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:
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!