My fiancée and I are having a very small, vaccinated, Covid-conscientous wedding. She’s wearing a white dress, but I’d like to wear my dad’s custom waistcoat to the reception in his honor. It is pink and gold and features bumble bees. The problem is, when I pair it with a white button-down, I look like some kind of overcommitted amateur Shakespearean actor. How do I style this in a contemporary, elegant way? — Abigail, N.Y.
First, congratulations on your wedding. These rituals are gestures of faith in the future and optimism in what often seems like a very gloomy world. Wearing one of your father’s favorite garments is a lovely twist on that whole “something old/something new/something borrowed/something blue” adage.
But I know what you mean about the risks of an embroidered vest looking like kitsch theatrical garb rather than elegant fun. It’s the association in our lizard brain. Gwyneth Paltrow in her “Shakespeare in Love” guise as a boy is hard to ignore. It was Polonius, after all, who declared, in “Hamlet,” “apparel oft proclaims the man.”
Yet while clothes may be the costumes we don for everyday life (which is “but a stage”), and fancy clothes what we wear for our own personal paparazzi moments, that doesn’t mean we want them to make us look as if we are about to eat the scenery. Even if love does look “not with the eyes but with the mind.”
I’ll stop with the Bard references now.
Given that, I asked Arianne Phillips, the costume designer behind “Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood” and “A Single Man” (among many other films), as well as a stylist who is trying to change how
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