10 Tips to Getting Dressed for Engagement Photos from Hilary Rushford. Quite often, I get brides and grooms asking me about what to wear for their engagement shoot. Because I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not a fashion expert, I’ve enlisted New York City personal wardrobe stylist Hilary Rushford to offer tips on what to wear. Hilary Rushford is the founder of Dean Street Society where she works as a stylist with men & women doing wardrobe remixes, personal shopping & engagement shoots/wedding parties/special events.
Close your eyes. Picture your engagement photo hanging on your best friend’s fridge. Envision a large print framed in your living room as newlyweds. Imagine one being passed down to your grandchildren. You’re creating a memory that will last a lifetime! Let’s make some magic people.
Do your homework. Search wedding blogs for engagement photos you’re crazy about. Study them. What is it you love? Be specific. Look at what the bride is wearing, the groom, their shoes, the colors, patterns, props & background. Take notes & replicate your favorite elements. (P.S. Find couples who look similar to you to help envision what you’ll look like.)
Douse yourselves in color! Many engagement photos are taken outside. This means you could have a grey day, empty tree branches & neutral colored buildings as your backdrop. YOU make the pictures vibrant. Your photographer can have the best skills & equipment, but if your wardrobe is bland, all the editing in the world won’t make it colorful.
You’ll notice I said “yourselves.” Don’t forget the groom needs color too! Many men shy away from color in their wardrobe, but try a plaid button down, a striped tie, under a colored v-neck pullover — the elements aren’t scary & or far-off from what he may already sport. Just take the color up a notch & make sure he’s wearing pattern to keep the photos visually interesting.
(Gap.com and JCrew.com)
If you want your photos to look fresh & modern, invest in new outfits. A groom in particular may want to turn to his favorite trusty sweater & broken in jeans, but odds are that well loved pieces look … well, well loved. And that makes photos look dated faster. Be a stickler for fit. A groom shouldn’t be in pants or a shirt one size too large. They’ll only make him look heavier. A bride should belt almost anything! It will instantly nip in your waist at the narrowest part. A cardigan hides bra straps & slims arms, a knee-length skirt is universally flattering, & Spanx are every girl’s best friend.
Be the superstar version of yourselves! Even if you want natural, everyday “us” … this is a professional photo shoot. Add a higher heel, a bolder necklace, a brighter belt. Grooms, embrace the word “accessorize”. Brides often arrive at a shoot with a plethora belts, scarves, colored shoes as options. Step up your game to match her for the moment you’re capturing. Hats, suspenders & bow ties are everywhere these days from Urban Outfitters to Ralph Lauren.
Consider having a timeless vintage moment. There’s a reason so many couples choose to style themselves from the 30’s-50’s era: the look has stayed classic for this long, so odds are it’ll still look chic when your grandchildren are looking at them. In this case, go back to Tip #2! Gather all the details from vintage-inspired engagement shoots you love. Brides can visit Mod Cloth & Unique Vintage. Grooms get off even easier: implement details like bow ties & suspenders. And for both of you, it’s all about the right shoes! Visit Remix Vintage Shoes for inspiration. Remix Vintage Shoes for inspiration. For a mens look from Unique Vintage click here. For an elegant ladies dress from Mod Cloth, click here. It’s wise to invest in a professional to do your hair & make-up, but if you’re strong in that area there are oodles of tutorials on YouTube these days. This is a great time to utilize your hair and makeup trials with your wedding hairstylist and makeup artist. If you do take this opportunity, please make sure to allow more than ample time for a punctual arrival to your shoot.
Don’t exceed your budget. If you spend more than you wanted on wardrobe, you’ll feel extra pressure & stress the day of the shoot. Budget-conscious brides can try RentTheRunway.com which allows you to wear a designer dress without the price tag. Order a second dress option for just $25, plus you can also rent jewelry & be done in one fell swoop!For the groom check out H&M, Gap, or your local department store. (The dresses below are all $50 or less!
Pack extra. Your photographer can always help you edit, but the more belts, cardigans, ties, shoes you arrive with, the more they have to work with. Help them help you!
Enlist help. helping them choose the wardrobe for their shoots. While easiest & most fun in person, it can be done even cross-country entirely with online window shopping, vision boards, Skype chats & camera phone pics. If you don’t go with a stylist, seek out your most fashionable friend or go to your favorite store, find a salesperson who’s style you like & ask them for help. (Beware that an in-store stylist may just be trying to sell you something, so take multiple options into the dressing room & ask for their favorite vote, not just a “yes/no” on one item.)
Get a great night of sleep & get excited to take pictures with your favorite person in the whole wide world: your brilliant fiance!
Hilary Rushford is the founder of Dean Street Style and is available for advice and guidance on styling for your engagement photography session via Skype, email, phone, or locally in the NYC/Brooklyn area. Be sure to visit and subscribe to her blog at Dean Street Society for useful tips! Hilary is a stylist for lookbooks, advertising campaigns & photo/video shoots for emerging through luxury brands. She also takes one-on-one clients as a personal stylist for “real people with real budgets.” With a professional background in musical theatre, she works on-camera as a host & style expert as well as writing, curating & consulting for various print & online publications, sites & brands. Look her up on Youtube for great tips!
Available for photo/video shoots, personal sessions, on-camera hosting, writing, & speaking.
Hilary works out of New York City, London & worldwide both via Skype & in person.