Good Question: Finding the Perfect Dress Isn't a Brides-Only Dilemma

January 24, 2009 by SheFindsErin
shefinds |

SheFinds Reader Question: I am attending two weddings soon, and I appreciate any help I can get in picking out an outfit. Both are church weddings, and the families are conservative and somewhat formal (in a Midwestern way). I have some issues to work around (my less-than-flat stomach being one of them). I don't want to look 60 years old in a wedding suit, but I am over 40, and I'd like to dress appropriately.

Answer: Dressing for a wedding — at any age — can be tough. You can't upstage the bride or her mother. You can't look funeral-bound in black. You have to dress your age and feel comfortable sitting, standing and busting a move on the dance floor. Plus, after spending an arm and a leg on an engagement gift, a shower gift, a wedding gift and travel, you've got to factor bargain hunting into the perfect wedding attire equation. No easy feat.

That said, the cardinal rule is to dress in something that makes you feel amazing — comfort and the feeling that you invested wisely will stem from that. Avoid at all costs the tendency to cover up in the baggiest clothes; opt instead for something that will give you shape.

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Slimming, finely tailored jackets paired with simple shift dresses give the illusion of curves in all the right places, while detracting from less-than-rock-hard abs. On top, choose a something cropped and in a springy color, like Jon's Sheen cropped jacket ($319) in lemony yellow. With Banana Republic's navy and white silk scroll-print dress ($148), you get a prim, put-together look that would be perfectly offset with shiny silver jewelry.

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Pick pieces that are versatile; you get more for your money if you can dress an outfit up or down, and if you can mix and match (after all, there's no rule that says you have to buy one wedding season outfit and stick with it). A patterned jacket, like Sutton Studio's chic black and white one ($169) would look flawless over a white shift (try New York & Co.'s City Style pique version at only $45) and would ensure you'd stand out from the crowd without looking overdone or stealing the bride's thunder. For a less formal wedding, show you're not afraid of a little color by partnering the same black and white jacket with a bold color, like Ralph Lauren's jewel-necked dress in ocean-y blue green ($698).

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Finally, go for something that makes you feel feminine and youthful without looking too over-the-top. Ann Taylor's lovely cream and pink floral swirl dress ($148) and flap pocket jacket ($198) make a pretty pair for spring, and can be worn together or separately on many occasions. No one will mistake you for a 60-year-old in something so fresh and flirty.

For more wedding-ready looks, check out our picks from ShopStyle. And if you have a burning question you want the SheFinds editors to answer, our forums are a great place to ask it.

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