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Q: I’m attending a swanky black tie wedding this fall, and I’m not sure what to wear. I’m very petite (5’1”, 107 lbs) and any floor length dress I buy will have to have about 6 inches hacked off the bottom. Any suggestions that won’t break the bank in alterations? I love to use but I’m afraid I won’t be able to do that for this event.

A. If you shop in the petite department, you shouldn’t have to alter the length of your dress very much, if at all. A floor length petite dress is made for people that are under 5’3” generally. Add to that a pair of heels and you should be all set! Below are some petite sized cocktail dresses and full length dresses to wear to your black tie wedding — and most are under $200.


Q. I bought this Robbi & Nikki dress months ago for a summer wedding. Now that the weather is warm and the wedding is approaching, I have three questions. First, what jewelry would you recommend to wear with this for the wedding? I’m not sure where to draw the line considering the beading. (Also, it’s an outdoor wedding in the country, so the dress code it somewhat fluid.) Second, for this outdoor country wedding, what kind of shoe do you recommend? No one likes to sink their stilettos in the sod. Third, I love the way this dress looks and feels, so I want to get more wear out of it. There is an anniversary party for my parents coming up later this summer, but it’s a brunch. Can I dress this down to be brunch appropriate? In these pictures they add a belt which seems to do the trick, but I wanted to know if you have any other suggestions.


A. You picked a pretty dress that can definitely be worn multiple ways. For the outdoor country wedding, you should look for gold or bronze metallic wedge to pair with your dress to keep your heels from sinking into grass or sand. Add a little color with your jewelry and handbag. Pretty earrings and a chic bracelet or cocktail ring are all that you need since a necklace would compete with the drapey neckline and beaded embellishments.

For your parents’ anniversary brunch, a pair of wedges or a heeled sandal and a belt will add daytime flair to the dress. You can also layer everything from a cardigan or blazer to a denim jacket or military vest over the dress to dress the look down even further.

Here are two looks for inspiration:

Q. My fiancé and I are eloping and then celebrating with a big party a few weeks later with all of our friends and family. I would like to look “bridal” without wearing a traditional wedding gown. Can you help me find a fun, cocktail-style white dress to wear to my wedding party?

A. Congratulations! I think wearing a white cocktail dress is the perfect solution for looking like a bride at your party, while still wearing something a little less formal and traditional than a bridal gown. Below are some options for you. [Note: these dresses would also be perfect for an engagement party, elopement, or any less formal wedding occasion]


Q. I am going to be the maid of honor at my sister’s wedding this summer and she has given me the freedom to choose my own dress. I found a really beautiful off-white dress but I’m not sure if it’s appropriate to wear white or ivory to the wedding. What do you think?

A. It is typically a faux pas for anyone but the bride to wear white (or ivory) to a wedding, for fear of outshining the bride. At the royal wedding last week, Kate Middleton’s sister Pippa (below) wore an ivory dress and there has been a lot of buzz about whether she stole the spotlight from the princess. Though there’s typically no one more beautiful than a glowing bride, I’m of the opinion that she should be the only one in white at the wedding. Therefore, it’s probably best that you look for a different dress, even if your sister seem’s fine with your choice.


Q. In June, I am attending an outdoor wedding at a North Carolina country club. I have a gorgeous dress in a solid dove gray color. I am leaning towards really saturated colors for accessories and shoes since the dress is very neutral. Would that be appropriate? Also, since I am having to travel to the wedding, I would like to spend less than $300 total on shoes, jewelry, and clutch. Is that feasible?

A. I love the idea of pairing a monochromatic dress with pops of bright. Dove gray is the perfect base color to pop with pinks, purples, yellows, greens and blues - whatever your preference. As for budget, you should have no problem finding shoes, a bag and some jewelry for under $300. Here is one look for inspiration below, using pink and silver to accessorize your gray dress:


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