dress me!
May 16, 2016 1:12 PM   Subscribe

I am the sole bridesmaid/maid of honor for my sister's wedding, and she's told me I can wear whatever I want. Yay! But I have no idea where to go from there. Boo! Help me figure out a look?

-She's getting married in August in the most humid, swampy part of the Mid-Atlantic region. So I would like something breathable, natural fibers. Knee-length to tea-length is ideal. I'll also be running around a lot at the reception and would like to be comfortable.

-Her dress is ivory, long, and very classic/simple/no frills. I would like something that won't look out of place next to her, so no busy patterns, poufs, or sparkles. I don't have any color guidance, though she is not really a fan of navy blue, and I am not really a fan of champagne.

-My body type is broad shoulders, wide hips, and not really much of a waist. Long torso, short legs. Size 10. Can that be flattered? Let's try!

-Accessories: if you feel like helping me put together an entire look, that would be AWESOME. I don't have a lot of formal events in my life so I'm not sure how to 'style' the look.

-Budget: about $200, not including shoes. I would also like to use this as an excuse to buy a pair of brightly colored shoes.

I've been looking around at the usual places (BHLDN, ModCloth, J Crew, etc), and everything coming up is super-boho or satin and stuffy. The venue is really fantastic and I don't want to look teleported in from a Katherine Heigl movie. Rent-the-Runway's options are mostly too fashion-y for me, and I'd prefer to buy something that I can keep in my closet and wear as a guest to other weddings.

posted by everybody had matching towels to Shopping (9 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
A friend of mine is built pretty similar to what you describe and she looks great in halter dresses.
posted by phunniemee at 1:22 PM on May 16, 2016

I think empire waist is flattering for a body like yours (and mine). I like this dress..
It comes in many colors but I like the sterling.
posted by ReluctantViking at 1:22 PM on May 16, 2016

I don't know about shape, but I just bought my bridesmaid dress at ASOS. It's not a super obvious place to look, but they had a wide variety of options and their return policy was pretty great if it just doesn't feel right. Good luck! I'm now on to shoes...
posted by sweetmarie at 1:25 PM on May 16, 2016 [1 favorite]

Maybe check out Boden? They have some different shapes, and their returns are easy.

When I was recently in a wedding with no guidance, I got the dress from there. I also asked about color, and got no help. Then I asked about the flowers - what were they like? I was told "fire" which was yellows, oranges, reds, magentas. So I went with a pale yellow dress and red shoes and red bracelet. It fit the vibe of the wedding but wasn't too matchey. Perhaps get an idea that way? Or from the invitation? (Just for a palette.)
posted by kendrak at 1:27 PM on May 16, 2016 [2 favorites]

My sister was my matron of honor and only attendant, and I also gave her free reign to pick a dress that suited her.

What she did was call Nordstrom, make an appointment with one of their free personal shoppers, and tell them about her budget, needs, size, and body type. I think the 2nd or 3rd dress she tried on ended up being the winner. Looked perfect, and came in under budget.

They didn't try to up sell her to any stupid expensive dresses. They did offer shoes and accessories to coordinate, but weren't pushy about it.
posted by antimony at 1:27 PM on May 16, 2016 [7 favorites]

1. When you wear dresses, what shape do you gravitate to? Pick something with that basic kind of style.

2. If you're the only bridesmaid, you can probably get away with just buying a nice dress somewhere rather than a Bridesmaid Dress. When you buy something for a nice event, where do you go? Start there.

3. I agree with asking things like what the flowers will be like, colors of decor, etc. It also sounds like you know what shade her dress is, which might be a clue for what color family to look at (for example very crisp bright colors probably won't look good next to a more cream or buff wedding dress).

4. If you know you want something in natural fibers, go to stores that already do that well.

5. I like the "personal shopper at Nordstrom" idea, though I'll say that I went into Bloomingdales for some alternatives to a traditional wedding dress (a gorgeous white column from Halston called to me) and found the pickings fairly slim. I also felt like almost everything was in various flavors of polyester, even the designer stuff. But maybe Nordstrom has a bigger formalwear section, or more stuff that's up your alley?
posted by Sara C. at 2:26 PM on May 16, 2016

Macy's has a category on their website of "Guest of the Wedding" which has some really good ideas.

This Adriana Papell dress comes in all sorts of pretty colors and would be super comfy. Wear it with a nice strappy sandal and a fun pedicure! (I think the coral would be beautiful on most folks.) At $70 you can't beat the price.

This Ralph Lauren is gorgeous as well. Lots of color choices.

This Multi-Colored Halter is pretty nifty, kicky even.

I'm thinking longer dresses, to avoid any issues with pantyhose, not that anyone wears them anymore, but it eliminates all kinds of angst and you can sit without worrying if your skirt is riding up.

Have fun!
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 2:30 PM on May 16, 2016 [2 favorites]

I was in a wedding recently and we got dresses from a website called Weddington. Way, which is kind of a dumb name but a pretty nice site. My dress was less than $200, was great quality (it had pockets!), and I believe shipping was free. I had some sort of "dress assistant", which I didn't use, but was offered for styling advice. If you do decide to go with a more traditional bridesmaid dress, it could be a good option!
posted by itsamermaid at 4:54 PM on May 16, 2016

I also just ordered a bridesmaid dress from Weddington Way, and while it was a fine experience, their dresses (as far as I could tell) were all very much Bridesmaid Dresses in the "something from a Katherine Heigl movie" vein.
posted by Sara C. at 5:12 PM on May 16, 2016 [1 favorite]

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