Monday, June 20, 2016

Reader Question: Black Tie Wedding Gown, Part One.

Today's reader question is from my amazing friend Ashley! We've been besties since our junior year in high school and we've both come a long way since our days of wearing cabbage rose print vintage dresses. She wrote: 

Hi Adrien, 
If you're brave and willing to delve into the world of fancy dresses, I would love your help... 
I have been invited to a black tie wedding this August and am wondering what the hell to wear. I could rent a dress or purchase one and don't want to go over $250 (which is a ridiculous stretch but I'd do it for something fantastic). It's August, so I am concerned about heat exhaustion from wearing a prom dress made out of shower curtain material. It would be great if I could find something that feels festive and in which I feel lovely. On my own, I've found such things online... at couture houses. Thanks for nothing, Oscar de la Renta. 
Another option, is this dress, which I already own:

 Think I could get away with it if I added some ridiculously blingy jewelry and uncomfortable shoes? If so, I'd welcome your ideas for the bling and the shoes. 

Okay! So I feel like I should put it out there that I never get invited to anything fancy, like, ever, so I'm deeply unqualified to answer this. But, I love Ashley AND I love pretty dresses, so I'm going to try anyway. First, I think something like this Halston gown would look amazing on Ashley:

Annnd, of course it sold out in the ten minutes between me finding it and adding it to this entry. It was on sale too! It does come in blue but I liked the purple. Ashley looks great in really intense, saturated colors, so I thought maybe something like this Jill Jill Stuart gown would look beautiful on her:

She is not sure sure about the pleated waist, though. I get it. Here's another one by Jill Jill Stuart (with slightly less pleating) in a beautiful deep pink color:

Is there such a thing as summer black tie? Because that's what we've got here, right? Okay. If we want to be a little more formal and a little less fun, this Lauren Ralph Lauren is very pretty without being over the top:

And something like this Adrianna Papell beaded gown is just so floaty and appealing in a Great Gatsby way:

I just wish it wasn't so damn expensive because that is not a dress you can wear very often. 

Now, I've never done the rental thing, but I don't think it's a bad option at all. You get to wear something super fancy without having to pay a million dollars, Currently Rent the Runway is offering 20% off your first order with code FIRSTRTR20P (plus shipping and cleaning are free) so I thought I'd look there.  This is the first dress I saw and I thought it was amazing: 

Apparently I like a long red dress. And here's a sparkly fancy-cocktail dress option:

Or, just go for something super classic and gorgeous:


She should just wear the dress she has and go crazy with the accessories (which is always what I recommend because then you have awesome jewelry that you'll definitely wear again.) This is getting long so I'm going to save shoes and accessories for Part Two! 


  1. Sometimes I wear something I already have (if I'm ever invited) but buy new fancy shoes or a gorgeous wrap which I know I'll wear again and again.

  2. That Boden dress is such a nice shape, I would totally wear that and blow all the $$ I saved on awesome accessories. Although I am a sucker for along red dress too ;)

  3. Hi, it might be worth checking out a brand called Needle and Thread. They are a UK brand which I am planning to wear to my own wedding. They do quite hippyish but festive dresses - quite pricey but they have a sale on at the moment.

  4. I found an AMAZING emerald green chiffon dress at Nordstrom Rack last year for $50. Floor length, beaded bodice, totally Kate Middleton inspired. It's that time of year when black tie dresses are more likely to be on clearance at places like that, so you might have decent luck!

  5. The short dress from RTR is so itchy and the one I got was a little too worn for my taste. I ended up passing in it and wearing a dress I already had, reluctantly.

  6. Superb dresses! It’s a great pleasure to see all these stunning dresses on your website. I am looking for a knee length wedding gown. Have booked one of beachside Malibu wedding venues and traditional venues won’t look good there.


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