As the invitations begin to arrive, we must prepare for a summer filled with weddings. And while it’s nice to buy a new dress for a special occasion, there are a few rules you must follow to get the most bang for your buck.
Rule One. Don’t shop at the last minute. Waiting until the last moment is a recipe for regret. Maybe you won’t find anything, or you’ll find a dress that takes up permanent residency in the back of your closet.
Rule Two. Set a realistic budget and use search filters to keep you within it. If you want to spend less than $200, scrolling absentmindedly will only lead to finding something you love that’s outside your price range.
Rule Three. Learn what the bridesmaids are wearing. Several years ago, a friend showed up to her cousin’s wedding in a lavender cocktail dress. Little did she know, the bridesmaids were wearing the same lavender dress.
Rule Four. Think about the photos. These snaps will live on social media for eons, so consider how the dress will look in pictures. Pale colors often look white post flash. A print that’s too bold might draw all the attention.
Rule Five. Consider your comfort. This rule has two parts. First, you could be wearing this dress for 12+ hours, so don’t choose itchy fabrics or dresses that are too snug. Also, if the wedding is outside, choose a fabric that breathes. Secondly, if you’re not comfortable showing or accentuating parts of your body, don’t choose a
Secondly, if you’re not comfortable showing or accentuating parts of your body, don’t choose a dress that makes you feel uncomfortable just because it’s awesome. I once wore a backless dress to a wedding despite being totally self-conscious about some minor bacne. I ended up wearing a shawl all night. Not awesome.
Rule Six. Before you head to the register, ask yourself one question: Would I buy this dress (and be excited to own it) if I didn’t have this wedding to go to? Never buy something new just because you think you need something new for a special occasion. Choose a dress only if you love it enough to wear it again. Otherwise, just buy new accessories for a dress you already love.
Here are a few dresses under-$150 that caught my eye for the forthcoming wedding season. If you shop early, you won’t have to worry about finding your size, or finding something you love.
Elliatt Liberty One Shoulder ($147)