A couple of weeks ago, Women’s Voices for Change looked at options for guests at a daytime wedding. This week, our friend Debbi O’Shea takes a look at what a guest might choose to wear (with sleeves) to a dressier venue, evening nuptials! —Ed.

It’s official: Official wedding attire is no longer set in stone. This spring, Vera Wang, the trendsetting bridal designer, sent her models down the runway in shades of dahlia, scarlet, crimson, and vermillion. As brides make the leap to new traditions—and, make no mistake, they will—the “rules” of proper guest attire will again be blurred.

A few years ago, no one would have dreamed of wearing black to a wedding. Now, complete wedding parties, Moms included, wear black.  This makes shopping in or out of your closet a bit easier for a guest . . . particularly for those who are “sleeve challenged.

The Lela Rose gown on the left beautifully marries fashion and elegance. The exquisite silk and wool skirt with ruffled train is topped by a tulle bodice with a face-flattering bateau neckline, hand embroidery, and, yes, a sleeve. It’s an important gown, one that would make a fabulous choice for the mother of the bride at a black-tie wedding. (This dress is also available at Richards, contact me  at [email protected] for a personal viewing.)

Every closet should include a pair of perfectly cut black evening pants. If they are a lightweight wool, jersey or silk, they will be wearable 365 days a year.  The Talbot Runhof black lace coat, paired with the Etro pant, is an elegant and versatile wardrobe addition. The coat would also be lovely on top of a classic black dress or one with a pop of color.

Legs became the new “booty” the minute Angelina Jolie flashed us a thigh-full of Versace at this year’s Academy Awards.  Elie Saab, master of impeccable eveningwear, is always ahead of the curve. This seemingly simple jersey gown has it all; lot’s of leg, a long sleeve, and the color of today—vermillion. This is the type of dress that would look elegant anywhere in the world, and it would pack beautifully too. Now would be the perfect time to wear it to a black-tie wedding: Next year, vermillion may be off limits.

Ensembles that multi-task are a dream.  When both pieces pair as well with each other as with items you already own, that is true investment dressing.  The black cotton and silk top, from Alessandra Rich, looks fabulous with the ivory lace skirt, but would look equally good with the black Etro pant or slim-cut white jeans. Conversely, the lace skirt would look chic paired with a black turtleneck and boots at a holiday party.