Formal Shopping

I have a quandary. There’s a formal event at a conference I’m going to the end of June and I need an outfit. I’m Ms. Casual, as a rule. So I headed to my closet. Now, about the only time my husband and I dress up is for weddings and cruises. Up until recently, I had a small (and I mean VERY small) wardrobe of formal wear.

I pushed my everyday clothes aside until I could reach the fancy stuff at the way, way back of my closet, and the first thing I pulled out was a maroon pant set. The pants were satin, the top was velvet with a neru collar and frog button closures. Did I mention the entire outfit was maroon?  Did I really wear that? Yes. To one work holiday party better left forgotten. What was I thinking? I tossed that outfit in the donate pile without even trying it on.

Then I went through the few other things left in my formal wardrobe. Since I’ve been on this diet and exercise program and have lost 45 pounds, not one single piece of clothing fit. Not a one. That doesn’t upset me…much. It’s just that now I need to find an inexpensive way to come up with an outfit for the conference.

I’ve been doing some online shopping and it’s been pretty bleak.  Macy’s doesn’t have much. Neither does Kohl’s (my current fav clothing store).  I’m old enough that I don’t want strapless. I came up with two possibilities at Nordstrom’s, but both are over $200. I’ve posted photos of the model pictures here.  I don’t know if $200+ is cheap or expensive these days, but yikes! That’s more than I want to pay for an outfit I’ll probably only wear a couple times.

So here’s my question. Where do you all shop for things like this? I think what I’d really like is to find a nice skirt in chiffon or something and then I can interchange tops. Something that will roll with the changing times. And I apparently need help figuring out where to go find this type of thing.

posted by Laurie Ryan

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13 responses to “Formal Shopping

  1. I typically look at Macy’s for these kinds of dresses however I have had some luck in the past at Ross and have gotten of course a much better deal. Might be worth looking to?

  2. Oooh. I hadn’t thought about Ross. I’ll add that to my list.

  3. You might try the bridal shops. I’ve seen pricey and not so pricey at them. When I buy for cruises I favor dressy pants suits.

  4. Yep. I’ve been looking at David’s Bridal online. They haven’t had anything I liked. I guess I just need to start driving around and checking places out. 🙂

  5. How about dressy black pants (slinky jersey/ velvet/ velour) + standout fancy jacket + a little cami underneath? You’ll look fabulous without having to mess with pantyhose etc. I found a great fancy jacket for a formal thing at Penney’s online, in their ‘special occasion’ section. Even with snazzy shoes it wouldn’t be $200.

  6. ps – have it sent to Penneys store = no shipping

  7. JCP is a good place. Sadly, I didn’t find anything shopping there online. And I don’t think they carry much formal stuff in their store, do they? I never actually stopped by to check, though.

  8. Oh, Laurie…shopping 🙂

    I wish I could help, but alas I do not know of any US shops.

    I hope you find something soon. My only advice ~ Always stick to classic style, they’re timeless and look great, too.

  9. Timeless styles also outlast trends, which is good because I don’t dress up all that often and would like to get some use out of it. After everyone’s comments, I definitely feel like going with a two piece instead of one. And someone mentioned a local mall in Auburn that has some dressier stores. So I’ll be headed there soon to check it out.
    Thanks for the tips, everyone!

  10. Like Jan, I don’t feel I can help much in the way of shops. What I do for formals is take classic black evening pants and team with a snazzy new top and some glitzy sandals which I normally find in a sale somewhere.

    Good luck!

  11. Do you all have SteinMart out there? It’s amazing for dressy separates. I recommend them. I have to wear formals for Daughters of American Revolution events and I’ve gotten good deals at Dillards as well. Do you have Dillards? I bet I’ve been no help at all, right? LOL!

    For RWA, I wore a church dress. At the GH and Ritas, you see everything from formals to church dresses to pants suits.

  12. I have never heard of SteinMart. But apparently they have online shopping (I just googled them.). Today, I had a good day. I stopped by a bridal shop where I had bought a skirt before. I looked online, but could find no separates advertised. Turns out, they are phasing out the separates (say it aint’ so!). At any rate, they had a black chiffon skirt IN MY SIZE on the rack. ON SALE! So I now have a skirt and am on to shopping for a glitzy top to go with it. Yay! I’m halfway there! Jillian, you’ll have to report if I do a good job putting this outfit together as you’ll be at the conference, too, right? 🙂

  13. So glad you found a skirt!! I’ll definitely let you know if you do a great job- I’m sure you will.

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