May 14, 2012 10:25 AM
Marissa writes, "I have an international fashion dilemma that I am hoping you can help with. You see, my boyfriend is taking me to meet his family for the first time in Mexico City. We will be there mid-June and we will be attending his sister's university graduation. This event is not like a graduation ceremony in the U.S.; it's much more formal. My boyfriend will be wearing a suit (and he told me that some men also wear tuxes to these events) and I know his mom and sister will be wearing dresses, though I don't know what their dresses look like. The event is in the evening and there will be a formal dinner and dance reception with about 800 people in attendance. From what I know, I would say the event is comparable in formality to a nice wedding reception.
I have scoured department stores left and right for a dress for this event and everything I find is either too flashy/tacky or too prom-y.
I'm 5'2" and about 105 lbs. I'm looking for a formal, modest-enough (I'm meeting his family, after all) and beautiful cocktail dress for this event. Because of my height, I find that shorter, fitted dresses work best for me but you guys are miracle workers so feel free to stray from that if you feel so inclined. I'm typically a size 2 or 4 (small overall, slightly broader shoulders). My max budget is $300. I wear high heels almost all the time (I love a fab pair of sky-high footwear!) and will not wear a heel lower than 3.5" to this event, so feel free to include dresses that flatter a great shoe (I will likely wear a neutral heel). I like pinks, blues, and purples, though I also have found that some gold tones flatter me, as well. On the flip side, I don't look good in dresses with the drapey-looking ruching that is popular in dresses these days or in asymmetrical hemlines.
Can you help me find a dress, por favor? The sooner the better!"
Hi Marissa! Wow, this sounds like fun! I rustled up a few dress options for you, sticking with styles that will flatter your petite frame and keep you modest enough for meeting the bf's fam. If none of these make the right impression, my advice would be to stick with simple silhouettes and fancy materials for formal events. It's a combo that hints at good taste and class! Enjoy the graduation!
1. McGinn Filicinae Sheath Dress ($300)
2. Lilly Pulitzer Kiera Silk Dress ($298)
3. JCrew Cecelia Shift Dress in Tricotine ($198)
4. JCrew Blakely Dress in Silk Taffeta ($150, on sale)
5. Kate Spade New York Deanna Dress ($295)
6. TFNC Dress Sequin Bandeau Chiffon Skirt Maxi (118) (I know this is maxi-length, but I just couldn't resist its golden awesomeness! It may be worth it to buy and hem!)
7. Darling Lace Amelia Dress ($137)
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Layla here: At a strapping 5'2", I've got plenty of tricks up my sleeve for fellow petite girls who need to look fashion fabulous. Plus, I make all of my beauty purchases online just so I can get free trial size samples in the mail. If you're not sure about a product, chances are I've tried it! I'd be glad to recommend my favs. I also have a knack for men's apparel and gifts, especially geek guy gifts, thanks to the expertise of my own gadget-inclined guy.