Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Party Dress Wanted

Yesterday I revealed that I will be attending the Vow Renewal of Ami of Elizabeth Anne Designs. Today, I need your help deciding what dress to wear!

This my first ever black tie event and I am a little bit nervous. What if all of the people there instantly know I am just a little farm girl who took pigs to the fair growing up? I need to look fancy and sophisticated. The other criteria I am trying to fit is versatility. I need something that will work for future company parties I may need to attend with That Husband.

I ordered 7 dresses from Nordstrom, tried them all on, and came away with 5 possibilities, most of which I am not completely in love with. I'm frustrated by how difficult it is to find dresses with sleeves that look flattering on me (they all seem to have too low of a neckline, or be super short, or look overly casual), and I'm hoping that some encouraging votes or constructive criticism (maybe even some sleuthing to find other dress options) will help me make a decision.

#1-The Silver.
It seems like I'm not filling out the bust area or something, which is impossible since my chest is ginormous. Does it look that way to you? I do think it gives me a nice waist though, and I think the color and material look fancy enough.

#2-The Teal
I'm not even sure I like this one at all, but maybe someone else will see something in it that I don't?

#3-The Black
It's black, so it's versatile, but I think it's really casual looking. Would I really look good standing next to someone wearing a tux and bowtie?

#4-The Silver and Black
I like it and I also don't. Again, is it doing weird things in the bust area? Does the two tonal aspect take away from the fanciness? Does it just look like a nice dress I could wear to court if I were a lawyer?

#5-The Brown
Definitely my favorite. Unfortunately, this is the most expensive dress of the bunch.

Should I choose:
The Silver
The Teal
The Black
The Silver and Black
The Brown
Keep Looking

My maximum budget is $150, and of course I always want to spend much less than that. Any suggestions for me?


Laura said...

I like the black, or the silver & black. I think the silver & black looks a little fancier of those two, but I think the black one is the most flattering of them all. I think it's especially more flattering than all the others from the back. You could absolutely dress up the black one anyway by your choice of jewelry and shoes, so personally I think it's your best bet.

To be completely honest I don't really like the brown one at all, but then I generally dislike dresses with long sleeves, so take that opinion with a grain of salt. But I'm not sure that a collared dress is the right look for a formal event... I think it looks a bit too business-like, even though it's in a shimmery fabric that you wouldn't wear to the office.

Hayley Niuserre said...

I think the black is the most flattering on you - the neckline is gorgeous. Definitely not a fan of the brown I'm afraid, the collared look just doesn't do anything for you.

As it's black tie, you know you can wear long right? If you're worried about looking under dressed, something long should prevent that.

Anonymous said...

Aww I guess I'm going to be in the minority, cause I say Brown all the way!! You look so Parisian Chic in the brown!
Here is my reasoning

You say you are looking for sophistication and not the little girl from the farm look. I think the brown makes you look older (in a good way) and more sophisticated. I love the way the collar frames your face ...all the attention is on your eyes! and the wrap look takes attention away from your bust and puts it on your waist and your face. Overall I think you look the slimmest in the brown as well. I think the other dresses with the open necklines make you look younger which takes away from the sophistication level and puts a lot of the focus on your chest.

If this is a black tie event then technically you should have a long dress, but buying a long dress isn't very versatile for future wear so I like that you are sticking with the shorter dress. But since your legs will be showing I think that means you need more coverage elsewhere...the long sleeves are perfect for that since it balances out the lower half. Remember you'll be standing next to guys in tuxes and other women in long dresses so you don't want to feel exposed.

The key is also the accessories... jewelry and shoes will really be key to giving the dresses a formal look.

Plus its New Years ...and yes it will be cold in GA, so having sleeves does double duty.

I remember being in the minority too when we voted for the engagement pic dress cause I wanted the really colorful one and everyone said it would be bad in pics, but it ended up being fab.

So I say go for the brown or keep shopping if you aren't in love. So my order of preference is

1) Brown
2) Keep Shopping
2) Silver and Black
3) Silver
4) Black (too casual)
5) Teal (never wear the teal).

Tina <3 said...

#4 or #5.....i think the cut, fabric, color, and silhouette of both look FABULOUS on you! You can never go wrong with a black dress. Plus some fun colored accessories would make it look amazing. Good Luck you look beautiful and i hope you have a great time at the event.

Jessica @ budgetsavvybride said...

I LOOOOOOVE the brown on you. I think you look very polished and sophisticated in it- you could definitely wear it to a nice business dinner with the hubs. I'm just a big fan of that style in general, but I think you're rockin' it! Super chic and classy. Go with it! :)

Ruby Slippers said...

Definitely the Black. It's the most flattering by far, and I don't think it looks too plain. Dress it up with some great jewellery and killer heels and you're ready to go!

The Brown is the number 2 choice - I don't care for any of the others, to be honest.

Anonymous said...

ooh! the brown looks amazing! i love it -- it's much more interesting than the others!

AmyJean said...

I like the black and brown ones! :)

Autumn Witt Boyd to be said...

I actually love #4, and as a lawyer, I can tell you it would definitely be too fancy for a court appearance!!! I think they key with the sleeves since you are petite is the proportion, and the cap sleeves on #4 are really nice.

I also like #5, (the slim sleeves give it nice proportions also) and if it's your favorite and at the top of your budget (rather than OUT of budget, which is a different scenario altogether), and you think you'll wear it again, you should go with what makes you feel good. I also think #5 is versatile, ie, different jewelry will give it a different look at future occasions.

Anonymous said...

I personally like the brown or the black the most. Or to maybe keep looking. Are there other stores you can look for dresses at?

Amanda and Jared said...

I like the black or silver and black. I like the brown but I think it is too casual. I really really don't like the teal but that is my own personal opinion. I also agree with the other ladies about them not being long dresses...Good luck Jenna!

Amy@Fiancé Meeting You Here said...

First of all--you look amazing! That little waist looks great in every single dress.
I voted for black because I thought it fit you the best.
The first two look too big, I would definitely return those. The black and silver is actually really beautiful, but it does give off a lil lawyer vibe (a cute one tho). I do like the brown one, but it's just not as playful as the black, and I try to buy every lbd that looks good on me. It's a practice that has come in handy!

So if I had to rank I'd say black, black/silver then brown.

GL! I can't wait to hear about the vow renewal!

Blablover5 said...

I second (or maybe third or fourth)the black one. And at least it would fulfill the black part of black tie.

But it really does to me look the best on you.

Kelly B said...

I LOVE the brown, with the black being my close-runner up! I definitely say stay short - you'll get more wear out of it and these day short is fully appropriate. If you're concerned the black isn't "fancy" enough I think just add some great jewelry and shoes and you'll be golden - fit right in :)

Good luck!

natalie + joshua said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
natalie + joshua said...

love the black and silver dress. I think it is beautiful, it compliments your body fabulously and it's different. YOu'll be the only woman in the room wearing that dress :)

My second choice is the little black dress, I think it fits really nicely and let's be honest, you can NEVER go wrong wearing a black dress to an event...and I think jewelry could easily dress up the dress :)

PS: Jenna, you are beautiful and I know whatever dress you choose you'll wear it fabulously....

November 19, 2008 7:09 AM

bekapaige said...

The first one is gorgeous- I would say run over to a tailor and have them notch in the sides a little bit. I think you fill it out, it's just puckering slightly. I also like the brown one, but I feel like it's not as fancy.

Sorry to say, I do not like the teal one. :)

Meg said...

I think the black is the most flattering on you. Maybe you could dress it up with accessories?
You might want to check Cache. It's pretty much an old lady store, but they can have really nice dresses sometimes (that's where my bridesmaid dresses came from). Oh yeah! And they recently sent me a private sale coupon for 30% off, so if you find anything I can forward it to you.

Linda said...

I love the the brown one. I think that one suited you the best.

Mel said...

I think the Silver and black looks good on you.

Kellirdan said...

The Black is nice, but I really adore the brown. I think it makes you shine.

Jennifer said...

First of all, your hair is way too pretty. I don't like the black at all. I love the two-tone and the brown.

heather said...

i like the silver and black, and the brown :) Both are super flattering and nice enough for a black tie event but versatile enough to wear to less formal events :) There are my two cents, for what they are worth :)

Tiffany said...

i think you should keep looking. I'm not feeling any of them for you. Also, they are a bit more "cocktail dress" than black tie.

If I had to choose one I would go for the brown and fancy it up with your jewelry and shoes.

Amanda said...

I say definitely the brown. If that's too spendy, I would go with the silve/black one.

Single Girl said...

I like the black and silver. I think next to a tux it will be amazing.

I also like the brown, but it dosent look brown at all its sort of weriding me out that its brown.

Also brown with a black can either look great or silly.

Shelly Yorgesen said...

I vote w/ a huge vote the black!!! I have a simple black that I bought for a cruise, I have used it sooooo much, a surpise formal dinner on valentines right here at home w/ our children as little waiters and waitresses, his company parties, an a formal dinner we hosted for the bishopric. Black fits every holiday and I have never regretted having my very own little black dress. I love that we get to vote!!! I feel so important! tee...auntie shel

Anonymous said...

The black or the brown, definitely!

(Or keep looking - maybe something more formal for black tie?)

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Just what you need, another comment.

#1 THE BROWN definitely the brown. You look like your own super-chic woman in that with definite ideas about fashion. Sexy.

#2 Silver and black. It's the most flattering after The Brown, and people will see YOU in it. Plus the chic high waist and the bit of bling at the belt leaves no doubt that this is a par-tay dress. Cute!

The bodice of #1 is a pretty thing but the fit is somehow odd.

Amanda said...

I like aspects of all of them, but I might look for something a little more formal since it is black-tie... Although you could always dress up the basic black dress with some "bling"... Have you checked out Dillard's? They have some more formal party dresses with sleeves... Good luck!

Whitney R said...

Definitly NO on the teal.

The rest look great.

There's another place that is cheaper than Nordstrom but has beautiful dresses (that are modest).

Mikarose. I'm sure you've heard of it.

Whitney R said...

Oh, and Boden has some beautiful dresses too.

I really like the black and black and silver.

s. said...

I vote the silver or the brown.
-The teal is beautiful but the bow in the back makes it too country. -The silver and black is doing something funny in the bust.

I think the silver is supposed to fit that way, but really I think that the brown is very classic. with you hair back in a smart bun and some fabulous large jewelery it would be tres chic.

DCKate said...

1, 4, 5, 3, 2

My preferences, in order :-) I really like the silver, because I think it's unexpected, but at the same time, it's classic and very flattering. I think you'd get a lot of wear out of it.

{Furi Kuri} Weddings said...

The key to finding a dress for a black tie affair is to look for a high quality fabric and an amazing cut. The brown dress looks amazing on you, but for the event you're going to I think the Black/ Silver with a pair of killer heels would look just as formal as a full length evening gown.

If want to keep looking though and want something that you can wear again I would also look for a black full length dress. You can never go wrong with a classic black gown and will use it more times than you realize!

check out: for some great deals on designer dresses

Ultimately though, you'll look fabulous no matter what!

Helen, Linda, & Holly said...

i think the black/silver looks soo hot on you, really shows off your amazing figure! and definitely is dressy enough for black tie!

Peonies and Polaroids said...

The brown is super sophisticated, the black is nice, the grey is nice too but a bit casual looking to me and the teal is really really awful. The silver and grey is just kinda 'meh...'

You are gorgeous girl!

Linda said...

I like the one that costs way too much the best...of course. It just seems so chic & the rest just seem blah.

Kristen said...

I like the silver & black and the brown. As long as you wear shoes that are sparkly and elegant with equally sparkly/elegant jewelry I think the length won't matter.

Cyd said...

I definitely vote for the the silver or the black. The teal one...I am with you! It just doesn't work for you as well. The black and silver is smashing but it is a bit more business formal than black tie in my eyes. I have to concur with some others about the's not as flattering on you, and it actually photographs much more casual than any of the others.

Go with the silver or the black! You can dress black up with great heels, a fabulous clutch and maybe even a great color sash!

Tasha said...

Jen, I would use #3 the Black one. I think that it looks fantastic. Black is versatile with everything. If you're worried it's too casual, you can dress it up. With a classic dress like that put your hair in an up-do. Wear some shiny luscious looking heels and some shimmery and earrings. You could get aways with a necklace, but I don't think you'll need it.

Valerie said...

I think the black looks the best but have you considered a long dress? Generally black tie implies long dress. I think these are more cocktail-type dresses for a "formal" event but not a "black tie" event. I would definitely not use the teal -- it screams old woman to me (no offense intended).

Guilty Secret said...

I love the brown. Very classy. Also think the silver looked good. I agree that the black looks great on you but less formal.

Rachel said...

That should be so much fun!!!

I like the silver dress on you (#1). I personally think it is the most flattering. The teal one is the worst of the bunch - I'm sorry to say. And I'm not a huge fan of the brown one either because I think it's too severe looking.
And as far as the bustline goes - I think it's flattering and looks fine. My sister has a large chest, so I can understand what you're going through. But the silver one doesn't call too much attention there.
Plus, you can always dress up the silver dress with some great jewelry - a great long necklace would look awesome!

Jenna said...

Ummm wow, I usually try to reply to comments, but I cannot possibly reply to all of these! Thanks to everyone who gave input, I read every single one of the comments, sometimes multiple times. An extra big thanks to those who have actually attended black tie events and weighed in with their thoughts. All of the ordering is done, and I should have an outfit put together soon. Of course I'll be sharing the final results with everyone when I have them in my hands!