The Budget Babe | Affordable Fashion & Style Blog

Graduation Dresses on a Budget from American Living

American Living Green Pleated Dress, on sale in stores for about $62 (not available online when this post was written).

I know a few ladies who are looking for affordable graduation dresses to wear this spring, and I think I may have struck gold! The other day while conducting research (as I like to call it) at JCPenney, I tried on a bunch of spring dresses from the American Living line (that's their Ralph Lauren red-white-and-blue Americana themed collection), and I think they looked, in a word, CLASSY. The American Living collection as a whole doesn't reflect my personal style, but even I like to get pulled-together for special occasions, and these ladylike frocks were a breath of fresh air.

American Living Tiered Mock-Wrap Dress, From $82.50 To $84.00

Here, I'm modeling three of the more brightly hued dresses. The feminine, conservative-chic cuts were very flattering, each dress was fully-lined and allowed for normal bra-wear. I'm wearing a black bra underneath the white dress (below) and it did not show through, which says something about the quality.

Another pro: Long hemlines. Finally a practical skirt that drops at the knee. (I say practical because I have nothing against short skirts and showing leg, but sometimes you need more length—at a formal graduation ceremony, for example!) Yet another great thing about these dresses is that they're available in Misses size 4-16; additionally, many of the dresses are also available in Plus size 14W-24W. Sweet.

American Living Floral Eyelet Dress, Original $100.00; Now $75.00.

Ok, so let's talk price: All American Living dresses were on sale at my local JCPenney, averaging around $60. However, I was looking at the new spring arrivals. There were great finds under $50 on the clearance racks. Overall, I didn't see any dresses over $100. You may want to check it out in stores, then consider ordering online. Stalk the sales, and use a coupon.

If bright colors aren't your thing, the American Living collection also had a large selection of classic black options. Worn with a cropped cardigan, pearls and strappy heels or cute wedges, I think any of these dresses will help you accept your diploma in style.

View the entire American Living collection here.

These dresses are very springy, colorful, and cute! What an awesome way to start the season :-)

I already have my graduation dress (and we're required to wear white), but I'll definitely look into these as just day-to-day spring dresses. Thanks a lot for the link, BB!
#1 Jacki (Homepage) on 2009-03-09 11:45 (Reply)
I think the white dress looks lovely on you! Good choice for a graduation.
#2 Valerie (Homepage) on 2009-03-09 11:49 (Reply)
Awesome! You look so lovely in all of them. Which one is your fave? x
#3 Leia (Homepage) on 2009-03-09 12:39 (Reply)
Of the bunch, probably the green one for its fabulous color, although the white eyelet dress fit really well. :-)
#3.1 The Budget Babe on 2009-03-09 12:57 (Reply)
Adorable. Every one of 'em. Great find for the grads, BB.
#4 Sal (Homepage) on 2009-03-09 13:01 (Reply)
I adore the green and white dresses! Even though I'm not a grad, I think I'll need to snag me one just to wear around for summer :-)
#5 Sarah (Homepage) on 2009-03-09 15:51 (Reply)
i really like the yellow dress but i could never pull off that color or cut. i envy you! the dress looks sort of vintage and a little bit j.crew too actually.
#6 grace on 2009-03-09 17:26 (Reply)
Are these supposed to be dresses for high school graduation? They look a little too everyday to me, but as regular spring/summer dresses, they totally embody Ralph Lauren.
#7 MizzJ (Homepage) on 2009-03-09 20:31 (Reply)
Those are just beautiful! I've got to check out this line at JCP!
#8 Anusha (Homepage) on 2009-03-09 22:11 (Reply)
I love this line. I bought a shirt dress similar to the plaid dress in Confessions of a Shopaholic for $4.98 off the clearance rack. I adore it!
#9 Ailyn (Homepage) on 2009-03-10 10:07 (Reply)
Three Great Dresses, One fab model. Budgetbabe you look great!
#10 budget chic (Homepage) on 2009-03-10 16:09 (Reply)
Hmm i have to agree with MizzJ they look a little to everyday. my graduation is in May im going for white strapless about to my knees with some green laces an other simple but beautiful decor on it^^ But i don love the green and white dresses on here :-D
#11 Kansas on 2009-11-11 15:53 (Reply)
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