When it comes to life’s celebrations you probably have the dress code figured out for most occasions. Summer wedding number 12 of the season? Got it. Your bestie’s boujie birthday bash? Sorted. And I’m sure you’ve got numerous baby shower looks up your sleeve. But getting dressed for a christening? That’s a slightly trickier affair.
Without an official dress code, you might find yourself second-guessing every part of your outfit, like whether you need heels and if you absolutely have to wear a dress. Particularly if you’ve never attended a christening before it can seem like a bit of a sartorial minefield – so let’s start with the basics.
What is appropriate to wear for a christening?
Although there isn’t an *actual* christening dress code, it’s best to err on the side of formal. Even if your friends are hosting a less fancy do afterwards, it’s still a celebration – and one that will most likely be taking place in a church – so I’d recommend forgoing jeans, trainers and tees. Christenings also tend to be rather conservative occasions, so save your slinkiest silhouettes for a night out and leaving anything too revealing at home.
What colour should I wear to a christening, is black off limits?
Unlike weddings however, it’s not frowned upon to wear white to a christening and black wouldn’t be considered inappropriate either (although I’d suggest a print if you choose a darker look to keep it from looking too sombre). Take your cues of exactly how formal to go from not only the location (is it in a cathedral or a country church?) but the timing too. Most often, christenings that take place on a Sunday morning are part of the regular church service, so you can dress on the more casual side of formal.
Still feeling overwhelmed with what to wear? Keep reading for more styling tips to ensure you’ll be suitably – and very fashionably dressed – for the next christening in the diary…
Opt for comfortable heels or very smart flats
Luckily for our feet, there are only a few occasions in life that still warrant wearing heels, but generally speaking, attending a christening is one of them. With an unofficial formal dress code – whether you opt for a dress or smart trousers – heels will be the perfect finishing touch to your outfit.
However, it’s not the kind of occasion to bring out your new Versace-inspired platforms; rather opt for something a bit understated – and comfortable. A small kitten heel or a block heel will look stylish but church appropriate, and bonus – you won’t find yourself sinking 5 inches into the grass post-church service.
But if you really aren’t a heel kind of gal, smart flats will work too. Avoid trainers, espadrilles and any sandals that look like you could throw them on before heading down to the beach. Instead, a pair of loafers or a ballet flat would make a smart alternative to heels.
Avoid dresses too short or revealing
A christening is a time to get dressed up and look your best, but that doesn’t mean it’s appropriate to show off your favourite assets, whether that’s your legs or your décolletage. It’s a traditional celebration so dressing more conservatively is the way to go. If you choose to wear a dress, avoid a mini – instead, choose a midi or full-length style.
A floral print is a failsafe option, but if that feels too feminine for you, opt for a more abstract print or a block colour; just because the day lends itself to tradition, doesn’t mean you have to forgo your individual style. I would however advise leaving plunging necklines and cut-outs at home, and likewise anything strappy. I’d suggest opting for a sleeve – even if just a cap sleeve – and keep your shoulders covered.
Try a suit
While a christening is a rather traditional affair, that doesn’t mean you have to wear a dress. A chic suit is a great alternative to a dress and an easy way to show off your personal style -whilst still looking formal and church-appropriate. Lots of high street brands make suit jackets that come with both trousers and skirt or shorts counterparts, so there’s something to please everyone.
A pastel-coloured hue, or neutral tone are great options for the day, but I’d advise avoiding a black suit as it feels workwear-esque. Try pairing your suit with a printed blouse or a plain pussybow style. If that feels too fussy for your personal style, opt for a plain, high neck top – COS always does great ones. See it as an elevated t-shirt – just as comfortable but just that little bit more polished.
Hats aren’t necessary, but don’t forget your accessories
A quick look at the most recent royal christenings might have you bolting out to the shops for a hat, but as an informal christening rule, they’re not required. That’s not to say however, that you should forgo all accessorising. If the christening location and timing point towards a dressier affair, a padded headband or a velvet bow is a subtle nod towards days past when headgear was the norm.
If that feels like a step too far outside of your sartorial comfort zone (and for less formal christenings), rather forgo any hair accessories but elevate your jewellery from your day-to-day pieces to something a bit more special – it is an occasion after all.