The Budget Babe | Affordable Fashion & Style Blog

Ask BB: Wedding Guest Etiquette for Cocktail Attire

I am attending a wedding in September. They request "cocktail" attire. I am having a tough time 1) figuring out how "formal" cocktail attire is, and 2) finding something affordable. Her bridesmaids dresses are from The Limited. Any suggestions? —Wendy S.

Cocktail attire for a wedding typically means a chic dress and heels for ladies and tie-optional-suit for gents. A pretty blouse and skirt can work, too, but I find that wearing a dress is so much simpler. Look for something knee length or even slightly shorter. I'd start my search by hitting the sale racks at a store like J. Crew or your favorite department store. You could even try The Limited, they have an amazing selection of dresses under $100 (it goes without saying but just make sure you don't buy the exact same style/color as the bridesmaids!) One of my secret weapons is Talbots Outlet - yes, Talbots will surprise you with classic pieces you can personalize with your favorite jewelry and fun shoes. If you're comfortable shopping online, you'll find dozens more options everywhere from Target.com to ModCloth.com.

A picture is worth a thousand words, so here are some perfect cocktail dress options under $100.

1. With it's clean, graceful lines and rich gemstone hue, J. Crew's "Avedine" dress is quintessential cocktail chic. Pair it with slingback heels, a pretty necklace and a clutch for a pulled together ladylike look. ($69.99, down from $225)


2. Always elegant and in style, a little black dress is totally appropriate for a wedding. This Merona "Carey" dress has an Audrey Hepburn feel to it - timeless! And just $39.99 at Target.com.


3. Where but Talbots can you find silk doupioni for $85!? This doupioni cocktail dress is available in sizes 4- 24W as well as petites, assuring you'll find the perfect fit. Personalize with your own accessories, from edgy layered necklaces to stacked boho-glam bangles or a simple strand of pearls.


Talbots at ShopStyle



Comments
Thanks! I am heading out today to do some shopping!
#1 Wendy S. on 2011-07-31 10:28 (Reply)
awesome, let me know what you find. whatever you choose i'm sure you will look amazing :-)
#1.1 The Budget Babe on 2011-07-31 22:13 (Reply)
I've always found my wedding guest dresses at Ross or Marshalls or another mark-down store (we call them "new stuff thrift stores"). Generally a dress that was sold for $120 and up elsewhere I can pick up for 20 bucks or so.
#2 heather on 2011-08-16 16:18 (Reply)
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