What does one wear to a mid-October wedding in Texas? There’s no telling what the weather will be like there in early fall, so my mom can be forgiven for answering like a malfunctioning pinball machine when I asked her about a month ago what she thought I should wear for this grand family event:
“Well, it could be cold. Or hot. Maybe only slightly cold? You should wear tights. Or not? It could be scorching. But probably chilly. Maybe a cute jacket? It’s actually been rather warm lately. Wait, it just started raining. Oh, did I tell you a car was dangling from the lot your father parks in downtown and I thought it was him for a good half hour until I realized this car was parked on level six and he only ever parks on level one or two?”
Every state thinks they own this saying, but in Texas it really is true: “If you don’t like the weather, wait a minute. It’ll change.” So I decided to buy four different dresses (as I wasn’t about to find myself in the same boat as my book party, when I literally had to buy a random dress off the street as I walked to the event), modeled them on FaceTime to get my friends' opinions, then went ahead and just packed them all so I could wait to decide until an hour before the wedding.
The sequined Needle & Thread dress at top left is from Nordstrom Rack, a.k.a. the only way I’d own something so expensive. The green vintage Moschino number at top right is from Wasteland here in Los Angeles. The short black cape gown at lower left is an Amazon banger. And the floral homage to Kim Kardashian’s infamous 2013 Met Gala "couch" dress at bottom right is from my favorite spot for special-occasion frocks: Windsor.
True story: I once wore a $69 scuba fabric ball gown from Windsor to the Emmys — and people would not stop asking me where it was from. (There were famous people in attendance, so I lied and said it was vintage, hence I’m doing penance here now by telling you guys the truth.) What I’m trying to say is: Windsor’s where it’s at for not-so-pricey fancy party dresses, so don’t knock it till you try it. (But be forewarned: One thing Windsor does NOT excel at is lining their dresses, so cut to the chase and just hack out whatever the dress comes with — and grab yourself a proper slip instead.)
The wedding I attended in Texas wound up having three separate lead-up events before the ceremony itself (arrival-night cocktail party, rehearsal dinner, and day-after brunch), so I actually wore all four of the dresses I procured. But I ended up wearing the long Windsor floral gown (yours for $59.90 and called the "Kim," duh) to the wedding itself — and didn't even realize what a knockout choice it was until the night was almost over.
Here’s why this floral gown was so baller:
1.) I never once worried about my underwear showing or my bra straps slipping out of my dress.
2.) I just wore a regular bra and plain old underwear — no messing with a strapless boob contraption that fell down nonstop or struggling to pee through a tiny Spanx hole.
3.) It actually wound up being a wee bit chilly there in Texas when the sun went down, so having a dress that covered my arms and legs was a relief — and I could have even worn a very thin turtleneck (like this one) underneath it, making me even toastier while still looking cute.
4.) I didn't have to worry about shaving my legs (or my armpits, for that matter)!
5.) If I was wearing fuzzy house slippers underneath this gown, nobody would have been the wiser (which is convenient, because I've sworn off killer heels for life. I wound up wearing these comfy, low-heeled jobbers from Clarks; they were genius).
6.) Wait, florals? For fall? Groundbreaking indeed.
Florals, once strictly the domain of spring, are actually a killer choice for fall events — and a floor-length gown allows for even more flower-power drama. I was hesitant at first, but after this outing I'm sold. Does the dress in question look like a sofa your grandmother used to own? Congrats, you've picked a winner!
Need even more proof? Just peep every Gucci runway since Alessandro Michele took over as creative director in 2015. It's your granny's closet come to life on an serious acid trip.
As long as you make sure your florals are grounded by a heavy dose of rich autumnal tones like black, forest green, khaki, or burgundy, they take on a darkly romantic goth feeling that is absolutely perfect for fall. Even noted grump Wednesday Addams couldn’t be mad at these flowers.
Alison Freer is the author of How to Get Dressed: A Costume Designer's Secrets for Making Your Clothes Look, Fit, and Feel Amazing.