Ask Belle: Summer Dresses for Wedding Guests

Jul 2, 2013

Dear Belle,

I looked at your posts about summer wedding attire, but most of those dresses are sold out, so I’m sending you this e-mail to ask for some help.  

Like any good Cap Hill staffer, I have three weddings in August.  The same crowd will be at two of them, but the third won’t have any repeats.  I’d like to find two dresses that I can wear, and I’d like to spend under-$150 on each.  Can you help me?

Thx! Laurel

When I need a dress in a hurry, at a price I can afford without flinching, I call upon the fine people at ASOS.  Wide selection.  Good prices.  Reliable shipping.  And since this UK-retailer has a return hub in the states, I can return the item without an overabundance of hassle (I’m looking at you, MyWardrobe.com).

Screen Shot 2013-07-02 at 12.19.53 AM

Midi Dress in Lace ($65) // Full Circle Skater Dress ($70) // Pencil Dress with Batwing Sleeves ($72) // Lace Insert Maxi Dress ($95) // Back Detail Peplum Dress ($110)

Lace.  Always a good choice for weddings (as long as it’s not white, or any color that could be bleached to white by a camera flash).  I like the classic style of this dress and the low-cut back adds a bit of drama.  I also like the larger weave on this Alice + Olivia dress and the color of this cap sleeve dress is nice and bright.  Plus size? I like the look of this pink fit and flare dress. Petite? This belted pale blue frock is pretty.

Full Skirt. Swingy, fun to dance in, a full-skirted dress is definitely wedding attire.  If red seems to bold for you, I like this coral dress.  I also really like this adorable teal dress from Macy’s.

More Coverage. If the wedding is taking place in a conservative house of worship or you just prefer a dress with more coverage, this batwing sleeve dress is stylish and appropriate.  I also like this berry-colored dress with a balloon sleeve.  Petite women might like this long sleeve Amanda Uprichard dress.  I also found this bold, 3/4 sleeve, purple v-neck dress for plus-size readers.

Maxi. I like long dresses for weddings that will be held in chilly indoor venues (hotel ballrooms always seem to be over air-conditioned).  The lace detail on this pretty dress is a nice touch.  I also like this cobalt spaghetti strap dress and this “tribal” dress with a beaded halter top.  Keeping a maxi from looking too formal for a relaxed wedding requires a) choosing a dress made of a non-evening fabric (cotton, silk-jersey, etc.) and b) accessorizing in a more relaxed way with cool belts, chunky jewelry and more casual shoes.

Back Details.  This dress rocks.  Rocks.  And speaking of drama in the back, I think this bow-in-the-back sundress is cute as hell, and the simple but impactful open back on this black pencil dress. I also like this rope-trim open-back minidress.

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  1. Gina says:

    Do you have any advice as to how ASOS sizing works? I’m always afraid to order since I’m not sure if the cut/sizing of the clothes will work.

    • Sofie says:

      Use the measurements guide: https://us.asos.com/Womens-Dresses-size-guide-ASOS/y8spp/?szgid=1

      I will say this: the sizing runs smaller than other sites, BUT it runs larger than the measurements on the size guide. For instance, I’m a 33-25-36, and I wear a 2 everywhere else and a 4 on ASOS, despite the ASOS 4 measurements running at 32-24.75-34.75. Also depends on the fabric – all of the ASOS dresses I’ve gotten have a stretchier fabric, so sizing discrepancies are largely irrelevant.

  2. LadyMacbeth says:

    I find ASOS brand clothing true to size to slightly small (in the thighs and arms). If you’re ordering from the US site, you will order in US sizes.

    Beware that ASOS also sells other brands and sizing will vary for each of them.

    I find the short runway videos very helpful, since seeing the model walk helps me to determine how much give there in the fabric, whether the arms are cut loose, etc.

    Finally, the returns policy is generous and they take it back if it doesn’t fit/look good.

  3. H says:

    I LOOOOOOOOVVVVVVEEEEEEE the blue back detail dress! So sad it’s sold out. Also, how do you wear a bra with that one???

  4. AK says:

    I agree that ASOS runs small. I am usually a 0/2 in US and i’m a solid 4 in ASOS when a US four would normally be huge on me. Hope that helps!

  5. steph says:

    Also consider rent the runway! I love that they have picks of real women wearing the dresses. Also, they give you two size options (second dress is free!) and they have plenty of options under $100.

  6. H says:

    Belle and other ladies, how would you usually handle dressing for a wedding that has a morning church service and an evening reception (no dress code specified)? Nothing scheduled in between. Same dress, different accessories or different outfits? Thanks!

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