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Wedding Attire: NYC vs SoCal

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I’ve been to quite a few weddings just over the past couple of years, both here in NYC as well as in my unfortunate original homeland of Southern California. Yes, this post is going to be a little bit “white people drive like this/black people drive like this“, but like, sorry (Spoiler Alert!), SoCal was a far greater offender. I mean, I get that SoCal in general can have less of a sense of formality, or at least just less shoe/shirt boundaries than the East Coast, but at the same time, NYC folk tend to try to want to be fashionable to the point that it’s not appropriate sometimes. And yes, yes, marriage itself is questionably appropriate– but like, you’re not there to lecture and judge your friend’s decision, are you? If you are, just don’t go.

Let’s examine what wedding guest attire was questionable, what worked & what didn’t. You’ll thank me later when your friend getting married isn’t yelling at you for looking like an asshole at his/her wedding.


1) Canadian Tuxedo

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Hey guys, I’m wearing a tuxedo– A CANADIAN TUXEDO! GET IT? Yes. But you’re still an asshole. That joke has such little payoff to the point that it almost makes it worse that you’re inappropriately dressed. So yeah, don’t wear denim of any kind to a wedding if it’s black tie. (+2 inappropriate attire points for SoCal).


2) Sunglasses

I was sorta on the fence about this one. On one hand, it was legitimately sunny in SoCal, but on the other hand, you’re not at the fucking beach eating a taco. It kind of also makes you seem too cool for school, especially if your glasses are like neon or something, which is like, the complete opposite of what you’d ostensibly like to convey as a wedding guest. It’s sort of one step above wearing your sunglasses at night/indoors and one step below wearing those novelty glasses with the eyes painted on them. I say it’s better to squint than to look bored. (+1 inappropriate attire point for SoCal)


3) A Turban

These have definitely exploded in popularity in the past couple of years. But is it okay for a wedding? Well, it depends. I’ve definitely seen it work– and well, at a less-than black tie wedding in New York, but I think this can also potentially go horribly wrong. For example, when paired with harem pants or with 50 other “buzz” items, socio-culturally co-opted or no. Like sunglasses, turbans can potentially be interpreted as “I care way too much about what I look like in comparison to your wedding”. So, tread carefully. (0 points on either side).


4) Wizard Sleeves

Are you at the Renaissance Faire? Are you conjuring up a spell? Are you in a play? Are you in a play at the Renasissance Faire conjuring up a spell?  No? Then WHY THE HELL ARE YOU WEARING WIZARD SLEEVES? (+50 billion inappropriate attire points for SoCal)

5) A Purse with a Metal Band’s Logo

A black tie dress code doesn’t mean that you should bring a purse emblazoned with the Black sabbath logo on it. I mean, I know it’s confusing– it does have the word “black” in it. But, like seriously– is this the nicest or most appropriate possible purse you could find? Truth be told, my high school self would’ve thought it was “cool”. Thank god we’re not in high school, though RIGHT GUYS? (+10 inappropriate attire points for SoCal).

6) Distressed Boots, Denim Jacket, and a Sundress

This was literally the outfit I wore to the airport flying out to CA. Just because it’s a dress doesn’t make it formal enough for a wedding, not to even mention the distressed boots or denim jacket, Jesus Christ. You’ve essentially just spelled out to those who have spent thousands of dollars to invite you to their special event that you truly do not give a shit about them by wearing that. GET IT TOGETHER, SoCal! (+5 inappropriate attire points for SoCal).


7) “In Da Club” Attire

Frankly, I would’ve expected this more from a Jersey Shore-type crowd, but nope, this really happened in CA. Although there is some attempt to “dress up”, it’s not really the time or place to wear a skintight tube dress that barely hugs your ass with stick-on rhinestones on your tits. I once saw a girl make a similar mistake in the San Diego Municipal Court house– the attire in question was a low-cut blouse that said “flirt” in rhinestones on the front. The judge doesn’t want to see that shit, and neither do the bride & groom. (+5 inappropriate attire points for SoCal).

Photos courtesy of:, Other Tales of the City, Etsy,, and iOffer.

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Anna G - Caliburg Contributor

Anna G - Caliburg Contributor

Anna G. is a Southern California native living in the Williamsburg area of Brooklyn since 2005. Anna is constantly trying to unite her love of CA sunshine and the excitement of the New York urban jungle, all the while trying to keep her unwieldy credit card debt under control, and look fabulous at brunch, no matter how un-showered and hungover.


  1. Mayuko Saul
    April 5, 2011 at 11:15 pm

    This happened at MY wedding in San Jose, CA. A friend of my husbands family wore black sweatpants, tucked in white dress shirt and new out of the box white k-swiss sneakers. I wish someone had taken a photograph of him. Truly priceless.

  2. […] already covered the more questionable wardrobe decisions of certain coast areas, but what about the rest of the […]