Picking out an outfit from your closet is hard enough on those days you feel like you have “nothing to wear” while you throw half your closet across your floor, and it’s even harder to find the perfect outfit to wear for engagement pictures, and knowing it has to coordinate with your partner!
When it comes to what to wear for engagement pictures, I gotcha covered. I’ll talk about styles, details, color palettes, and how to make sure your engagement picture outfits represent not only you, but the location you’re shooting in as well.
Don’t forget to scroll to the bottom for a list of links to exact outfits I recommend!
I always recommend solid colors for engagement picture outfits. A bit of ombre or a small, non-distracting pattern can be fun, but always avoid thing striped, patterns larger than your fist, or anything with text or crazy graphics. Your engagement pictures are about you, so your engagement picture outfits should make the focus on you–not take away from it.
Colors that tend to work well with my editing style are pastels, brighter colors, jewel tones (great for the fall!), or of course good ol’ light colored neutrals (like white, tan, and light grey). Simple, easy patterns like small polka dots or florals can work, too.
If you’re dying for a pattern, stick to something simple, like small polka dots or a uniform pattern that isn’t bigger than your fist. Here are two good examples of patterns done right:
Solid colors don’t have to feel plain and boring. Add visual interest to your engagement session outfits by choosing clothing with texture or in fun materials. Anything that can create a “pattern” without using different colors is awesome, and materials that play with light are extra romantic. Think lace, chunky knits, pleats, and chiffon/organza.
Photos might only capture 1/4000th of a second (literally), but the tiny details of what’s going on in that moment makes all the difference between a beautiful photo full of life and feeling, and a photo that just feels “meh.” Adding movement to your engagement photos can be done in a few ways, like leaving your hair down and whipping it around a bit, but your clothing choices make a HUGE difference!
I recommend flowy skirts or dresses, tops with bell sleeves, anything with some fringe on it, wide leg pants that’ll blow in the wind, or even something as simple as dangly earrings if you’re not into the rest of that.
Movement is huge is making your photos feel alive and candid rather than so stiff and posed, so focus on this one when choosing your outfits!
I LOVE BOTH OF THESE PICTURES FROM ABBY AND NICK’S ENGAGEMENT SESSION, BUT THE MOVEMENT IN THE FIRST PICTURE FROM HER HAIR AND JEWELRY MAKES SUCH A HUGE DIFFERENCE IN THE FEELING OF THE PHOTOS!
HERE ARE MORE GREAT EXAMPLES OF MOVEMENT FROM PAST ENGAGEMENT SESSIONS:
(OKAY, YES, THAT ONE IS A PROPOSAL, BUT YOU GET THE IDEA!)
Where you get your pictures taken will also play a big part when it comes to what to wear for engagement pictures. Getting pictures done at the beach? Go for linen or chiffon and something more casual. Getting pictures done at a bar? Get dressier and wear a bright pop of color to stand out from the busy scene behind you.
Will you be indoors? Outdoors? Is it summer, winter, or in between? You can definitely make a lot of things work in different environments, but a super stiff outfit might not be the right outfit for a beach engagement even though it would work really well in a city scene, and a casual outfit might not work as well with a city skyline background at sunset as it would for a cozy coffee shoot in your living room.
A lot of couples like to go with one casual outfit and one dressier one, but there’s a right way to do casual. A more casual dress or skirt works, but also jeans, trousers, or even shorts can work well if done right! Here are some of my favorite casual engagement picture outfits (also check out the pattern and textures!):
I always have a lot of couples asking, “what should guys wear for engagement pictures?” Let me quickly put a disclaimer that anyone can wear literally whatever they want…but in the context this is usually asked, here’s my answer:
Go with a suit for the fancier outfit, either with slacks (my favorite) or nice, dark jeans. Khakis/chinos also work well if you’re doing an in-the-middle-of-fancy-and-casual look, and transition to a casual outfit pairing super well, too. If you’re a dude and you don’t feel like changing during your engagement pictures, considering wearing a shirt under your suit jacket or sweater that can be worn alone so all you have to do is take one piece off, and make sure you have pants that transition well, too. Chinos or jeans are good for this. You can also make a half-outfit-change, and just switch out your top or bottom so you get some variety without having to pack a whole second outfit.
I love all the outfits I’ve shown above for both the guys and gals, but here’s a few more:
(a navy suit is basically the push-up bra for guys, and an easy go-to that most men already have in their closet!)
(remember, casual means different things to different people…)
Multiple outfits seen in this post are ones I’ve personally selected for my clients, which makes it easier for them (and you) to know you’re choosing something that’ll photograph super well. Here’s a somewhat organized list of outfits I’d highly recommend to wear for engagement photos.
I may make a small commission if you purchase from these links.
WHAT TO WEAR FOR ENGAGEMENT PICTURES BY COLOR AND SEASON:
Embroidery Maxi Dress with Pearls
Bell Sleeve Shift Dress with Pockets
WHAT TO WEAR FOR ENGAGEMENT PICTURES WITH PATTERNS:
Cotton Short Sleeve Maxi Dress
WHAT TO WEAR FOR ENGAGEMENT PICTURES WITH TEXTURE:
Mesh Sleeve Pearl/Embroidered Detail Dress (plus size here)
Tassel Bell Sleeve Textured Sweater
WHAT GUYS SHOULD WEAR FOR ENGAGEMENT PICTURES:
Navy Suit (if it’s not in your closet already, add one regardless!!!)
If you haven’t scheduled a session yet and want to, you can reach out to me here. Also, be sure to check out some of the engagement sessions seen in this blog post to see more and find the exact items they wore:
Jenna and Adam’s Downtown Chicago Engagement
Brittany and Nick’s Central Park Engagement
Carrie and Noah’s Chicago River North Engagement
Josephine and Koray’s Proposal
Audrey and Will’s Cincinnati Engagement