On Lesson #89: Summer Wedding Guest Dress Ideas

by Rachel on July 13, 2011

There have been a lot of takeaways after I wrote about weddings last week. That discussion? Was wonderful! It has inspired so many more posts, the first of which is a fun one, because it’s about fashion.

Lesson #89: Reward yourself for going to wedding showers, bachelorette parties, and weddings.

Eric and I are driving up to Kansas for a wedding in August, the weekend of my birthday, and I decided that I’d put this lesson into action. When I picked out a dress for SXSW, I wanted to wear it all summer, but since the smaller size I had to buy nearly strangled me — and I have no plans to crash diet or have a rib removed in the next month — I decided to look for something new.

Since summer is over as far as retail stores are concerned, there are a lot of good sales going on now, making it a great time to shop for a party dress! I was shopping for something…

  • semi-formal
  • with a defined waist
  • that worked with accessories I already owned
  • under $150 (preferably way under)
  • that made me feel pretty and happy

I pinned a lot of dresses to my Pinterest board, but they don’t all fit the requirements I just listed; I just wanted to get a better idea of what I liked. But here are the dresses I put on my short list.

1. BCBG Milo Chiffon Dress — $99. I never used to love blue, but lately I’ve been liking it more and more for fashion and decor, especially light blue. I always think of it as a color for pale blondes, but I love how this dress looks against the model’s dark skin. I also love that the straps can be pulled down for an off-the-shoulder style since that’s my favorite style to wear. The price is good, the waist is there…definitely a good option!

2. J Crew Arabelle Dress — $90 – $225. I read a tip on J’s Everyday Fashion suggesting that when looking for dresses to wear as a wedding guest, you check out…bridesmaid dresses! I thought that was kind of genius; bridesmaid dresses are getting cuter and cuter these days. That led me to J. Crew and I was thrilled that the color I liked best was on clearance for $129. The sweetheart neckline, cut, and color are ladylike and sort of 1950s, and pistachio is one of my favorite colors to wear (and in general).

3. Modcloth Long Island Longing Dress — $138. When I wrote about the Anthropologie dresses I was considering for SXSW, a lot of you suggested Modcloth. I love the site; the only problem is the best dresses are always sold out! I was really excited when I found this dress. I love the stripes, love the blue, love the sweetheart neckline, the small waist and full skirt…basically just everything! It was on the pricier side, but I could see myself wearing it a lot.

I was really torn between #2 and #3, but when I went back to JCrew.com the next day, the dress was an additional 30 percent off the sale price! Um, SOLD. But when I went through all the steps to check out and got to the final page, they said…”Oops! We don’t actually have that size and color!” I wanted the dress so badly so I went up a size (um, or two) but ordered the petite (I’m…not tall). I hope it’s not too big, but if it is, I’ll happily have it tailored.

I have accessories already, so my main challenge now is figuring out how to get this hair and make-up (via Brooklyn Bride/Phi Style).

So. Fucking. Perfect.

Does anyone have any other great summer wedding dresses to share? Either one you’ve bought or one you’re lusting over?