20s style dress that doesn't look like a costume?
May 19, 2017 2:20 PM   Subscribe

Where can I find a grey 20s style dress (either actual vintage or 20s inspired) that looks sophisticated, flattering and appropriate for being an attendee in my best friend's wedding (NOT for attending a Halloween party)?

Hello all,
My best friend is getting married this summer, and I am thrilled to be one of her attendees. She is not designating a specific dress for us to wear, but we are supposed to wear mid-length dark grey/charcoal dresses with a 20s vibe. Some sparkle is definitely okay, but I don't want anything too over the top.

I didn't think that sounded too hard, especially since 20s/Gatsby style seems to be trendy the last few years, but I am having trouble finding something. The main problem is everything I find is really exaggerated and costumey (covered in plastic sequins or fringes), and I would like to wear something more sophisticated and unironic.

I am open to getting an actual vintage dress, or a modern dress that has a more current silhouette but incorporates 20s style architectural beading. I am willing to spend a couple hundred dollars because she is my best friend, but I can't afford more than $300 at the most. I have been looking on Etsy, but it could just be a matter of continuing to check. Any suggestions of where to find classy 20s style dresses online?

***bonus difficulty: I am currently nursing, but I don't expect to be able to add nursing-friendly criteria into this mix given the challenge so far.
posted by ialwayscryatendings to Shopping (16 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
How about something from Rent the Runway?
posted by greta simone at 2:28 PM on May 19

Unique vintage has you covered. That's the '20s category but there's much more dresses that may have similar vibes.
posted by Crystalinne at 2:38 PM on May 19 [6 favorites]

Adding a long strand of pearls will help a lot, as well as low-heeled shoes with a strap. You have time to have a dress made. I love this Folkwear pattern
posted by theora55 at 2:49 PM on May 19 [3 favorites]

Try the brand Pisarro Nights - they're available at many North American department stores and have a lot of heavily-beaded, drop-waist styles in your price range; bonus, if you look at Pisarro Nights dresses on, say, the Nordstrom website, it will suggest other styles.
posted by mskyle at 2:53 PM on May 19

ASOS.com often has stuff like this. Embellished is a useful keyword. They run a size large in the US.
posted by DarthDuckie at 3:06 PM on May 19

You might try modcloth or eshakti, though there seem to be fewer 1920s-specific items there on a quick look.
posted by cnc at 3:52 PM on May 19

I can't help you directly, but such items are common for lindy hop dancers to wear.
posted by flimflam at 4:07 PM on May 19

Adrianna Papell makes some beaded, vintage-y dresses. You can also often find great deals on hers via eBay. You might also try BHLDN. I was recently married and asked my attendants to wear a similar style and several of them found dresses from those brands. Good luck!
posted by incountrysleep at 4:37 PM on May 19

Came here to recommend Folkwear.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 4:46 PM on May 19 [1 favorite]

Try www.modcloth.com. Vintagey, lots of styles, under $300. Here's a search for gray dresses.

Seconding the suggestion to look up lindy hop fashion. Just Google "lindy hop dresses."
posted by ramenopres at 7:30 PM on May 19

would you consider a swing dress or trapeze dress style...

posted by calgirl at 9:45 PM on May 19

Something from bhldn (the wedding division of Anthropologie) might work. It's pushing your budget a bit but it looks like they have a fair amount in the $2-300 range.

If you find something you like in a lighter color, I'm wondering if it might be possible to dye it gray? I'm not sure how it would work if it's a dress with a lot of embellishment, but might be a possibility to consider.
posted by gennessee at 10:55 PM on May 19

You want a 20s tea dress, which is less glitzy than an evening gown. Etsy has stuff like this as well as plenty of actual vintage dresses; keep in mind that the 20s fashion is supposed to be loose and drapey, and actual vintage sizes run small.
posted by shalom at 1:00 AM on May 20 [4 favorites]

shalom linked a House of Recollections dress, and they've got quite a few nice things in grey. "deco" can also be a useful search term on Etsy.
posted by oneirodynia at 1:23 PM on May 20

There is a ton of 20's inspired stuff on Amazon. Bonus is most have free shipping and returns so your can order a bunch of stuff, try it on at home and then return the ones that don't work.
posted by vignettist at 9:32 PM on May 20

I would advise against Modcloth (I figured you'd get a few Modcloth suggestions). They aren't at the same quality as they used to be even a year ago and have a tendency to be made of cheap fabrics that snag/pill/fall apart quickly if you're not buying from a label that's a known quantity, like Emily And Finn.
posted by colorblock sock at 10:14 PM on May 20 [1 favorite]

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