Semi-formal wedding

Started 6 years ago. There are 20 replies by 6 different members.
  1. My niece is getting married in May. It's an evening wedding and the dress is semi-formal. I have no idea what would be appropriate. I've looked at dresses, but everything seems to be for the younger and thinner crowd. I'm 67, overweight (fat) and carry my weight in front (look like I'm 6 months pregnant). How in the name of heaven am I going to find anything that will remotely look good and won't cost $500 or more? Not only do I need a dress for the wedding, but I need one for the rehearsal dinner, and an appropriate outfit for a luncheon. I don't even know where to start. And sleeveless is completely out of the question. I wouldn't subject my sweet niece to such a horrible sight. Why, oh why, can't they make pretty and stylish clothes for older people who don't wear a size 2? Renee

  1. As you say, you need 3 outfits. You probably don't need to go out and buy 3 whole new ones. For the luncheon, have you something suitable already in your wardrobe - maybe add different jewellery and shoes? Would the outfits for the rehearsal dinner and the actual wedding be similar type - but the wedding one slightly more formal? I found an article on "what to wear as a middle-aged wedding guest" [67 is the new 47 :) ] - which gave some good ideas - long sleeved long floaty dress; long flowery skirt; short structured dress; palazzo pants. It advised that you avoid traditional wedding outfitters and choose a shape and style that flatters you. (TK Maxx (T J Maxx? in USA) may be a good value hunting ground for long dresses).

  2. PS - I found 3 nice long-sleeved long dresses on Also, do you know what your niece's mother will be wearing for the 3 events? Then you could aim at slightly less dressy versions of these. :)

  3. Hello again! I've also found an article "What to Wear to a Wedding Reception Over 40" on the "Fabulous After 40" blog. (May 12, 2015). The writer suggests draping and a darkish colour to camouflage the tummy. She reminds you about accessories and jewellery to complete the outfits.

  4. Thanks for the info. This is not an easy task for me. I can't stand shopping (unless it's for books or music). The colors for the wedding are navy blue and peach. So I have to stay away from them. My sister is wearing a peach dress, and don't know what she'll wear for the other two events. I know she has outfits in her closet. I don't. The closest dressy thing I own is my concert attire, long black skirt and black blouse. Totally inappropriate for a wedding. A long dress in rose, turquoise or lavender would be good because I look good in those colors. I could probably get by with a pants suit for the rehearsal dinner, provided it's dressy enough. I'm going to have to tie up my sister to find out about the luncheon. The major problem is the size. I wear a 16, and many times have to go up into the Women's sizes. Trust me, because I've looked, clothes in the Women's sections are about as stylish as a burlap sack. I don't like to order online because there's no guarantee that the clothes will fit, and many places do not have a return-free policy. Not every company is as accommodating as LL Bean and Land's End. I'm probably going to have to go to either Alabama or Louisiana to find something suitable. We don't have many shops here that would have what I'm looking for. Jewelry will be the easiest. I have some lovely pieces, both of my own and what I inherited from my mother.

  5. Hi,I recommend shopping at stores that offer lovely choices in women's plus sizes. Talbots in the USA offers their quality styles in many sizes, including Women's (and Woman Petites). They have many beautiful dresses both casual and dressy, and the women's sizes are proportioned to fit correctly. Another store, Catherine's, caters to women who are size 14+ and is also a good place to look. Since becoming middle-aged, I know the despair in searching for a nice fitting dress. I was asked to participate and read scripture at a family wedding a few years ago and I was so crushed because I could not find a dress that did not make me look foolish...I spend literally dozens of hours trying on dresses and I looked terrible in all of them. I settled for wearing black dressy slacks and a dotted Swiss blouse instead. I was not happy with that but I gave up. I made the mistake of spending time in the wrong stores; also I didn't consider that I could buy a dress that was a bit too large overall, but if fit the most difficult part of my figure, I could have the rest of the dress altered/tailored to flatter the rest of me. I hope you find a lovely dress to wear that you feel beautiful and free in.

  6. CarolAnn's is good advice. I also found some lovely long sleeved long dresses on Nordstrom. Remember to choose things in COLOURS which suit you, as that is half the battle :). Could you take a trusted friend with you when you go shopping? Some stores have a personal shopper who will run around finding things that will suit you - you probably have to book them in advance?

  7. Thanks for the good info. I don't have anyone to shop with. My sister lives 4 hours away, and most of my friends view clothes shopping the same way I do. The one person I loved to shop with was my mother. She had an eye for clothes, and would often reach into a sales rack, pull out a dress, and say, "this will look good on you". And she was right. At least I do know what colors look good on me, and will go towards those. Renee

  8. also there are businesses who hire out formal gowns...

  9. Hi ReneeC. Is this dress what you're looking for? It's turquoise, which you like, and the blouse style might hide your tummy problems. I think of semi-formal as mid-length. A long dress could easily look too formal. A wrap/pashmina would make pretty, warm layer over these flutter sleeves. What do you think?

  10. Probably best, ReneeC, to twist your sister's arm so that she tells you what length of (and style of) dress she is going to wear for the actual wedding day. You will be on the wedding photos and may wish to have similar effect.

  11. Janae, the dress sounds great for the rehearsal dinner, and Land's End has a great return policy. Natasha, my sister did send me a picture and it's a formal gown. I'm going shopping this weekend. Keep your fingers crossed. Renee

  12. Renee - Wondering whether you found a dress for the wedding while shopping this weekend? I'm following this story with great interest. :) Best wishes Natasha

  13. Thanks, Natasha. I found a dress for the rehearsal dinner. I had to go to the Woman's section, but Belk has some nice clothes and I found a lovely turquoise dress. It's a sheath dress with black piping around the waist. It's sleeveless, but I didn't like the jacket. Padded shoulders and way too heavy. So I'm going to get a black shrug which will look great. I haven't found anything for the wedding yet, but I think I'm going with a tea length dress. All the long dresses I've seen were either sleeveless, the wrong color, or too much bling. I did see one on Dillard's online. It comes in Plus size and I may order it. I'm going shopping tomorrow and I want to wrap this up. Keep you fingers crossed. Renee

  14. Turquoise dress sounds great. Fingers crossed for your next expedition!

  15. I ordered my dress from Dillards. I hope it fits, but it's a soft blue with flowing material and hits right below the knee. I'll let you know how it looks. Renee

  16. Best of luck, Rene! The dress for the rehearsal dinner sounds absolutely lovely. Smart choice to substitute the shrug for the jacket.

  17. Both dresses seem like excellent choices. Hope the latest one fits - and then you can concentrate on the final details :)

  18. My dress for the wedding came in and it's a perfect fit. It looks great. The length is tea-length and is just right and very feminine. Now to find the accessories (shoes, purse, etc.)

  19. Hooray! I'm so pleased that's worked out well.

  20. ReneeC - have you attended the wedding yet? Any news of fashions worn? Best wishes, Natasha

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