Nautical in navy // What to wear to a casual wedding

spring wedding guest outfit navy flare dress

Modcloth Luck be a Lady dress sz UK4 c/o (metal zipper replaced w/ invisible one)
YSL bag, M.Gemi heels

Happy first week of Spring! I can tell wedding season is near, based on the number of requests I’ve been getting for posts on wedding guest attire! I always recommend first looking up the venue setting (ie. beach, estate, garden) and then checking the invite or couple’s wedding website for any notes on attire. For “black tie” or “formal” I usually suggest a long dress or jumpsuit, and for “festive” or “casual” a shorter dress (above-the-knee, knee, or midi length) is a safe bet. Aside from length, fabric choice can play an important role in scaling the piece from casual to dressy – for example, a shorter dress in silk, brocade or with embellishments can pass as formal, while a maxi dress in lightweight cotton or chiffon could work in a more casual setting.
what to wear to a spring or beach nautical wedding guest
For this post I’m partnering with Modcloth’s and their new wedding page – they have so many romantic, vintage-inspired dresses and accessories for wedding guests, brides, as well as bridal party members. I love browsing the party dresses for guests, and chose this darling navy fit & flare number with pockets and an ivory colorblock. I can see it with wedges and a cropped cardigan (like this one which I have and love) for a casual beach or backyard event, or with high heels, clutch and a shoulder wrap for dressier settings.
casual wedding nautical pleated dress navy white
I’m wearing a UK size 4, which feels like a US 00 and fit snugly on me with no alterations. The material is a stretchy poly blend, and the dress is unlined with two side pockets. I did have my tailor change out the gold metal zipper for an invisible-style one. This is an alteration you don’t hear about often, but is one of my favorite tips for tweaking certain pieces to your personal tastes. For a dress like this, I felt like I could get more mileage out of it personally (including wearing to more conservative occasions) if the zipper were more discreet. For a dress like my bell sleeve lace one on the other hand, I liked the exposed gold zipper against the lace fabric.
modcloth navy white nautical fit flare dress
Measurements of this dress in a UK size 4: 14.5″ across the armpits, 12″ across the waist, 33″ total length. Fabric has stretch to it.
modcloth luck be a lady dress navy white
I tried on a few other Modcloth dresses and wanted to share my favorites from the bunch which are also petite-friendly! This dusty blue lace one is a simple but flattering knit dress – a size S stretched to fit well on me. The knit material, scoopneck, and swingy silhouette makes it more on the casual side. In comparison, this teal flared number has more structure and construction to it, reminiscent of some favorite floral dresses in my closet. It bodes a striking and vibrant print on sturdily-woven fabric with a little sheen (almost like brocade), and is fully lined with a slightly longer length in the back than in the front. This one ran very small with no stretch in the fabric, so I wanted to provide some measurements: size 2 measures about 12″ across the waist and 15″ across the armpits, fitting snugly on me throughout.


Thank you to Modcloth for sponsoring this post!

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Leave a Comment


  1. Li Zhou wrote:

    Do you mind sharing your tailor? I only found info in your 2013 posts. Is he still in the same location?

    Posted 4.13.17 Reply
  2. mrsfaber wrote:

    I'm impressed. I've never bought a dress from modcloth that didn't swim on a petite frame!

    Posted 9.1.16 Reply
  3. Lexi Alex wrote:

    You`re so pretty! Anything looks good on you! 🙂 Love this blog and feeling inspired!

    Posted 5.23.16 Reply
  4. esther wrote:

    So cute! Love it.

    Posted 4.9.16 Reply
  5. Super chic nautical dress!!

    Posted 4.8.16 Reply
  6. Love the color blocking!


    Posted 3.26.16 Reply
  7. So classy dress! Look gorgeous! 🙂

    Posted 3.23.16 Reply
  8. I love the simplicity of this gorgeous navy dress. It's chic, streamlined, and looks amazing without taking attention from the bride.
    Julia // Little Miss Haute Couture

    Posted 3.23.16 Reply
  9. Anonymous wrote:

    You look amazing! Having just moved to a new city, I would LOVE to see a post about how to go about finding a tailor you trust, since alterations end up being so important!

    Posted 3.23.16 Reply
  10. Trang Do wrote:

    Such a pretty dress! Looks so cute!
    Love from {a lifestyle, fashion, beauty, and food blog}

    Posted 3.23.16 Reply
  11. Olyvia wrote:

    I have turned down many cute dresses due to the exposed zipper. I find that the exposed zippers tend to shift (curve) to the side like having a crooked spine, which is annoying and not flattering. I had no idea that tailors will do this kind of alteration! Do they have to find a matching zipper color to the dress? Or is it very costly compared to a other types of alterations? Glad you brought up the exposed zipper topic! I've been so disappointed in seeing cute dresses and skirts, only to turn it around and cringe at the exposed zipper. Can't wait till retailers stop marketing this trend!

    Posted 3.22.16 Reply
  12. Minau wrote:

    You loom amazing! Lovely dress!

    Posted 3.22.16 Reply
  13. Anonymous wrote:

    Love this dress! Wedding season has gotten much more complicated with a soon-to-be toddler. Love the pockets.

    Posted 3.22.16 Reply
  14. Jordan wrote:

    Gorgeous! This definitely hits the sweet spot between casual and wedding-ready. You look stunning!

    Posted 3.22.16 Reply
  15. Love the dress! The heels compliment so well with the outfit! ♡

    Evelyn | BeautyCloud9

    Posted 3.22.16 Reply
  16. Mady T. wrote:

    love the outfit! congrats on your collab.



    Posted 3.22.16 Reply
  17. Polly wrote:

    What a cute dress! Weddings are always a lot of fun!


    Posted 3.21.16 Reply
  18. Caroline wrote:

    Thank you for the post. This is very helpful as I never know what to wear to a wedding!

    Posted 3.21.16 Reply
  19. I absolutely love this!! I only wish it came in a tall size!

    Elizabeth @ AATD

    Posted 3.21.16 Reply
  20. This dress is gorgeous on you! Love the semi-nautical look <3

    Posted 3.21.16 Reply
  21. Anonymous wrote:

    Would love to see a post all about your closet organization with pics. Like where and how you store shoes, boot, sandals on season and off season. And how you organize shirts, sweaters , dresses, pants etc… Also, how you decide which clothes stay even if they haven't been worn much and which ones go

    Posted 3.21.16 Reply
  22. Jenn wrote:

    I enjoyed reading the tips! I didn't know that there were different dress lengths for different levels of formality in a wedding!

    a small bit | bloglovin | twitter | latest post

    Posted 3.21.16 Reply
  23. Thanks for this! I've got a wedding to attend in April and May and didn't think to ask about the formality of the dress code.

    Posted 3.21.16 Reply
  24. Anonymous wrote:

    You look beautiful! You got killer arms in pic #4.
    What type of arm toning exercises are you doing?
    Weight pound??

    Posted 3.21.16 Reply
  25. Beautiful dress! xx

    Posted 3.21.16 Reply
  26. That dress is darling! Perfect wedding attire. I love the flared shape! 🙂

    Lifestyle by Joules

    Posted 3.21.16 Reply
  27. Keri H wrote:

    So beautiful. The perfect classy, nautical dress to wear <3

    Enclothed Cognition/Bloglovin

    Posted 3.21.16 Reply
  28. I am loving this dress, the navy is perfect to wear to a casual wedding. I loved reading about this look and how you styled it. Thank you for sharing!

    Morgan England

    Posted 3.21.16 Reply
  29. Courtney wrote:

    I love the tip about the zipper, it takes this dress to the next level! I love navy and white. the perfect wedding dress!

    Posted 3.21.16 Reply
  30. Altering the zipper is a great tip! I often find dresses or other pieces that I love, but feel like are ruined by an exposed zipper. I never thought to have it altered!

    Posted 3.21.16 Reply
  31. Viola Yee wrote:

    Nice dress and great tip about the zipper. Do you have any advice on how to find someone who does alterations?


    Posted 3.21.16 Reply
  32. Beautiful and chic dress!

    Raspberry Jam

    Posted 3.21.16 Reply
  33. I'm so in love with this dress! It looks like especially made for you and you found the perfect accesories <3
    xx from Bavaria/Germany, Rena

    Posted 3.21.16 Reply
  34. Serein Wu wrote:

    This is such an adorable dress! Love it and perfect for wedding season. Thank you.

    Posted 3.21.16 Reply
  35. Love this chic and sophisticated look! Gorgeous dress.


    Posted 3.21.16 Reply
  36. Sasa Zoe wrote:

    Beautiful dress! Love it<3

    Shall We Sasa

    Posted 3.21.16 Reply

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