefully selected pieces you have on.  Finish your outfit with simple jewelry and put a pop of color by wearing a brightly colored clutch.  As you may know, Chinese elders frown on black or white when going to happy events such as weddings and birthdays.
what to wear to a Chinese wedding
1st outfit: Paule Ka top, Carnie trousers, Nine West leather sandals, Alexander McQueen clutch.  2nd outfit: Balmain silk shirt, Alexander McQueen boot cut pants, Prada high heel pumps

For a Chinese restaurant dinner reception, I would recommend for you to wear a knee length dress of neutral color.  Again, our purpose is to quietly let people sit up and turn their heads in your direction as you walk on by.    
lunch wedding
1st outfit: Hoss Intropia satin wrap dress, Stuart weitzman shoes. 2nd outfit: Miss Selfridge pink dress, Badgley Mischka silver stiletto heels 3rd outfit: Oasis pleated dress, , Badgley Mischka bow high heels 
The fun part of getting ready for a wedding is really when you get ready for a hotel ballroom dinner reception because then you pull out all the stops.  Putting on a floor length dress can make any woman feel extra lovely; more so when she gets a spontaneous compliment from the husband.  It is also a good time for you to take the bling-blings for a night-out!
evening wedding

Mango evening dress, Valentino evening dress, Miss Selfridge cotton maxi dress, Jimmy Choo stiletto high heels, Rodo crystal evening clutch, MCDiamond Engagement ring, Carolee stud earrings, Miss Selfridge flower belt

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Mom-Friday said...

I can so relate to the "decoding"! SO frustrating to see guests in their most casual, at a FORMAL a host, I'd be insulted. I also put effort to dress appropriately but the reality is, many still don't give a damn despite the dress code.

neva | manilamommy said...

i love these pegs :D you have a great eye tina!

The Phenomenal Woman said...

Michelle, di ba? Frustrating...

Thanks for dropping by, Neva!

jen laceda said...

Tina! I LOVE browsing through Polyvore! Giada and I have created many looks (for play only, heehee) through Polyvore and Looklet :) Great choices for party looks, by the way!

Anonymous said...

Hi there! My brother is getting married soon. It's a morning wedding, the guys will be wearing barong and the girls floor length dresses. What would you suggest that we write in the invites? We dont expect everyone to be wearing the same, but we dont want people to come in jeans either. Hope you can help us. Thanks! =)

The Phenomenal Woman said...

Hi Jen! If only my real closet could look that way... haaay!

Hi Anonymous! Morning weddings tend to be less formal than an afternoon or evening wedding. I guess you could expect most of the guests to come in knee length dresses. If you'd like, you can indicate "dressy casual," but still, that is subject to interpretation.

If it helps, I have received an invitation to a beach wedding recently where it laid out the attire options for the guests... Men: khaki/ linen pants. Ladies: Beach Formal (elegant sundress/maxi-dress). I know it can come-off as overly dictating, but as a guest I was actually relieved to have the guesswork taken out.

Anonymous said...

Hi again! i think the "dressy casual" would work. Thanks for the suggestion. I really appreciate it. =)

Sakura said...

are you a Fil-Chi? or only married to one?

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