If you've been following media reports regarding the wedding of Kate Middleton and Prince William, this advice will sound familiar. For women attending a royal wedding, "hats are required, and there will be lots of big brims and fitted toques...many will wear long gloves with their short sleeves. Men should be in morning coats [or] dress uniforms."1 This advice is nearly identical to that given on a recent ABC News segment, Royal Wedding Style Guide for Guests. You might be surprised to learn that the advice referenced above actually dates from a previous royal wedding, that of Lady Diana Spencer and Prince Charles in July 1981. Though 30 years apart, the dress code specified on the invitations for both royal weddings is nearly identical.
It's interesting that neither invitation specifies appropriate feminine dress; only male attire is referenced directly. Are women expected to somehow intuit suitable dress for historic and formal weddings? The 1981 article referenced above also noted that women shouldn't wear full-length dresses (too formal) or pants (too casual). Worn by Betsy Bloomingdale to the 1981 wedding of Charles and Diana, this silk day dress fits the bill--neither too long nor too short, it was entirely appropriate for the occasion.