Is that so much to ask?
July 16, 2009 5:21 PM   Subscribe

My daughter is getting married next month. It will be an outdoor wedding. Help me find a dress!

The ceremony and reception will be at a family member's home, outside near the trout stream; grassy, nature-y, but classy nonetheless. I need suggestions for something informal but not like I'm at a family-reunion-type thing, nor anything that requires heels. I'm open to anything, and if you can direct me to some online shops, that would be great. Something summery, ethereal, comfortable.
posted by wafaa to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (17 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
what's your budget? what's your figure like? how old are you? what parts of your body do you like to show off/hide, if any? also: is the wedding somewhere where it will be dry heat? humid? cool?
posted by lia at 5:25 PM on July 16, 2009

My wedding was a similar venue and vibe, and my MIL bought the perfect dress at Anthropologie.
posted by gatorae at 5:54 PM on July 16, 2009

As lia implies, it's hard to give you any specific pointers without knowing a few more details about you and the location of the wedding. You'll also want to to find out whether your daughter has any kind of color palette in mind, and you may even want to talk to her fiancé's mother to see if you two can (or should) coördinate your dresses.

Those particulars aside, Coldwater Creek, Shabby Apple, Anne Taylor, and, as mattdidthat suggested, j.crew have a good variety of dresses that are flattering, sophisticated, and suitable for a wide range of ages and occasions. If you're hesitant to shop on eBay, J. Crew often has pretty good deals in their "sale" section.

If you're looking for a higher-end designer look, you can also find some good deals on Bluefly.
posted by Spinneret at 5:57 PM on July 16, 2009

(whoops: ann taylor, with no "e")
posted by Spinneret at 6:00 PM on July 16, 2009

Response by poster: Lia and Spinneret, thanks for asking, that info would help, duh.
I'm 54, 115 lbs. and 5'5". I hate my legs--I call them "chicken legs". My upper arms are getting flabby, and my 34D boobs are sagging. So I definitely need to wear a bra. Sleeveless would be ok, (my arms aren't that bad) if my straps don't show. I've never had much luck with strapless bras. The temperature in August for my part of the world averages around 75-85F. My budget? I'd like to keep it under 100.00...
posted by wafaa at 6:20 PM on July 16, 2009

Oooh! Last comment, I swear, but Nimli has some lovely dresses that also happen to be eco-friendly, organic, and über-comfortable.

As opposed to unter-comfortable.
posted by Spinneret at 6:21 PM on July 16, 2009

Best answer: If it's an outdoor wedding and you're not wearing heels, you'll want the hem to just below the bottom of your kneecap. Maybe a bit longer but not much. Midcalf without heels will make your legs look either stumpy or like sticks.

Personally, I would go with the classic combo of cap sleeves or thick straps, slight faux wrap, high-ish waistline and A-line skirt. I'm a pear-shape broad shoulders and this is what reliably looks decent on me. YMMV. This and this are decent examples of what I'm talking about.

And then you'll want a good quality wrap or cardigan to go with the dress. That plus nice sandals and you'll be good to go.

BTW, the advice to wear this style of dress comes from What Not To Wear.
posted by wholebroad at 6:25 PM on July 16, 2009

Response by poster: gatorae, thanks for the link. That's my style! Still looking...
posted by wafaa at 6:26 PM on July 16, 2009

Response by poster: Something like this--I like the neck line. Only longer.
posted by wafaa at 6:30 PM on July 16, 2009

I'm going to go out on a limb and assume you are not a person who thinks shopping is fun based on the title of your post. Here is how I would approach it:

* Get fitted for a good bra. If your bra is > 1 year old, it does not fit you any more. I cannot stress this enough. There is a reason they call them foundation garments.

* Wearing your new bra, go to a place like Marshall's or Ross or TJ Maxx or Loehman's, where there is a huge selection of stuff from all different manufacturers. You will need to allot time for this. You will have to try on a lot of stuff.

* Pick out 6 dresses that of varying styles that you think might work. The idea here is to cast a broad net - maybe something loose and floaty, a tailored suit, whatever looks like it's a possibility.

* Try things on to narrow down what general style you want. Then go back out and get more specific. If you think the floaty style works, get a few to try on.

Really, the key is to just keep trying things on. Bring a water bottle and a snack in your purse, because it can get exhausting if you're not the shopping type.

Oh, and don't forget separates - a skirt and nice top could work. I am a huge fan of scarves too. They make an outfit look fancy without being fussy, and can hide your arms if you don't like them.
posted by selfmedicating at 6:38 PM on July 16, 2009

Response by poster: wholebroad, these are fantastic! I can see me wearing something like that. Still looking... but you guys are helping me narrow it down. Thanks.
posted by wafaa at 6:39 PM on July 16, 2009

Since you liked that dress from Anthropologie, you might like these two dresses from J. Crew. This dress also has an interesting neckline, and the detailing will draw attention up and away from your legs. It also has an interesting back (another good leg-distracter!), and it looks like you could wear a racer-back bra with it. This dress also has neckline detailing, and also looks like you could wear a normal bra with it. Both would be very cute with flat sandals.
posted by gatorae at 6:55 PM on July 16, 2009

This page at Spiegel might help.
posted by Fairchild at 7:07 PM on July 16, 2009

i would also recommend bcbg for that haute-hippie look. i also find their stuff at marshall's/tjmax all the time at a big ol' discount.
posted by apostrophe at 7:40 PM on July 16, 2009

Best answer: I think from your description of your figure -- quite slender, but not thrilled about legs/arms -- you'd want to accentuate your waist. The dress you like at anthropologie, and the links provided by gatorae, fit your stated preferences in a dress very well. But I think the links provided by wholebroad fit your figure better and would be more flattering on you, as they follow your slim figure, rather than relying on the exposed legs/arms to create a silhouette. If I were shopping with you in the Marshalls/Ross/Loehmann's/Syms marathon suggested by selfmedicating, I'd bring you both kinds of dresses, because I think you'd probably like the way you look in a dress like this than in the bohemian-resort-type dress.

Just my two cents.
posted by palliser at 8:59 PM on July 16, 2009

"more than in the bohemian-resort-type dress," sorry.
posted by palliser at 9:01 PM on July 16, 2009

Best answer: Also try Garnet Hill. It's like more casual, more adult Anthropologie.

By the way, if you're 115 and 5'5", try a 32DD instead of a 34D -- that might help with the sagging. (In case you don't know, when you go down a band-size, you have to go up a letter to maintain the same-volume cup size.)
posted by thebazilist at 7:31 AM on July 17, 2009 [1 favorite]

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