It's officially that time of year again! That time of year when our calendars fill up with joyful, delightful occasions like weddings, bridal showers, baby showers, and, of course, graduation. When you add in important holidays like Mother's Day along with fun excuses to party and buy dresses (we're looking at you, Kentucky Derby), basically every woman everywhere is shopping right now for a pretty dress to wear to one or more of these occasions.
A tailored, feminine dress is THE quintessential piece to wear to any of these celebrations. As long as the silhouette and style are ladylike, you're good as gold! A typical rule of thumb is the higher the hemline, the higher the neckline. If your dress hits above the knee, choose one with a mid to high scoop neck. If it falls below the knee, balance the length with a lower neckline...though keep the cleavage in check.
From there, you get to have fun with color, fabric, and other darling details like bows, ruffles, and embroidery. You'll never go wrong with a lace dress in a frothy hue such as ballet pink, robin's egg blue, or ivory white (where all my brides at?!). Fabrics such as crepe, seersucker, eyelet, and jacquard are all beautiful options that elevate the design of a dress.
So! With all of that in mind, I've handpicked the following 14 dresses to make shopping for wedding and shower season that much easier. I've included notes and pertinent details for each dress AND even included some gorgeous shoe options to finish the look!
I picked this one to wear for next Saturday's Derby party and birthday dinner. I love how it's just a little sexy and yet totally sweet. It also comes in light pink.
The oversized bow at the shoulder is exactly the defining detail a solid fit-and-flare dress needs to amp it up a little. This one comes in navy, too.
The Peter Pan collar on this one wraps transforms into half-ruffled spaghetti straps at the back for a semi-open back style. Wear your hair down or in a textured ponytail to show off the pretty back details.
This dress is very similar to the one I'm wearing in this post (mine is by Goodnight Macaroon and no longer available). I've worn my lace midi dress many many times and get loads of compliments on it. This one comes in 8 colors, including white, light blue, navy, green, black, and eggplant.
If you like a dress up/dress down dress, this one's for you! Add a heeled sandal for your dressier occasions or to church, and then wear a flat sandal for more casual wear. Between the demure length and the pockets (yep, ladies, it has pockets!), this one makes a great option for busy mamas, too.
Seersucker with a bow detail? Y'all southern belles out there, this one is meant for you! Add a hat for your Derby party or a denim jacket and sandals for weekend brunch.
The asymmetry of the chiffon overlay makes this classic shift dress more interesting. It also creates a lovely fluid movement when you walk which always makes you feel pretty and graceful in my experience!
Once again, I've pulled from the new Gal Meets Glam dress collection that just launched. Just about every single dress is perfect for a wedding, graduation, or shower celebration. This one stands out to me for brides and graduates who are looking for a sweet white dress to wear on their big day!
I love everything about this dress: the color, the guipure lace, the shoulder detail...all of it. On top of it, this designer usually runs upwards of $500 and this one is marked down to half price. It's got great dress up/dress down potential as well.
The slim grosgrain ribbons and the sheer fluttery sleeves update this classic lace dress in a sheath silhouette. It also comes in pink. If you run or work in fairly conservative circles, this is your go-to dress.
I love the illusion lace at the neckline of this dress. Not only does it flatter the figure but it gives a hint of skin through an otherwise sweet silhouette. I also love the pleated skirt that swishes when you walk :)
This is another lace midi dress that's very similar to the one I'm wearing in the pictures. It comes in lavender, blue, and teal as well. Can't say enough good things about this dress and how much wear you'll get out of it!
This one screams bride to me! How beautiful are those lace florals climbing up the skirt of the dress? This is the same company who makes the pink dress I'm wearing in the picture PS.
For my shorter ladies who stay away from midi dresses, this overlay dress is a great option for you. It comes in light blue (my favorite), pink, and black. Again, I see great dress up/dress down potential here depending on how you style it with your shoes, jewelry, and hair.
Alright shoe lovers, now it's time to talk sandals and stilettos! You really can't ever go wrong with a classic heeled sandal in nude or white to go with any of these dresses. It's barely-there design lets the dress take center stage and keeps the look clean. But sometimes you want a little more action in the shoe department, so I pulled a few fun options to add a little spice to your sweet ensem.