Dear ESB: Can you teach a girl to accessorize without looking like a third grader?

Categories   Wedding Fashion

You find the perfect dress, but then how do you pull your whole look together? Love East Side Bride‘s take on this simple ensemble for a chuch to farm wedding.

how to accessorize my wedding dress

Dear ESB,

I’m wearing this Elizabeth Dye dress to my wedding in July.

My fiance and I are getting married in a church, then having a party on our farm. (Not one of those picturesque “farm” weddings — think muddy throw down in the field next to the cow pasture.)

Here’s where I’m stumped. I need:

1. A rad pair of heels to wear to the ceremony.
2. Flats or a wedge of some sort to wear on the farm.
3. Something to put on my head? I’ve got a short bob and blunt bangs, so limited options for doing my hair all fancy. Headband? Crazy hat?
4. Jewelry? Again, at a total loss.
5. Maybe some kind of coverup, jacket, shrug, etc. in case it gets cold?

Any ideas? Or please throw me to the mercy of your readers, whose suggestions I very much admire.

If left to my own devices, I tend toward one of two extremes: a Gap model or a third grader who went a little crazy in the dress-up trunk.
Help a girl out.


There’s no point in buying a pair of heels just to totter down the aisle like a third grader. I’m assuming you don’t usually wear heels?

Instead, invest your money in a great pair of flat(ish) shoes and a really great pair of earrings you’ll wear over and over and over.

I’ve been into these tomato Marais sandals ever since I saw the photos from Brittany and Austin’s park wedding.

Take courage from Brittany and keep your hair and accessories simple. These gold hoops from Bittersweets New York are big but super delicate, and they’ll be terrific with your bob.

Oop! And in case you get chilly, keep this J. Crew cardigan on hand.*

Elizabeth Dye Photo: Lisa Warninger.

*I’m about to catch HOLY HELL from my readers for recommending J. Crew, but, after all, aren’t cardigans
what J. Crew does best?

– – – – – – –

You can see ESB’s whole column on 100LC right here.

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Social Love

HalfPint1011 on Jun 14, 2011

I love that effing dress. And, um, ESB? My eyebrow definitely went sky-high with the J. Crew mention ...

nikki on Jun 14, 2011

those shoes are gorg

Melissa on Jun 14, 2011

I love that dress. To death. How about these Re-Mix shoes as a slightly taller (but still sturdy) option? They come in red! They'll look great with jeans forever afterwards.

east side bride on Jun 14, 2011

@HalfPint have you tried to shop for a cardigan lately??

Bride-In-Question on Jun 14, 2011

ESB, you are rocking my world. I just dropped off the dress this morning at my seamstress, and it's such a treat to come home and realize you answered my question! Thanks for the per usual spot-on advice. I'm buying those red shoes immediately. Still on the hunt for the perfect pair of heels, though, because I do love a good heel (when farm life allows for it). I'm telling myself that so long as I don't go the horrible white satin route (and luckily I have enough good sense to avoid that) I'm telling myself I can wear them again? I'll send you pictures of the muddy throw-down after the fact, pinky-promise.

cevd on Jun 14, 2011

i'm pretty pleased with those shoes and those earrings.

100layercake on Jun 14, 2011

I'm pretty gutted that those red shoes are sold out in my size. -k

Courtney soon-to-be-Lewis on Jun 14, 2011

While I love the suggestions from ESB I had a few other ideas as well. I am a bride that originates from Idaho and now live in San Francisco. I understand that when you live on the farm you relish those few times you get to get dolled up. The fact that you have a cute short hair style leads me to think you may be a little no muss no fuss. I think that a sparkly headband that fits your style might be the perfect touch to glam you up on that day. I made something similar to a Jennifer Behr headband for my maid of honor's wedding and she had your same cut. If you're not crafty how about the ISSA from Portabello ($59)? Here is yet another crazy idea: cowboy boots. I once wore a fancy champagne cocktail dress with brown cowboy boots to an Idaho vineyard wedding and not only were my heels not sinking into the grass like all the other gals, but I received so many compliments. A dressier hair element would balance out the obvious dress down off the boots. Even though you said you're veering away from white satin for the church shoe, Unforgettable Moments by Lela Rose's Natalie pump is both comfortable and adorable and would only set you back $45. Do the switcheroo in the car ride to the farm and you're ready to party hardy. If you want to wear them again you could die them red or the color of your choice. Hope this long winded response helps.

Bride-In-Question on Jun 14, 2011

100layercake: ME TOO. Serves me right for falling in love before checking the sizes left in stock.

100layercake on Jun 14, 2011

@ Bride-in-Question - I was so hoping your size was still available!

east side bride on Jun 14, 2011

@100layercake Yipes! I should have checked before I sent you the post. Here are some more sizes:

east side bride on Jun 14, 2011

@Bride-in-Question am now crossing my fingers. I WANNA SEE YOU IN THOSE SHOES.

Erin Ray on Jun 14, 2011

Dear Bride-In-Question, Don't despair about the red shoes being gone...if your heart is set on red, fine...but lots of bright colors that really POP are en vogue this season. Don't rule out other fun jewel tones like teal, mustard seed yellow, purple, or green...I am posting some links to color combos that you can try and see what you think. Garnet Hill has some great "modern cardigans"...two prints that might work especially well for you are the 1) yellow rose or 2) Indigo floral. Follow this link: The yellow would look especially cute with a pair of afore-mentioned red heels or espadrilles--two fun pops of color that compliment each other. The pattern of the cardigan is soft and the yellow is muted enough to work. Consider putting simple hoops with the ensemble as ESB recommended, or a long delicate type of tassle, vintage-inspired earring. If you opt for the second print offering on GH (the indigo floral), I would not suggest wearing a red heel...while I know you're getting married in July, you don't want to channel the patriotic theme too heavily (unless that is the look you wish to achieve). I would opt for what I am referring to as "mustard seed" (because saying mustard is conjuring images of a ball park frank and that is FRANKLY unappealing--dear God, save me from myself and my terrible puns). See what I am referring to in terms of color family: Anthropologie refers to these as "lemon stick" yellow, which is perhaps, a more charitable description...these would compliment the indigo color above. As a final alternative, you could make a departure from the pops of color and go for a more subtle, romantic, vintage-inspired aesthetic. For example, you could go for this antique gold bolero that I found on Etsy: accessorized with a sweet brooch (or pick one of your own or replace it with one that might be your mother's or grandmother's). While I know that your heart is set on a rad pair of pumps...these cool sandals compliment your sweet bolero with a twist of interest and embellishment: To end with, other fun pops of color for your twinkly toes (not that I suggest using the twinkle in your pocket to purchase them...some are ridiculously pricey...but these are good color palettes for inspiration): Sartorially yours, E

Hilary on Jun 14, 2011

@Bride-in-Question here are those rad heels you have been dreaming about or maybe that's me but I thought I'd show you anyway. I think you can definitely wear them again unlike those white satin numbers.

Hilary on Jun 14, 2011

Also: and

mrs. peacock on Jun 14, 2011 these sandals by saltwater in red are pretty similiar and at $35 a cheaper option

Candace {} on Jun 14, 2011

Such great ideas!

Bride-In-Question on Jun 14, 2011

You all are amazing. Erin, I love some of your ideas... and I've been secretly lusting after the Elopement Pumps on BHLDN, but the high price tag combined with my general unease about BHLDN has kept me from pulling the trigger. And Hilary — I LOVE those Rachel Comeys. I've been admiring them for quite some time, and they're pretty much exactly what I want: demure but with some geometrically interesting twist. But I have a general fashion question for the crowd: is the common advice about ankle straps "shortening" one's legs true? I'm little (5'2", which is why I'm so set on heels in the first place) so my legs are already pretty damn short. Add a just-below-knee length dress and I'm not sure what the result would be...

Amy on Jun 14, 2011

Hope it's ok if I hijack the shoe idea - that's my wedding dress (I wore it to elope last fall and we're throwing a party on a farm in July)!

Tamra of walkswithBella on Jun 14, 2011

Love the pop of color on the toes. great look.

Erin Ray on Jun 15, 2011

Lovely B in Q, As a follow-up, let me say that I am in total agreement re: BHLDN sticker shock. No need to spend all of your precious pennies on shoe bling when--as so many of these helpful ladies have demonstrated--there are a plethora of great alternatives! No harm in taking inspiration from a pricier version to find its relative for only a fraction of the price! Now, to address your concern about ankle straps: Yes, it is true that ankle straps can make legs appear shorter; BUT this does not have to be the case. Much of the "shrinking phenomenon" depends on things like how thick the ankle strap is, where it hits you/how high it comes up. A strappier shoe that leaves more of your foot exposed will give off an illusion of longer legs. For example: Versus a shoe that encases your foot and has an ankle strap that clearly defines where your leg ends and your ankle begins, making things look "choppier." For example: Keep in mind that a higher heel will also elongate legs and counter-balance any real or perceived threat of appearing uncommonly lilliputian due to the ankle strap...I know that you are worried about appearing short and fancy a pair of killer heels; however, the adage, "The bigger/taller they are, the harder they fall," comes to mind. There are plenty of "rad" (your word of choice) heels out there that will also allow you to walk (not hobble) down the isle. Don't worry, I know that you'll find your Cinderella slippers! Happy Hunting- E

Laura on Jun 22, 2011

What a beautiful posting! Those shoes are adorable :) Chinese Laundry has similar styles I love at an amazing price :)

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