+ Look for Less

10th Commandment: July 11


GIN Colorblock Asymmetric Sheath Dress ($108)

The hardest weddings to dress for, in my opinion, are the ones that don’t fall into a discrete dress code.  And given that many of the weddings I attend are out West, they typically fall between cocktail and casual, a range sometimes called semi-formal.  These are the weddings where sequins, tulle and satin would not be appropriate, but you still want to dress to impress.

For more casual weddings, I like to wear dresses with a modern look that can be dressed up or down.  This GIN dress is a perfect example.  I also like this Sanctuary maxi dress with a cool, strappy neckline.  You can also try for a bold print like on this T Tahari dress with a square-neck or this GB print dress with a bow-back.

Prefer something easier and breezier?  This Ivy & Blu dress is a safe choice with a shape that would look good on many figures.  I would also consider this brightly colored fluttered sleeve dress and this royal purple, pin-tucked dress with a flare skirt, both from Dillard’s.

Want something under-$100?  Modcloth is a great place to look.  I love this High Noon dress in floral print.  This Teal Me a Story dress is also fun with a sheer neck and a lacy trim.  This pleat front cobalt dress could be dressed up with a skinny belt and heels or dressed down with flat sandals and bangle bracelets.

Plus-size?  I like this IGIGI dress with a bright color and a relaxed shape.  I also like this breezy Anne Klein Geo-Print dress.  Petite?  I love this cobalt dress with a unique neckline, and this Tahari dress is a bright orange with a gradient dot print.



  1. Sarah says:

    It’s funny, I have a wedding out west (Tahoe) this summer that is semi-formal! I was planning to wear a black kate spade dress with an interesting neckline. Do people not wear black to weddings in the west, the way they don’t wear black to weddings in the south? Help!

    July 11, 2014/Reply
    • G says:

      I live in Colorado and it’s ok to wear a black dress, however most people in my experience choose color for semi-formal out here. Also, consider if you’re going to be in the sun for the ceremony and/or reception. Black can get hot. At night though, it gets cool, don’t forget a pashmina!

      July 11, 2014/Reply
      • Gabby says:

        I second the pashmina idea. I live in Reno, and it’s cooler up at the lake at night. I don’t see a problem per se with wearing black, but we do wear more color with a less formal dress code out here.

        July 11, 2014/Reply
  2. Anna says:

    Uh, oh. I’m consider a black and white print dress for a cocktail wedding in the South.

    July 11, 2014/Reply
    • CH says:

      It will be perfect! I’ve been to plenty of Southern weddings where guests have worn black. It’s truly not “a thing” anymore.

      July 11, 2014/Reply
  3. Sarah says:

    Thanks G and Gabby. Anna, I recently went to a wedding in Knoxville, TN and the ONLY women in black dresses were from DC, New York,or Boston. Everyone else was in bright colors or bright prints! So different down there than here! I think a black and white print wouldn’t be that out of place though.

    July 11, 2014/Reply
    • Anna says:

      Ha! Well I’m already going to be one of the two token liberals at this Houston wedding, so I might as well play it up 🙂

      July 11, 2014/Reply
  4. Natalie says:

    I think this is the first time in months I’ve seen someone use “discrete” correctly, instead of when they mean “discreet”!

    July 11, 2014/Reply