The other night a group of my friends sat around sending each other links for dresses we could wear to a wedding. The looks and prices were all over the board.  We all were bemoaning the demise of  Loehmann’s. My sister just found a $500 designer dress on sale for $79 at TJ Maxx. Isn’t there always a sale going on?

Perhaps you are lucky enough to be invited to your friend’s child’s wedding. Perhaps you are giving a wedding. Perhaps the wedding is black tie, or an afternoon in the woods, or even an island wedding.

But Perhaps…

Chances are you have nothing in your closet that can be revived.

I turned to Elle magazine on-line and they had just published a What to Wear article for summer weddings. I normally love Elle but as I browsed their gallery I came up with Nada, not one dress came close to anything I would buy. Even Elle threw back at me the questions I wanted answers to, should you go short, long, etc….hey if they don’t have the answers then who does?

So again, the question persists, “What do I wear to that next wedding?”

While logging in hours trolling for wedding guest dresses I have discovered big challenges which include too many choices, sizes that aren’t available and deciding which style looks good on me. Much of what I find is super expensive and, I begin looking for sales and deals only to return to the dress I liked and see it is sold out in my size.

So, I thought I would pass on my trial by error learnings to those of you who have just begun the process.

Here’s what I’ve learned so far in my endless search for what to wear to those upcoming celebrations.

  1. Decide if you are ok wearing black or want to wear a color…that helps the vetting process.
  2. Know your measurements as there is no such thing as a true size anymore. I just ordered a size six dress and it was huge on me…that’s insane!
  3. What neckline works best. Do you want to cover up your neck line or show it off?
  4. Do you want to dance? What feels good to dance in: tight or flowy, long or short?
  5. What are your friends wearing? Does that matter to you if it does, ask them?
  6. What kind of shoes can you manage. Most BA50s prefer a low heel and not all dresses look good with a flat….know thy feet!
  7. Needless to say your budget matters but don’t cheap out too much or you may miss getting the dress you want.
  8. Double and Triple Dipping? Can you wear that dress to a few events. If you have different groups of friends you know the answer to that one. BINGO!

It’s so easy to think, I’ll just wear something black because no one will notice. Well, I have often felt that way, but because I don’t dress up that much lately, I want to love what I’m wearing. Do you?

Well after much searching although I still haven’t found a dress to wear here are my favorite websites that I’m convinced I’m going to find a few dresses on (but not yet).  Please note that most of the models are young 20-somethings but as there is no web site for just us yet… we have to age-up and decide if the dress is “right” for the look we feel we can carry off.

Please add to these sites in the comments section below because I’m sure I’ve missed some good ones:

1. Rent the Runway has a wedding guest section which is definitely worth a regular browse. You can rent a gown for the night, rent a rotation of dresses for the month or buy an unlimited plan. Seems like a great idea. I haven’t done this yet but I am tempted.

Badgley Mischka Louisa Gown

This gown is pretty spectacular. Costs over $1290 to buy but just $215 to rent depending how long you keep it. 

This gown sparkles, flows and works at  $328 but it’s not available in my size. Check to see if they’ve got it in yours?

Sequin Mesh Gown


3. Shopbop. This site may look young but it’s got some gorgeous stuff for us. I typed in “formal dresses” and loved some of their selection. Here’s one….pricey but pretty. Look around to see what you like.
Crepe Applique Cap Sleeve Midi Dress
 4. Shopstyle: They will notify you when the price drops. Tons of choices for our over 50 group. Great selections at a great price. Go to browse bridal for starters.

5. Macy’s has some great gowns. This gown doesn’t work for my body type but it is really a lot of look for the money. Macy’s has some great options.

Ruffled A-Line Gown


Next article we have to figure out what to wear over the dresses we get. I personally want to put this leather jacket over everything.

Seashell Lace Moto Jacket


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