With the return of mild(er) weather and the resumption of wedding season, I wanted to share photos of three affordable dresses–which meet more traditionally formal dress codes–that I ordered earlier this summer. They can also be made in shorter lengths for more relaxed celebrations.
Note that I ordered all three dresses featured in this post in a custom size, and would encourage you to do the same if you typically wear a size outside of the standard range, as AW Bridal offers free tailoring on their “bridesmaids” collection. Apart from the length on the two floor-length options–which weren’t really wearable without 3-inch heels for me–the dresses all fit well, if very closely. If you go with a custom size, I’d also suggest adding a small cushion (1/2″-1″) to the bust and waist numbers you provide AW Bridal, if you have a straighter shape.
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I thought the “Laetitia Dress,” because of its scooped neckline and spaghetti straps, looked more casual in stock images than other AW Bridal offerings. IRL, however, with the amount of chiffon, the longer length, and draped back, the dress reads slightly formal and would be best for bridesmaids, especially in pastel tones for a spring event. But in darker or more saturated colors, I can see the style being a reasonable choice for wedding guests.
I had hoped the “Mustard Yellow” would be a softer shade of yellow, but the actual color is quite bright so fans of muted colors might stay away from this option. And make sure to steam this dress thoroughly before first wear–the fabric is easy to smooth, there are just some tougher creases hidden in the longer skirt.
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I really like the satin charmeuse that AW Bridal uses: not only does it feel good to wear, the weight lends the material a soft drape, which offsets any potential heaviness imparted by the fabric’s sheen. I also love the “Desert Rose” color, even if it feels more wedding party than formal dinner.
The draped cowl neckline highlights the décolletage, and leaves room for something dainty and sparkly. While the floor-sweeping hem may be appropriate for bridesmaids, if you are ordering this dress for a different kind of special occasion, specify it in a midi length instead.
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The Mae Dress looks like a more sensual and stylized take on the Reformation Twilight Dress, but I thought it had some fit and design issues that I want to highlight: while I am not exactly buxom, I rarely struggle to fill out (with the help of NuBra or tape) most built-in bras. With this dress, however, my breasts felt unsupported, at once compressed and forcefully separated by the bustier design. The boning of the corset also bends easily: the stomach shaper will start to jut out awkwardly after some amount of sitting, and it will be hard to bend the wiring back naturally while the dress is still on your body.
But if you can avoid sitting, and invest in some bra inserts, this dress is actually very flattering (the cinch at the waist and A-line skirt help accentuate barely-there curves) and has many pretty details, like the tie-shoulder straps.
You can use code Elle15 for 15% off your purchase.
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Read my original review of AW Bridal here.