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Old July 5th, 2006, 09:43 PM   #1
Birchbark
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Default Formal clothing for a 20 year old?

So, my cousin is getting married this summer, in what looks to be a fairly formal evening event, and I have no idea what people wear to these types of things. I normally don't worry about fashion, but there will be many pictures taken and I really don't want to look like I was trying to go to the beach or prom instead of this wedding. I also want to look like I'm 20, not 40.

I'll probably be sewing the dress myself, since I have much more time than money, but I need a general idea of appropriate styles. It's been more than two years since I've had to wear nylons or makeup, which should give you an idea of how clueless I am. I can make historically accurate clothing from anytime between the 15th and 19th centuries, but something simple like this, and I'm lost. . .

Help?
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Old July 5th, 2006, 10:49 PM   #2
Koala Kim
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Not sure if this style is your cup of tea but I found a pattern for a nice basic type formal/semi-formal dress with stole (the short version please ).

I found it on http://www.sewingpatterns.com/ . The pattern number is: 8196bur.

I tried to look but they have over a thousand dress patterns and my poor eyes & brain couldn't take it!

Anyhoo- I think the short version with stole in a nice red or black would be awesome. You could dress it up with a simple string of pearls (black dress). Hmmm...the red...I'll have to think about accessories for that.
You don't want to over-accessorize with this type of dress. Simple but elegant.

HTH!
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Old July 6th, 2006, 12:46 AM   #3
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Fabulous pattern there Kim! It took me a while to find the little search box in the top right corner on their page though.

I'll pretty much second the recommendation for the short dress with a stole. A little black dress will get you tonnes of mileage for all sorts of occassions. Plus, you're probably coming up to that time where you'll suddenly have a lot of weddings to attend.

If you go for something bolder and make it up in red, you could accessorize with a chunky black bead-type necklace or tahitian pearls. White pearls could also work depending on the shade of red.
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Old July 6th, 2006, 03:46 PM   #4
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If you can sew historical clothing, empire waists are big this year. What about something flowing, renaissance-type?
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Old July 8th, 2006, 11:49 PM   #5
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Caldonia Sun, I am a big fan of renaissancey flowiness, but I also do like Koala Kim's pattern. I'd probably make a jacket rather than a stole though, they stay on better Basically I'm trying to get an idea of the generic going to weddings dress, since this will be more formal and conservative than I'm really used to, and as Jennerosity said, there will only be more weddings to attend in my future.

So, short sleeveless dress + accessories? That means I have to shave and wear nylons, doesn't it? I do have some denim colored rayon lying around, would that be a good color? I know black's traditional, but it makes me look like a vampire.
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Old July 9th, 2006, 10:47 AM   #6
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I'd say go look at the fabric store in the pattern books. I'd recommend almost any short dress in the "formal" section of those books.

I always steered clear from wearing white, black, or red to a wedding. It is just something my mother droned into my head. However, if it is an evening wedding, the "little black dress" can be a fabulous choice - so I ignore Mom's advice on the black.

You also might look into some of your local thrift stores. I bought a totally sequined dress for $13. I was going to wear it to my 25th high school reunion, but now found out we are only having a cocktail hour/dinner, not a formal dance.

And don't forget about Ross/Marshall's/TJMaxx. You can get some GREAT looking dresses for great prices (but you have to go back over time).

Get an idea of what style you are looking for first, if you decide to look in the thrift stores or R/M/TJM.

Good luck and let us know what you decide!
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Old July 9th, 2006, 12:19 PM   #7
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Birchbark- glad you like the pattern! If you go with the denim colored rayon, you can get away with more chunky/funky accessories.
And yes dear- you have to shave.

As far as nylons/pantyhose goes- a lot of the younger crowd goes without them now. Although personally- I have to have my hose! My legs need some kind of coloring on them, even if it's fake.

TBear has a good idea as well. You can check out TJMaxx, AJWright, etc. I picked up a dress at TJMaxx that I wore to my MIL's funeral for $10.

I bought a formal last year to wear to my SIL's wedding that had been marked down from $145 to $15. This was at a specialty shop.
So- look around. You may be surprised at what you find.
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Old July 9th, 2006, 07:00 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Teacherbear
I always steered clear from wearing white, black, or red to a wedding. It is just something my mother droned into my head. However, if it is an evening wedding, the "little black dress" can be a fabulous choice - so I ignore Mom's advice on the black.

TBear- your mom sounds like my mom! I remember just about giving my mom a heart attack when I wore a red dress to my cousin's wedding, and a black dress to the reception in the '80's. But hey- I was hot stuff! (not to be confused with Trolleypup, who is *the* Hot Stuff ).
If the wedding is in town, I change clothes between the wedding and the reception to this day. Something Mom always had us do.

Alas- the rules have pretty much relaxed and you can indeed wear black to a reception w/o being talked about. But oh! Those were the days...hehehe...
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Old July 9th, 2006, 08:31 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Koala Kim

TBear- your mom sounds like my mom! . . . <snip> . . .
If the wedding is in town, I change clothes between the wedding and the reception to this day. Something Mom always had us do.

Mom was no social maven, nor is she very fashionable, but she is VERY old-fashioned in her thoughts! (She still wears her polyester coulottes from the late 70s/early 80s!).

Now, tell me about why your mother had you change clothes between the ceremony and reception . . . I've never heard of that (oops, this is officially a hijack, isn't it? - sorry - maybe this can become its own thread . . . )
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Old July 10th, 2006, 12:10 AM   #10
Birchbark
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Koala Kim
And yes dear- you have to shave.

*sigh* Ah, the hardships of being fettered by polite society. I am going for nylons though, I also need coloring on my pasty white chicken legs.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Teacherbear
Now, tell me about why your mother had you change clothes between the ceremony and reception

I'm curious too. I've been to some weddings where the bride does that. One of my parent's friends showed up at the reception in this amazing sari that was hot pink with gold trim, which I know she wasn't wearing for the ceremony.

I appreciate all the help in this thread. I will be heading out to Ross sometime, and I'm always at the thrift stores, so I should find something. I'm just trying to get the idea of what's normal.
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