If you’re shopping for a chic outfit to wear to a wedding AND you’re over 50, you’ve likely noticed the trend. There’s a hole in the market. It’s like the phrase ‘stylish wedding guest dresses for older women’ is an oxymoron. Most of your dress options range from frumpy to frumpier.
I could rant about designers being lazy or creatively stifled or catering to their idea of the masses (which is apparently young, sexy women or older matronly women). But that wouldn’t be helpful, because you have a wedding on the calendar, and you need something to wear — something that shows off you and your gorgeousness.
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So let’s talk about the older women’s options for wedding guest dresses. I’ll start with a few things to keep in mind as you shop.
How to shop for wedding guest dresses on a budget
Here’s how to find an outfit you love without overspending:
- A one-piece outfit will be more cost efficient than separates.
- Look for a dress or jumpsuit that has embellishments, especially around the neckline. More detail on the dress means less jewelry and accessories to complete the outfit.
- High necklines often mean no necklace required. V-necks are the opposite. They tend to look better with a necklace.
- Inventory your shoes, handbags, and jewelry before you shop. If you have any pieces you can use for the wedding, note their colors and style. Then, shop for dresses/jumpsuits that will work with those pieces you already own.
- Think about how you’ll wear your hair. Your hairstyle could affect the type of neckline you’ll shop for.
- If you have time, use Amazon Try Before You Buy to experiment with silhouettes. Once you start shopping for real, shop in-store or shop online with stores that offer free returns.
- Be open to buying used. There are gorgeous designer dresses available on Thredup.
As for which styles to shop when you’re 50+, my choices are jumpsuits, fit-and-flare dresses, and jacket dresses. I’ll share the merits of each below.
Jumpsuits as wedding guest outfits for women over 60
Be open to a jumpsuit in lieu of a dress. Jumpsuits appropriate for a wedding guest come in all shapes and sizes. You can find one that’s elegant and flowing. Or you can go strapless and sexy. And yes, you can do sexy over 60. Actually, I encourage it.
Where to shop budget wedding guest jumpsuits. For more conservative styles, shop Macys and Especially Yours. For more fitted looks that are still elegant, look at Tahari ASL on Amazon. Lulu’s is another place to look, though you’ll have to sort through the young-and-sexy pieces.
Amazon can also be a great resource for lower-priced jumpsuits — if you take care to choose only reputable brands. Quality can be suspect on no-name brands. You don’t want to show up at a wedding with loose threads and missing buttons.
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Fit-and-flare wedding guest dresses for older women
A fit-and-flare dress, knee-length or longer, can be chic and flattering. If the wedding isn’t super formal, you could buy shop for something that’s re-wearable — more of a cocktail dress vs. a ball gown.
Where to shop budget wedding guest fit and flare dresses. You can find plenty of options at Macys and they’re often on sale. Other department stores are good places to look also, including Dillard’s, JCPenney, and Nordstrom Rack.
At these stores, you will have to scroll through pieces that aren’t dressy enough. Focus in on dresses with beading or lace details as these will be more formal. Heavier weight fabrics and lining are important too.
Jacket dresses for older wedding guests
If you don’t want to show off your arms and shoulders (a common problem area for the mature lady), try a jacket dress. Choose pieces with sheer overlays and beading or lace — that’s how to avoid the power suit look. And lean into mostly monochrome ensembles. Colorful jacket sets will usually be too casual.
Where to shop budget wedding guest jacket dresses. Brands to shop for an elegant jacket dress include:
- R&M Richards
- Alex Evenings — can be pricey.
- Adrianna Pappell — shop on Amazon for last season’s dresses at lower prices.
- Le Bos
- Ignite Evenings
What to pay for wedding guest dresses
You can expect to pay $100 and up for a dress or jumpsuit that’s formal enough for a wedding. The price point can be lower than that if:
- You’re good at sale hunting. Macy’s has sales constantly.
- You shop used. As noted, you can find lovely pieces on Thredup.
- You work your rebates. Get cash rebates from your credit card, your browser extension (like Coupert), and apps like Fetch.
Other options are to rent a formal dress or borrow from/swap with a friend.
For more inspiration
Need more help? Take a look at my wedding guest dressing guide here: What to Wear to Any Wedding, Any Time