Q: “HELP!!! I’m in trouble. My sister’s wedding is around the corner and I cant’ find a dress!! It’s a formal wedding at the beach. I need to find the perfect dress without cleaning out the bank BEFORE July 30th. Please, throw me a few suggestions. Thank You!!” – from Alia
A: Don’t you hate it when you buy a dress that you never wear again? But have no fear, Alia! My recommendations are sure to be simple, elegant and definitely wearable for many occasions to come! While beachside and formal are a bit contradictory, I’ve tried to find pieces that fit both. First, I’ll start with Velvet. I am a huge fan of Velvet and the soft fabrics they use! The Tess Meringue dress is one that I personally have been contemplating to purchase even though there isn’t a particular special occasion coming up – just because it’s so pretty and simple – and most of all, on sale for only $99.
Believe it or not, but stores like Banana Republic have fantastic luxe-looking options that don’t break the bank. A good choice is this silk smocked dress. You can also try J. Crew. They have a beautiful, affordable selection. One of my favorites is the Avery silk short cross-back dress for $195.Â
Oh, and let’s not forget Target and LaRedoute! How about this classic sateen pale blue dress by Isaac Mizrahi? It definitely won’t break the bank at only $30. Neither will this pleated silk dress on LaRedoute for only $35.
If your sister’s wedding is in the afternoon, then this bright red dress and this flower-printed blue dress by Odille would be elegant, cheerful and surprising choices; both retail for $168. They are very pretty in person and would be perfect for an afternoon ceremony. They’re also very simple sillouettes that won’t take attention away from your sister’s big day.
Along the same lines, this BCBG dress is light and airy, perfect for a dress up event at the beach! Plus, it’s a steal at only a little over $150. These pastel options from Alexia Admor (here and here) are a bit more traditional and very lacy!
If this is an evening affair, you might want to try this dress from Twelfth Street by Cynthia Vincent, one of my favorite lines. The lace detail and bold color makes it flirty. Throw a pretty black capelet over it and you can make it super modern and evening-appropriate. An easier option would be a wrap like this. Need to glam out? Look at this evening bubble dress, this cute metallic number or this shimmery pintucked dress.
If you can afford to spend something in the $200+ range, I highly recommend this dress by Saja for $228. If your shoulders need to be covered, try this bright Hey SeÃ±orita dress by Nanette Lepore. A bit steep at $335, but it serves the function of simultaneously satisfying two crowds – the conservative (knee-length, fairly covered) and young and sexy (flirty ruffles and flesh-toned peeks)!
Hope that helped and if you need any more suggestions, please do let me know and I will try to point you in the right direction!