The Type of Dress You Should Avoid Wearing to a Christening


Much like weddings, christenings have a dress code. While it’s a fair assumption most know the drill when it comes to nuptials (don’t wear white, try not to upstage the parents, and cover up if it’s religious), I’ll be the first to admit I don’t understand the rules of dressing for a christening. As someone who has attended a mere two in their lifetime, I decided to speak to etiquette expert and stylist Isobel Kershaw, who gave me some brilliant and simple rules to follow on the best kinds of dresses for the event in question. “There are guidelines for a christening, but not as many rules as there are for a wedding. Of course, with a wedding, you’re trying not to upstage the bride with your outfit, but upstaging a baby isn’t a problem,” says Kershaw.

From prints to fastenings, we’ve found the best dress options for all types of christenings. 

“For a christening, you really want your look to be less structured and softer. Although, avoid something like a loose cardigan, as that’s too informal. Midi and maxi dresses or even an up-down hem are ideal. While short dresses might work for an evening do for a wedding, they’re inappropriate and not a good fit for a christening. If you really want to look to someone who always gets it right, see what the Duchess of Cambridge has worn.”

The Duchess of Cambridge in an Alexander McQueen dress and a Jane Taylor headband for Prince Louis’s christening.

Kershaw also has advice on the type of color palette you should go for, and I was surprised to hear that it’s not a safe bet to go for more muted tones. “Don’t always think to go for neutrals,” says Isobel. “Try pastels and bright colors—it’s a happy event, after all. You don’t want to go for stark colors or stripes, as that can seem too corporate. If you do go for block colors, think about your yellow-based reds, as these flatter everyone, but break it up with accessories and jewelry.” That said, it is traditional for christening attendees to wear lighter colors, even white, for the celebration, so no shade is truly off-limits. 

Don’t disregard prints for a christening. 

As for prints, Kershaw recommends dresses such as those from Rixo, as the brand has “modernized [the printed dress] and made them look a bit more vibrant.”

An array of hues and colours can work for christenings. 

Besides short hemlines, are there any other dress styles to avoid? “Steer clear of oversized dresses, as they can look too informal—it’s best to keep those for a beach. If you have a big bust, a wrap dress might be one to avoid, especially as you have a baby pulling at it.” Really, as it goes with anything you wear, the most important aspect should be feeling confident and comfortable in your attire. 

Before you scroll down for the shopping picks, here’s a quick reminder about Kershaw’s suggestions:

Style of dress: Soft silhouettes with a focus on structured necklines

Hemlines: Midi, long or asymmetric hem

Colors: Pastel tones, white, yellow-based reds

Prints: Florals are ideal, although others are fine, so feel free to experiment

Avoid: Anything too dark, such as navy or black and white and stripes, as these are too corporate. Wrap and oversized dresses are too unstructured.

Kershaw highly recommends pastel colors for christenings. 

Reformation never seems to get it wrong. 

Staud named this color “grapefruit” and I’m obsessed. 

This cheery dress is befitting of a happy occasion. 

This dress is such a practical buy and can be worn year-round. 

Baby pink is such a great option. 

This $35 price tag is incredibly tempting. 

Another pastel winner. 

Reformation’s silk dresses are truly something special. 

I’m in love with this lilac hue. 

Florals for summer may not be groundbreaking, but they are pretty. 

This one is sure to get a ton of wear. 

I simply can’t choose my favorite Reformation dress right now—there are too many excellent ones!

This Eloquii dress is a showstopper. 

This floral print instantly puts me in a good mood. 

I’m obsessed with this beautiful Colombian brand. 

I’ll never say no to gingham prints. 

This is a beautiful dress if the christening is more formal. 

Pretty in pink. 

Ganni is my favorite Danish label. 

You can never go wrong with Madewell. 

So many pastels; so little time. 

This stunning dress by Jonathan Simkhai will definitely garner compliments. 

These rainbow colors are calling my name. 

Turquoise truly looks great on everyone. 

This dress is such a steal at $35. 

Next, the Top 7 Summer Trends, According to J.Crew’s TikTok-Viral Head Designer. 

This post originally appeared on Who What Wear UK.

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