A formal wedding dress code can be tricky. You want to look fancy without out-doing the bride. You also want to avoid looking like part of the bridal party. Check out the options below for some ideas on pretty gowns you can wear to any formal wedding or evening event. Most of these dresses also come sized for short petites as well as women who are lucky enough to be over 5’4″. I’m not so lucky.
My top suggestion for a formal wedding guest is to avoid colors that are too light, unless specifically requested by the bride and groom. White and cream are too similar to the bride. It’s her day to stand out. Let her have white. Pastel, especially solid pastels, are most likely to have you mistaken for a bridesmaid. You don’t want to get wrapped up in decorating tablescapes and tying the bustle.
The only exception to this rule would be a gown in a tan or nude tone, and even then you’ll probably want some embellishments to keep from looking too casual in photos.
It’s easy for formal gowns to age you, especially if you’re pairing you dress with an ornate hairstyle. To avoid the extra years, consider unexpected color combinations. Try a pattern or big flashy florals. Play with proportions. Think about formal separates; while I don’t have the abs for it myself, I do love the look of a full ballgown skirt with a boxy cropped top that doesn’t look like a matching set. Combinations like that make you seem creative, like you’re a stylist or that you’re available to be hired as one. Always take advantage of opportunities for a side hustle.
Whatever look you decide to go for, remember to wear it with a smile and confidence.