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Shop this season’s best picks, starting at just $23
Shopping for a wedding guest dress can be hard enough on its own, but add the chiller fall season into the mix, and your shopping strategy is definitely going to take some extra thought. For a winter wedding, you can be sure that you’ll either need long sleeves or a heavy layer to stay warm, and in the summertime, you’ll want to find a dress with breathable fabric in case it's sweltering — but with autumn temperatures, it can be a little bit more difficult.
For those attending weddings in areas with more transitional climates, in September, you can still probably get away with a light, sleeveless dress. October can be a total weather wild card, and by November, you’re definitely going to need an extra layer or two. So while we can’t predict fall weather, we wanted to ensure you had several options to choose from so you can find the right dress no matter the forecast.
In this roundup, we included cooler dresses that are perfect for layering with your favorite fall jacket, as well as warmer dresses that will keep you comfortable on a chilly fall day. We also made sure to add in classic styles that are incredibly versatile, as well as styles that will be trending for the 2023 season. According to celebrity stylist Kat Gosik, contrary to old wedding guest "rules," red is a top color to keep in mind while shopping for wedding guest dresses this fall, as it was all over the runways for autumn/winter 2023. “Pink was huge this summer, you really couldn’t escape it. And it seems like red is fall’s counterpart,” Gosik said.
Other trends Gosik thinks will be big this fall? Lots of nude colors, knits, and silk fabrics — all of which you can find in our lineup as well. However, Gosik also notes that it’s important to stick with dresses that really play up your body type, are authentic to your personal style, and are something you could wear with confidence.
“The most important element to remember with trends is you don't have to hop on every trend if it doesn’t feel authentic to you,” Gosik said.
No matter what kind of wedding guest dress you have in mind, there’s something on this list for every fall wedding you have on your calendar. Keep reading to shop our top fall wedding guest dress picks, starting at just $23.
Most Versatile: Banana Republic Factory Side Slit Maxi Dress
Versatility is at the core of this dress for several reasons. First off, you simply can’t go wrong with a little black dress (though it is also available in Kelly green). But then consider its silhouette: it’s semi-fitted, has 1-inch straps, a V-neck, is maxi in length, and features a side slit. These features make it adaptable for several occasions, which makes it feel like a steal at only $39. On top of being a great wedding guest dress contender, it will also be suitable for date nights. On top of all of that, it’s sustainably made with 55% recycled polyester.
Price at time of publish: $39 (orig. $130)
Size Range: XXS-XL, Regular and Tall | Colors: Black and green | Material: 55% recycled polyester, 45% polyester
Best Formal: Azazie Hallie Sheath Satin Floor-Length Dress
If you have a black-tie wedding on your fall calendar, look no further than this satin option from Azazie. This dress and its thick satin fabric, maxi length, and long sleeves make it a great option for fall weddings. It also comes in several muted color options such as moody blue, dusty rose, olive, and gold. It can also be an opportunity for a great investment dress as you can choose to customize the size down to the very inch — a great deal for only $119.
Note: If you opt not to do custom sizing, you should know that these dresses are designed with extra length to ensure they fit people of all heights, though you can always get it tailored at a later date.
Price at time of publish: $119
Size Range: A0-A30, plus custom sizing available | Colors: Black, dark navy, rust, yellow, dusty blue, terracotta, cabernet, sage, rose, dark green, gray, and more | Material: Fabric varies based on color selection
Best Maxi: Lulus Cause for Commotion Pleated Bustier Maxi Dress
There’s a lot about this dress that we love, and the maxi length is just one of them. On top of that, we also love its flirty sweetheart neckline, tight bodice, and side sultry slit. This dress comes in bright red, one of fall 2023’s biggest trends according to Gosik, as well as green, black, pink, and yellow.
Price at time of publish: $89
Size Range: XS-XL | Colors: Red, black, yellow, green, and pink | Material: 100% polyester shell, 100% polyester lining
Best Boho: Lulus Picturesque Moments Strappy Maxi Dress
Boho style and fall weddings go hand-in-hand, and we think this floral option would make for the cutest frock. It has a V-neck, a twist-front bodice, and an adorable white and beige floral print. Its maxi length will keep your legs warm in cool weather, however, you may need to pair it with a cute fall jacket (we think a leather jacket would be perfect) to keep your arms warm.
Price at time of publish: $52
Size Range: XXS-XL | Colors: Brown floral print | Material: 100% polyester shell, 100% polyester lining
Best Knit: T.La Side-Slit Mock Dress
With its mockneck, bodycon fit, and side slit, this Anthropologie dress gives off the illusion that it’s super elevated for a wedding, but because it's made of cotton and spandex, it’s actually so cozy to wear. It’ll be easy to get in and out of as it was intentionally made to be able to be pulled on and off. It also comes in two different lengths — standard and petite — so you can customize it to your height and is machine washable, which makes maintenance super easy.
Price at time of publish: $37.99
Size Range: XS-XXL | Colors: Army green, black, camel, brown, pink, purple, orange, blue, dark gray, burgundy, and more | Material: 70% viscous fibers, 30% chinlon
Best Short Sleeve: Lulus Midnight Mood Tiered Maxi Dress
Short sleeve dresses are a great pick for fall weather. They’ll keep your shoulders warm and fit well under jackets for brisk fall days, yet won't be too hot once you are indoors. And if there were ever a dress pattern that was the epitome of fall, this would be it. It has a gorgeous burgundy color mixed with gorgeous fall-themed flowers in brown, orange, and white. It also has an incredibly flattering silhouette with a set-in waist, smock fit, and flowy, tiered A-line bottom.
Price at time of publish: $109
Size Range: XS-XL | Colors: Burgundy floral print, navy blue floral print, green floral print, and black floral print | Material: 100% polyester shell, 100% polyester lining
Best Off-The-Shoulder: Reformation Jamen Knit Dress
The off-the-shoulder neckline is one of the biggest trends of the 2023 season, and with this dress, it's easy to see why. The neckline draws attention to your face and shoulders and makes the dress look incredibly stylish. It also boasts a sleek bodycon silhouette, a knitted fabric, and some ruched details. We also appreciate the inclusive size range of X-small to 3X.
Price at time of publish: $148
Size Range: XS-3X | Colors: Ivory, yellow, pink, black, navy, sage, and dusty blue | Material: 88% Tencel lyocell, 12% spandex
Best Midi: Showpo Nicholla Midi Dress
Midi dresses are the perfect middle ground option when it comes to selecting a dress for cooler weather, which is why this dress is great for fall weddings. It’s made of a beautiful satin fabric and comes in a few fall colors such as olive, copper, and black. It also has cute flowy short sleeves, a V-neckline, and a tie in the front for added detail. We also love how it has a body-skimming fit that flatters many body types.
Price at time of publish: $69.95
Size Range: 0-16 | Colors: Copper, steel blue, black, olive, and champagne | Material: 100% polyester, partially lined with 97% polyester and 3% spandex
Best Mini: PrettyGarden Satin Tie Waist Mini Dress
If you’re someone who likes to accentuate their legs, you’ll definitely love this satin midi dress for your next fall wedding. With this dress, you can show some skin while still keeping your arms warm with its long sleeves and high neckline. It also has a beautiful wrap detail at the bodice that helps to accentuate the waist. Note: This fabric is non-stretch so you’ll want to keep that in mind if you’re someone who likes stretchy fabric.
Price at time of publish: $23.99
Size Range: S-XXL | Colors: Army green, black, blue, rose red, brown, brown red, apricot, dark blue, dark green, grass green, gray blue, khaki, light blue, orange and more | Material: 100% polyester
Best Casual: Prettygarden Smocked Tiered Maxi Dress
Thanks to its comfy, loose-fitting style and cute Boho vibe, this dress earned the best casual dress spot on our list. With its short sleeves, smocked bodice, flared hem, and floral pattern, we think this dress would be great for a country setting or outdoor weddings throughout the fall season. Plus, it would work great for several other fall occasions too.
Price at time of publish: $33.96 (orig. $42.99)
Size Range: S-XL | Colors: Apricot, black, blue, emerald green, gray, green, light blue, orange, pink, purple, red, and more | Material: 95% polyester, 5% elastane
Best Velvet: Anrabess V-Neck Wrap Ribbed Velvet Maxi Dress
A classic fall texture, we love the rich and cozy vibes this ribbed velvet dress brings. The velvet texture will keep you extra warm, along with the maxi length and short sleeves. It ties at the waistline for an extra cute detail and is machine washable for easy care.
Price at time of publish: $22.99
Size Range: S-XL | Colors: Khaki, black, navy blue, burgundy, brown, green, hazel blue, brown, and light green | Material: 95% polyester, 5% spandex
Best Elongating: Lulus Satin Mock Neck Maxi Dress
This dress, with its long maxi length and raised waistline, will elongate any silhouette, but will especially make short wearers appear a bit taller. This dress is also great for those who prefer a high neckline and satin fabric. It’s sleeveless, which will make it easy to pair with any jacket, and comes in many fall colors such as wine red, burnt orange, olive, and blush.
Price at time of publish: $85
Size Range: XS-3X | Colors: Blush, wine, blue, copper, olive, green, black, and dark gray | Material: 96% polyester, 4% spandex
Best Sleeveless: Anrabess Satin Strapless Maxi Dress
With its maxi length for warmth, this sleek sleeveless maxi dress makes a cute fall wedding guest dress pick as well. It’d pair well with a coat when you’re chilly but also looks great all on its own. We love the pleated detail at the top of this dress for extra interest and its shiny silk fabric.
Price at time of publish: $46.99
Size Range: S-XL | Colors: Black, brown, champagne, deep blue, deep green, green, hot pink, light blue, light green, pink, purple, and red | Material: 92% polyester, 8% spandex
Best Halterneck: Astr The Label Marissa Satin Halter Midi Dress
We love the way this criss-cross halter neck dress accentuates the upper body and draws attention to the face. It’s great for more formal, black tie weddings that require some extra elegance. It’d pair perfectly with some strappy heels and statement earrings.
Price at time of publish: $138
Size Range: XS-XL | Colors: Purple, hot pink, lilac, black, champagne, orange, midnight, merlot, dusty blue, and dusty mauve | Material: 95% polyester, 5% elastane
Best Cocktail: Dress the Population Corey Chiffon Fit & Flare Cocktail Dress
If the wedding dress code is cocktail, we recommend this fit and flare dress from Dress the Population. As you could guess from the name, this dress is fitted at the waistline and flares near the hem, meaning it will twirl and sway as you dance the night away. It has a deep V-neck, short sleeves, and sits right at the knees in length for a sweet and flirty vibe.
Price at time of publish: $198
Size Range: XXS-XXL | Colors: Black, off-white, navy blue, pine, red, peacock blue, magenta, and electric blue | Material: 97% polyester, 3% spandex bodice with 100% polyester skirt
Best Pleated: Showpo Della Maxi Dress
A flattering fall texture, this pleated dress is so classy and elegant. It has a deep V neckline and sleeves that drape right over the shoulders, and cinches at the waist to accentuate before flaring at the hem. This dress comes in a few beautiful satin colors such as champagne, purple, and green.
Price at time of publish: $89.95
Size Range: 2-10 | Colors: Black, pink, green, purple, and champagne | Material: Made with 100% acrylic
Best for All Heights: Abercrombie and Fitch Ruffle Tiered Maxi Dress
Abercrombie and Fitch is known for its wide sizing selection that comes in several lengths for different heights as well. This dress is no exception and comes in several sizes and lengths such as petite, regular, and tall. This works great for when you’re in a pinch and don't have time to get a tailor. We also love that this dress is fitted at the upper body yet is relaxed and tiered below the waistline for a little somethin' extra.
Price at time of publish: $108.38 (orig. $127.50)
Size Range: XXS-XXL, and petite, regular, and tall | Colors: Black floral, green floral, burgundy, and blue | Material: 97% polyester lining, 100% polyester body
Best Puff Sleeve: Showpo Mellie Midi Dress
Puff sleeve dresses are a great way to cover up your arms or shoulders if they’re not your favorite body part while also adding beautiful structure and interest. This dress is flattering on the body as it's fitted at the bodice, but then flares at the waistline. The dress also has horizontal seams that create the beautiful ruched detailing.
Price at time of publish: $45.99
Size Range: S-XXL | Colors: Black, blue, brick, green, khaki, light green, pink, and red | Material: 100% polyester
Best Slip: Floerns Satin Slip Midi Dress
Satin slip dresses are a go-to for any wedding guest dress, but we particularly love the flowered pattern on this one for the fall season. It reminds us of a beautiful fall-themed flower arrangement featuring some of the season's best blooms. Not to mention the slip silhouette is so flattering in the way it drapes along the body. Pair it with your favorite fall jacket for extra warmth.
Price at time of publish: $41.99
Size Range: XS-XXL | Colors: Apricot, black, burgundy, brown, dark green, pink, light green, hot pink, khaki, blue, lilac, navy and more | Material: 97% polyester, 3% elastane
Best With Tie Straps: Anrabess Square Neck Ruffle Midi Dress
We love the way the tied bow straps and waist of this dress paired with the ruffled hem create a flirty, feminine vibe. Perfect for any kind of fall wedding, this dress comes in several colors such as orange, green, red, and yellow. It also features a semi-fitted, A-line silhouette and a square neckline.
Price at time of publish: $45.99
Size Range: S-XL | Colors: Black, burgundy, cyan, deep blue, green, light blue, light green, light pink, navy, orange, red, purple, yellow, and more | Material: 100% polyester
How to Pick the Right Fall Wedding Guest Dress
Fit and Movement
The fit and movement of the dress will play a big role when it comes to selecting a dress. Though weddings are filled with fun, they’re also long days or evenings that typically require a lot of sitting, standing, and of course, dancing. No matter whether you’re a family member or close loved one who might be helping out behind the scenes or just a guest there to help celebrate the big day, you’re going to want to make sure that the dress you select will have a comfortable yet complimentary fit on the body and that you’ll be able to dance the night away as soon as the music starts.
“Always accentuate your best features. If your legs are killer, opt for a dress with a slit,” Gosik said. “If your arms aren’t your favorite body part, try a long sleeve dress this fall.”
Color and Texture
Depending on the wedding theme, you can wear almost any color dress to a wedding except one: white. And according to Gosik, “avoid anything with too much sequins or sequins at all. Leave the sparkle and glitz up to the bride and mother of the bride and/or groom.”
In regards to color, if you're wanting to stay on trend with the fall theme, we’d recommend going with the fall classics: deep, rich colors that emulate the colors we see in nature during the season such as (but not limited to) browns, yellows, reds, greens, and oranges. Muted tones are also great fall such as light purples, dusty blues, and muted rose.
Great fall textures to look for include velvet, knits, and silk.
Location and Dress Code
Other big contenders to consider while shopping are the location and the dress code. If indicated on the invitation that the wedding is intended to be black tie, then you’ll definitely want to find a more formal gown. If there is no specified dress code, you can consider the location. If it’s a beach wedding, a more relaxed, Boho dress may be more appropriate. If it’s a country wedding, a flowy sundress may align with the theme better. If you’re at a total loss for what to wear, we recommend asking the bride or groom what they’d love to see their guests wearing.
Frequently Asked Questions
What makes a good quality wedding guest dress?
Silhouette and fabric are the two biggest quality indicators when shopping for a wedding guest dress. You’ll want to ensure the silhouette flatters your best features and is also comfortable to wear for long periods of time. The fabric is also a big quality indicator as you want it to be comfortable on the skin, durable, and suitable for the weather of the day.
What fall wedding guest dresses are on trend?
As mentioned above, Gosik said that she thinks red, silks, nudes, and knits will be the biggest color and texture trends of fall. Gosik’s favorite wedding guest dress trend? A long flowy dress with some knee-high boots. “I love the edginess it brings to wearing a dress and I think it flatters most body types,” Gosik tells us.
How much should you spend on a good wedding guest dress?
The best thing about dresses is that you can find them in a wide range of pricing. We’ve found a few solid options for under $40, as well as a few above $200. It really depends on your budget and what style you're looking for. If you’re wanting an investment dress that can be worn to multiple events, we recommend going a little bit higher price-wise so that you can ensure the dress is durable and will stick around for a long time. But if you know the dress is a one-and-done deal, a cheaper option will work just fine too — just make sure the fabric and stitching is high-quality and read past customer reviews to eliminate any red flags.
Take Our Word For It
Olivia Hanson specializes in fashion and beauty writing and has bylines at several publications such as People, InStyle, Southern Living, Shape, Travel + Leisure, and more. She loves to spend her time shopping and scouring the internet to find the best products that will make the lives of readers better, easier, and help them to spend wisely.
For this article, Olivia drew on her own experience shopping for wedding guest dresses and interviewed celebrity stylist, Kat Gosik to get her take on what to look for as well as what will be trending this season. Olivia spent time searching the internet to find the best fall wedding guest dresses from your favorite retailers such as Lulus, Amazon, Nordstrom, Azazie, Reformation, Abercrombie and Fitch, Showpo, and more.
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Read the original article on People.