What to wear to a Christening or baby naming ceremony – according to etiquette and fashion experts

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  • Our social calendars are filling up fast which can bring a whole host of wardrobe dilemmas, one of them being what to wear to a Christening or baby naming ceremony.

    Whilst most of us know the general rules when it comes to what to wear at a wedding, when it comes to Christenings, it’s not quite as obvious. 

    However much like weddings, they can have a dress code and there are certain outfits that are seen as more appropriate.

    Luckily, you don’t have to worry about upstaging anyone but most services, especially if they are in a church, will be more formal so it’s still important to dress smart.

    What to wear to a Christening or baby naming

    If you’re stuck on what to wear to a Christening then we’ve consulted the experts and scoured the shops for some failsafe looks to give you all the outfit inspiration you need.

    Can you wear white to Christening?

    Unlike wearing white to a wedding, you don’t have to worry about avoiding white when wondering what to wear to a Christening. In fact wearing white is sometimes encouraged especially if you’re the parents or godparents. 

    “White is usually only worn by the parents if they choose to do so,” adds Lucy.

    If you need outfit inspiration from someone who always gets it right, look at what the Duchess of Cambridge has worn at her children’s Christenings.

    Cos Gathered Midi Dress

    Cos Gathered Midi Dress | RRP: £89 | Sizes: 6-18

    If white feels too stark, cream or ecru is a stylish alternative. This simple, yet elegant dress has a relaxed fit for comfort. The puff sleeves and soft pleating add interest and a modern edge. We can always get on board a dress that has pockets too!

    VIEW NOW – £89 | COS

    Can you wear black to a wedding?

    Similarly to wearing black to a wedding, there are no strict rules about wearing black to a Christening. However, with black often being associated with mourning and funerals, it might be wise to steer clear of the dark hue.

    “Black is accepted – but it is a little sombre. After all, it is supposed to be a happy occasion!,” says Lucy.

    If you do want to wear black or navy, lift the look with colour popping accessories or a punchy print to break up the block shade.

    “If a little black dress really is your best fashion friend, consider the shape and fabric, too. A stiff pencil shape can feel too much like workwear, whereas floaty fabrics that have movement feel more dressy for the occasion,” explains style expert and fashion editor Joely Chilcott.

    “Consider elements like sheer sleeves, pleats and belts that will elevate a black dress for a Christening. And a pop of red lippy never goes amiss!”

    M&S Floral Button Midi Skater Dress

    M&S Floral Button Midi Skater Dress | RRP: £45 | Sizes: 6-24

    This printed midi dress is a winner if you prefer a darker colour palette. The splash of blue helps to brighten the black base for a more uplifting aesthetic. It has a tie waist to define the middle and a flared out skirt making it comfy and easy-to-wear.

    VIEW NOW – £45 | M&S

    Should you wear a hat to Christening?

    Even with weddings, the shift in more casual affairs means many people are choosing not to wear hats and there are no rules on headgear when it comes to Christenings either.

    “You don’t have to wear a hat, but obviously if you feel comfortable doing so, then go for it. Not many people do these days, especially as christenings are regularly held as part of a Sunday service where most attendees are dressed smartly, but not really for a big occasion,” explains Lucy.

    Hairbands and hair accessories are having a bit of a moment so if you do fancy adding some bling to your barnet, then a jewelled hairband is a more subtle alternative to a hat. When considering what to wear to a Christening don’t forget about classic jewellery either. A pair of statement earrings is a great way of injecting colour and will give you and your outfit a boost. 

    Oliver Bonas Dillon Loop & Stone Drop Earrings

    Oliver Bonas Dillon Loop & Stone Drop Earrings | RRP: £18 

    Ooze understated elegance in these drop earrings. They feature blue bead detailing with classic gold hoops and a stud fastening.

    VIEW NOW – £18 | Oliver Bonas

    Can you wear jeans to a Christening?

    Christenings are considered special occasions so wearing jeans to a Christening can come across as a bit too casual. However, there are probably some styles you can get away with wearing, especially if the service is in a more lowkey venue.

    If you do choose to wear jeans avoid anything ripped or distressed and look to darker washes for a smarter finish. Offset the casual style with a silky pussybow blouse and a pair of heels – jeans and trainers are a big no-no. 

    In the summer, white jeans teamed with a smart shirt and polished blazer sits on the right side of appropriate.

    Another exception to the rule would be a smart denim jacket worn over a printed midi dress or jumpsuit.

    H&M Slim Mom High Ankle Jeans

    H&M Slim Mom High Ankle Jeans | RRP: £19.99 | Sizes: 4-22

    These stretch-denim jeans have an extra-high waist for a flattering finish. Swap the plain tee and elevate the look with a bold printed blouse. Finish off with heels to keep the look smart and elegant too.

    VIEW NOW – £19.99 | H&M

    Should you avoid short skirts at a Christening?

    Super short dresses and churches don’t really mix so opt for a midi or maxi length skirt or dress instead. 

    “If wearing a dress or a skirt, stick to a midi or maxi hemline. This style is flattering and comfortable for a daytime occasion,” says Lucy.

    Longer length dresses and skirts tend to be more comfortable too, especially if you’re having to sit down a lot or run around after the little ones. Look to floaty styles such as tea dresses with flared out skirts for an effortlessly chic look.

    Zara Floral Print Skirt

    Zara Floral Print Skirt  | RRP: £29.99 | Sizes S-L

    The lace trim gives this floral midi skirt extra style kudos. Wear with the matching top for a show-stopping head-to-toe look or team with a block colour blouse or top. It sits high on the waist so would suit a slightly cropped top or a tucked-in blouse.

    VIEW NOW – £29.99 | Zara

    What to wear to a Christening – things to consider

    Where is the Christening being held?

    Checking the aesthetics of the venue is a good place to start when it comes to choosing your outfit. A village hall or pub function room is more casual whereas churches have stricter guidelines.

    “Whilst there is no set dress code for this type of event, what you do need to remember is that if the ceremony is being held in a church, then dressing appropriately for the occasion is essential,” explains Lucy Challenger, etiquette expert and founder of Polo & Tweed.

    Your outfit will need to be more reserved when attending a church service, which means longer hemlines and not showing too much skin.

    “Traditionally shoulders would need to be covered during a religious service so steer away from strappy tops and low-cut tops, along with overly tight-fitting clothing and miniskirts and dresses,” adds Lucy.

    It’s also worth noting that churches can be drafty so a smart coverup such as a blazer is worth considering.

    Mango Floral Print Dress

    Mango Floral Print Dress | RRP: £59.99 | Sizes: 4-26

    This fit and flare design is oh-so-flattering. The adjustable drawstring waist cinches you in and the skirt flares out for a floaty and feminine silhouette that allows easy movement too. The paisley print adds colour and needs minimal styling – just add some barely-there sandals.

    VIEW NOW – £59.99 | MANGO

    & Other Stories Boxy Silk Blend Blazer

    & Other Stories Boxy Silk Blend Blazer | RRP: £120 | Sizes: 6-18

    You’re guaranteed to get plenty of wear out of this blazer beyond just the Christening. The double-breasted design keeps it smart and classic whilst the oversized fit gives it more of a contemporary spin. Wear over your dress during the service for an extra layer that won’t compromise your killer outfit.

    VIEW NOW – £120 | & OTHER STORIES

    Think about injecting some colour

    Although it may feel smart to stick to a muted colour palette, Christenings are great opportunities to add some colour to your look. Cheery hues such as yellow will work like a dream and sweet, romantic prints such as florals are also a stylish option.

    “Bright colours and pastel shades are the safest,” says Lucy.

    As previously mentioned, you don’t have to worry about stealing focus when thinking about what to wear to a Christening, so embracing vibrant colour and playful prints are actively encouraged. A joyous occasion such as this deserves happy hues.

    “Mood-boosting hues will reflect the emotions of the day, so don’t be afraid to go bold,” says Joely.

    “Remember ditsy prints are slimming so can help you feel more confident. Graphic prints pack a punch and are a real showstopper. Consider timeless patterns like florals, stripes or polka dots so that you can make the most of your wardrobe and re-wear your outfit for weddings or garden parties in the future.”

    Rixo Dallia Checkerboard Red Midi Dress

    Rixo Dallia Checkerboard Red Midi Dress | RRP: £265 | Sizes: 6-16

    Rixo are pros when it comes to unique and eye-catching prints and this beauty has really caught our eye. Unapologetically feminine, It has a voluminous tiered skirt and frilly sleeves for added interest. Just add a pair of neutral-hued courts or sandals.

    VIEW NOW – £265 | Rixo

    Do consider dress alternatives

    A dress may be your go-to when deciding what to wear to a Christening but there are plenty of other stylish options too if that’s not your bag. A jumpsuit is an instant outfit maker and has that throw-on and go appeal, much like a statement dress.

    Alternatively, a stylish two-piece has serious longevity and can be mixed and matched with other pieces in your wardrobe, creating endless wardrobe options. 

    Phase Eight Georgette Knot Bodice Jumpsuit

    Phase Eight Georgette Knot Bodice Jumpsuit | RRP: £125 | Sizes: 6-20

    Crafted from soft chiffon, this flattering jumpsuit features ruched knot detail at the waist to show off your shape and wide-leg trousers to help lengthen legs. You’ll get plenty of wear out of it too. As well as dressing it up with heels, you can add trainers for a sporty spin at the weekend.

    VIEW NOW – £125 | Phase Eight

    Zara Collarless Blazer and Trousers with Lined Belt

    Zara Collarless Blazer and Trousers with Lined Belt | RRP: £79.99 | Sizes: XS-XL

    Give boyish tailoring a playful update with a pop of colour. An investment piece you won’t regret buying, this suit has a flattering high waist and a built-in belt for extra definition. Wear with a simple cream cami or fine knit during winter and finish off with a pair of sleek mules for a modern and polished alternative to a dress.

    VIEW TROUSERS NOW – £29.99 | Zara

    VIEW BLAZER NOW – £49.99 | Zara

    The best high heels for a Christening

    Although Christenings don’t tend to be as long as weddings, comfort is still key if you’re standing around for much of the day. You don’t have to wear heels but smart shoes are more appropriate. Consider a block heel or chic mule.

    “Avoid wearing trainers. Flat shoes are appropriate, and heels are fine, but it is wise to avoid any footwear with too high a heel,” says Lucy.

    Dune Cassie Snaffle Trim Slingbacks

    Dune Cassie Snaffle Trim Slingbacks | RRP: £90 | Sizes: 3-8

    You’ll wonder how you ever coped without these wear-anywhere heels. They have a comfy block heel and an adjustable buckle for the perfect fit. In a chic ecru hue with gold hardware they have a luxe, ladylike feel that will work for dresses or trousers.

    VIEW NOW – £90 | Dune

     

    Kurt Geiger London Princely Mules | RRP: £139 | Sizes: 2-9

    We love these snazzy slip-ons that deliver on comfort as well as style. They have a crystal-encrusted strap for an extra dose of glamour – ideal for jazzing up your Christening outfit. These would look extra chic when teamed with other whites.

    VIEW NOW – £139 | Kurt Geiger