For the past few summers, I have had at least one wedding to attend, if not more. My sisters are at that perfect age when ALL their friends are getting married, which means I inevitably get invited or come along as a date. I love any chance to get dressed up and do my makeup and hair, but this year one wedding totally snuck up on me. I realized I didn’t have anything to wear about two weeks before the date, which wouldn’t be a huge deal except for 1. I’m super picky and have yet to find an affordable store in Madison that kills it with dresses of my style and 2. I was getting sinus surgery and wouldn’t have much type to shop around before the wedding. My friend Sarah recommended Lulu’s, and I was super impressed with the prices and variety of dresses they offer. I quickly put together a cart of a few options and shipped it my way.
I love that Lulu’s offers free shipping (if you’re willing to wait a little bit), and my order ended up coming in 5 days, which was 2 days under the estimated 7-11 day shipping time. My goal was to order dresses of a bunch of different styles so I could see what felt most flattering. In the past, I’ve made the mistake of falling in love with one style and ordering a few options in that same style, and then I’m disappointed when that style doesn’t look as great on me as I hoped but I don’t have any other choices.
I ended up only keeping one dress out of my order, but if I wasn’t on a budget, I definitely would have kept 2 or 3 more. Let’s get started with the try-on, working our way up to the chosen one!
This Tale To Tell Beige and Black Embroidered Shift Dress ($59) was the first dress I tried on, and I instantly thought it was a winner. I’ve heard mixed feelings on wearing black to weddings, but who doesn’t feel great in a black dress? Who cares what everyone else thinks (though I still wouldn’t dare to wear white)! I’ve always been a fan of shift-style dresses, and I especially loved that this one felt roomy but was fitted enough to still give me some shape. The embroidered detailing along the neckline was much better quality than I expected for only $59, and the fabric came a bit wrinkly but seemed like it would hold it’s shape after a quick ironing. If I hadn’t tried on any more dresses, I would have felt happy and comfortable wearing this to the wedding.
The next dress I tried on was a favorite when scrolling through endless pages on Lulu’s choosing out which ones to order. This Black Swan Tyra Dusty Rose Lace Dress ($75) is the most perfect mauve color, and I loved the straight across neckline with spaghetti straps. Unfortunately, the fit wasn’t right on me. It either needed to be a little bit tighter to actually fit across my boobs and suck in my tummy a little bit, or a different shape – looser in the bottom, tighter across the top. I’m sure another body type would look great in this dress, as the fabric was beautiful and it’s overall adorable, but it wasn’t for me.
The next dress I tried on was ALL WRONG. If you look at the photo of the model on the website, the Sweeter Than Sugar Navy Blue Backless Skater Dress ($46) is low-cut and tight across the top with a loose, skater-cut skirt. Look at it on me! I pulled it up as much as I could to take an appropriate photo, but the top part of the dress was so big and long that it just hung and didn’t cover a thing. The skirt ended up looking pleated because there was so much extra fabric, and the entire thing was such a thin cotton that everything showed underneath. I guess I could have tried it in a size smaller, but I think in general the proportions were just all wrong.
Since I’ve been into mauve these days, I figured I’d try out one other style in that color, and I would have kept the Deep In Thought Mauve Shift Dress ($39) if I was shopping for a more casual event. The color was perfect, the fabric was stretchy yet thick, and the A-line hem was super flattering. My only problem with this dress was that the neckline and armpit holes were a bit loose, almost as if they had been stretched out. I think it would have laid okay on someone a bit flatter in the chest area, but for me, my boobs pulled at the fabric causing a weird gapping in a few areas.
As I said before, I love shift dresses, so I figured trying one more couldn’t hurt. This Shift and Shout Blush Pink Shift Dress ($48) was so much tighter than the black one above, even thought it was listed as the same size. It pulled across my stomach and shoulders but gapped around my waist – those sound like the opposite proportions than you would hope for. I did like the color and the zipper detailing up the back, but in general it was just not a flattering dress on me – I felt like a man!
And now, the winning dress! The second I slipped this Lean Close Ivory and Red Floral Print Swing Dress ($52) over my head, I knew we had it. I don’t wear many bright colors, so I was surprised with how much I loved the red, and the collar+v-neck neckline isn’t one I’d worn before, but it felt super fun and flirty. The fabric hung perfectly and stayed loose in all areas without being huge and shapeless, and the biggest bonus was not needing to wear a bra! I felt so great in this dress all night (see below!) and am so happy to have it in my wardrobe for future events and celebrations. Oh, and not to mention, the color matched PERFECTLY with the Ciaté London Liquid Velvet in Starlet!
Lulu’s sizes are a little weird to me, with all dresses being XS-XL, and they list a L as a size 6 and an XL as a size 8 on their website. I’m typically an 8 or 10 in dresses, but I’m also usually a M or L, so I was scared to order an XL. I ended up choosing L in all dresses, and I think that was overall a good choice. I would suggest choosing the size from XS-XL that you would be in pants from the Junior’s section and going with that. I also have to say how much I appreciate the free returns that Lulu’s offers – if you send back your order within 7 days, it’s free!
What are your favorite affordable online fashion retailers? I feel like I’m stepping away from in-store shopping and relying on huge orders from companies with good return policies so I can compare all options in the comfort of my home, but I need more suggestions! Take care ladies and gents, and happy wedding season!