One Dress, Multiple Weddings

Wedding season will soon be here. As anyone who has watched “Wedding Crashers” knows, weddings can be a great place to drink, dance and free! But, like everything else, there is a price. Between the gift, the travel and of course, the outfit, weddings can wreak havoc on one’s budget. One way to save money is by not buying a new outfit for each wedding. Instead, buy a dress that you can dress up or down, depending on the occasion. Since it is unlikely the same guests will be at each wedding (unless the people attending your Uncle Ralph’s commitment ceremony somehow got invited to your college roommate’s wedding), there’s little reason not to wear the same dress more than once. The challenge is to find a dress that can go from a formal, big city event to a casual beach wedding. Although it might be tempting to find a dress that is bland and neutral enough to be forgettable, this will only result in you feeling bland and forgettable. Come on, it’s a wedding! Break out the floral prints and the color, but retain flexibility by choosing a cut that is classic, in fabrics that always look dressy.
You can never go wrong with a silk dress. Silk is soft, rich looking, and unlike cotton or linen, will hold up through an afternoon of dancing without wrinkling too much. V-necks are universally flattering for all body types, so look for a dress that is cut just low enough to look elegant, but not low enough that you are a distraction. For those who want to conceal less-than-flat-abs, a (very slight) empire waist gives you a flowy, feminine silhouette. However, stay away from exaggerated empire waists. The cut should remind you of a Jane Austen heroine—not the ladies at the prenatal class.
Accessories are the most important part to creating your look.
For a formal wedding, or an evening reception, wear stiletto sandals in black or metallic colors. Match with a metallic or bejeweled purse. Wear a short, fitted jacket over the dress, add dangly earrings, and you’re set.
For a casual wedding, lower the heel height and lighten the color. Nude, beige or tan are the newest neutrals for shoes, and they go with everything. Even better, a nude color elongates your leg. A cotton shrug for the cover up, and pearl earrings finish your look.
For seaside weddings, a two-inch thong sandal works well in a beach environment. (Note that a thong sandal does not mean flip flops) Dress down the outfit even more by wearing a cardigan sweater and a small straw clutch. Don’t want to go that casual? Take this season’s boyfriend blazer, roll up the sleeves and wear that as a cover-up. Add a flower brooch ala Sex and the City’s Carrie Bradshaw. This is also a good look for business casual, or non-traditional, weddings.
There are several shopping choices to find your perfect wedding guest outfit. Ann Taylor, Ann Taylor Loft, Banana Republic and White House/Black Market are good places to start. H&M is especially good for inexpensive accessories such as purses and jewelry. Dressing for weddings is stressful, so it may help to keep in mind that all eyes will be on what the bride is wearing. As a guest, all you have to do is avoid wearing to have fun.

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