Deciding what to wear to a christening isn't always easy. Unlike weddings, there often is no clear dress code or theme, but there are some guidelines you can follow to ensure you're dressed appropriately.
An important landmark occasion, a christening is often seen as a grey area when it comes to outfit choice. Rarely as formal or as tricky as deciding what to wear to a wedding, there might not be any hard and fast rules, but there are some soft guidelines we suggest you stick to to make sure you look appropriate for the occasion. If no dress code has been specified on the invitation then you'll want to take your cues from the venue and setting of the ceremony. For low-key events, a smart-casual vibe will suffice, think your best shirt dress, or smart trousers and a blouse. For grander christenings, however, you will naturally require an outfit upgrade. Most importantly though, select an outfit you're comfortable in—whether that's opting for sharp tailoring and your best blazer or you need a little boost with the perfect dress to hide a tummy and some of your best shapewear, confidence is the key ingredient to pulling off most looks.
The Duchess of Cambridge consistently nails what to wear to a christening, dazzling in designer outfits for her own children's big days, so if you're really stuck for some style inspiration, our archive of Kate Middleton's dresses is a good place to start for fashionable yet sensible pieces. And remember if you're attending a church, make sure your shoulders are covered and you’re not showing too much skin. And of course, christening outfits for mums or godparents will need a little more thought behind them too.
What to wear to a christening: 7 key pieces
When it comes to what to wear to a christening there is no need to get yourself into a style panic. When in doubt err on the side of caution and go for smarter more polished pieces over keeping it laidback and casual.
"Like weddings, christenings are a formal occasion and so when you're selecting what to wear, it's best to avoid casual items such as jeans and trainers and opt for smart occasion wear. A pretty floral midi dress or tailoring such as a pastel-colored suit teamed with a low block heel are both fail safe stylish options. While hats and fascinators are still popular, many are choosing to go with a more modern take on headpieces, such as an oversized Alice band, similar to those worn by the queen of occasionwear herself, The Duchess of Cambridge" - fashion editor and stylist, Antonia Kraskowski.
1. Midi Dress
Christenings are joyful occasions, so don’t be afraid to dress to match the mood. The bigger and brighter the print you opt for, the better. This season has a particular fondness for bright color clothing, so embrace that dopamine dressing trend and go for a printed midi dress in mood-boosting hues. This look offers maximum impact with minimal effort. While summer is largely about rainbow brights, dramatic monochrome prints will look chic and stand the test of time.
For a summer christening add your best sandals and you're good to go. When it comes to silhouette choice, opt for more flowy styles, over more bodycon designs, a tea dress, or shirt dress are good choices.
2. A smart suit
Two-piece suits can work fabulously for a sleek and contemporary look that’s comfortable for all-day wear. Look for colorful blazer and trouser combos or lift more classic, muted hues by layering a vibrant blouse underneath. Wide-leg trousers or culottes not only look elegant and feminine but deliver on comfort too and are one of many big fashion trends 2022 has on offer. You’ll be able to get plenty of wear from your two-piece beyond the christening, styling them out as separates, making it a worthy investment,
3. A chic jumpsuit
Christenings tend to involve running around with little ones, so if you are worried about a wardrobe malfunction, a flattering jumpsuit is a perfect solution. Go sleeveless on really hot days, or, if you’re not keen on showing off your arms, a caped or angel sleeve is very flattering. Cropped jumpsuits are a great alternative to the best petite dresses if you're shorter in stature, while a wide-leg style will suit hourglass body shapes—flaring out from the waist to create the illusion of a longer, leaner frame.
4. A dress coat
We're not talking about your best winter coat or even a chic camel coat. When it comes to dress-coats for a christening, or a wedding guest look, this style very much draws inspiration from the royal family and royal occasions. To nail this look you're either looking for a dress and coat co-ord, where a shift, knee-length dress has a coordinating coat in the same length, or you can pair a frock style, tailored coat, over a neat shift dress in a well-matched hue to replicate the idea. If your capsule wardrobe already contains a dress you'd like to wear, give it a seasonal refresh with a wrap coat, or a lightweight trench coat.
5. Comfortable yet fancy shoes
Much like weddings, christenings can be long days and involve a lot of standing up so make sure you choose smart, comfortable shoes. Consider a wedge or block heel, or take your lead from Meghan Markle and Kate Middleton's shoe choices and choose a dainty court shoe. The pointed toe will make your legs look longer, while the narrow heel adds height and elegance. One of the most versatile styles of shoes, they’ll more than earn their keep in your wardrobe—working for interviews, work, and weddings, too. And if you can't abide heels, we've also got a great guide for comfortable flats for women, that has a section on dressy flats too.
6. Hats and Headpieces
Christenings that are erring on the more formal side will generally require a hat or headpiece. Look as this as an opportunity to really dress up and embrace some of the latest accessory trends to inform your choices. When it comes how to wear headbands, the more formal the occasion, the more luxe fabrications you're looking for. For a headband for a christening, look for sculptural styles, tulle and embellishment detailing to ensure you stand out (in a good way). Don't opt for anything too large though so you can comfortably wear it all day.
When it comes to bags to wear to a christening, remember that, like with a wedding, you'll want to travel as light as possible. As a dressier occasion, you'll want to leave your best tote bag at home, even if it does give a nod to the handbag trends 2022. Opt for smaller, delicate clutch bags with wristlets or one of the best crossbody bags - as this will allow you to go hands-free and enjoy a day spent with friends and family in comfort and style. Select bags that just fit your essentials, otherwise you'll be tempted to fill it with items you simply don't need to be carrying.