When you’re nonbinary, finding the perfect wedding outfit in a sea of dresses and suits made for cis people can take the fun out of shopping. You deserve to feel confident and powerful on your wedding day. As a designer specializing in custom wedding clothes, I’ve learned guiding principles that can help find the right nonbinary wedding attire for you.
Ideas for Nonbinary Wedding Attire
These tips will help you find nonbinary wedding attire that feels like you without confining you to a traditional suit or dress.
1. Find a style that reads the way you want to be read.
It all starts with finding a style that reads the way you want to be read. Thinking of the big picture, ask yourself what will make you feel powerful and affirmed on your wedding day.
This can be tricky for nonbinary people. Our bodies are the shapes our bodies are. It can be disheartening when clothes emphasize our hips, chests, narrow or wide shoulders in ways that undermine instead of affirm our gender. We want our bodies to reflect the way we see ourselves. Off-the-rack clothing makes this challenging.
The beauty of custom design is that we can play with fabric until we get it right. You get to show up to your wedding looking the way you want to look. For some of my clients, their custom nonbinary wedding attire has been what confirms to everyone that they don’t conform to the gender they were assigned at birth.
2. Tailor to masculinize or feminize.
Once you’ve identified what style is most affirming, it’s time for a tailor to make it just right. There’s so much a good tailor can do to masculinize or feminize nonbinary wedding attire.
When I work with someone on their wedding clothes, I start by making a pattern and a mock up. It’s an amazing way to help my client set the tone for how they want to present. I’m always grateful to be part of this moving process of figuring out what will be most affirming for someone.
For instance, if a client wants a more feminine look, I will tailor their clothes to accentuate their hips, waist, underbust, and bust. I customize all of the elements to “take the air out,” meaning the clothes will be more form-fitting so that we can see the person.
On the other hand, if a client wants a more masculine look, we could mix a traditional men’s style with tailoring to make it suit that person’s body. I avoid overemphasizing the waist and hips for stronger lines.
Another way I make pants read more masculine is by lowering the waistline to at least the middle of the hip. This creates a straight line from the hips down. A waist band at the natural waist creates definition around the hips.
3. Combine the right fabric with the right cut.
The style and tailoring of nonbinary wedding attire are supported with careful fabric choices. The texture and weight of fabric affect how they hang and how someone reads in them as a result.
Softer fabrics like chiffon, lightweight crepe, and thin organza tend to read feminine. They fall elegantly and create soft lines in garments.
Some laces add femininity as well, but even the right lace can add a more masculine touch. Often when people hear “lace,” they think of alençon lace . There is so much more to the world of lace!
If you’re interested in something that will read more masculine, like suiting, stiffer fabrics can be used. Inner tailoring and pockets also enhances the effect as long as the fabric isn’t cut to follow a person’s curves.
We are talking about nonbinary wedding attire, though, so there is a sweet spot that’s not hyperfemme or super masculine. There’s a fine line between a masculine tailored look with a very straight shape and a more feminine look that goes in at the waist and out at the hip. A garment can be tailored to skim the body without following curves too closely.
4. Functional details should hit in affirming spots.
While fabric and style might seem more straightforward, the placement of functional details also matters in your nonbinary wedding attire. Who doesn’t love a pocket? Depending on how you want to present, your pockets may need different placement than on your off-the-rack clothing.
Women’s wear is notorious for utterly ridiculous fake pockets. As a consequence, new clients approach asking for pockets as if it were the biggest inconvenience for me as a designer. It is not! I’m happy to add working pockets to any garment.
So how do you add functional pockets without drawing unwanted attention to certain body parts, such as hips? I put pockets in unexpected places. This way a client gets the functionality they want and the cut that most affirms them.
5. Find the right fit (and the right tailor).
Maybe you’ve identified the style of nonbinary wedding attire you want. The final step is figuring out how details of the sewing masculinizes or feminizes a garment. Having a good tailor is invaluable here!
Darts and style lines, in particular, affect how clothing sits and how it’s read. A good tailor knows exactly how these elements will affect a garment in the way that is most affirming for a client. It’s also why I do multiple fittings!
Whatever you decide to wear for your nonbinary wedding attire, you deserve an outfit that affirms your gender. Are you interested in working with me to make those dreams a reality? Reach out, and let’s start the journey together.