Reader Question: What Does A Gen X’er Wear To A Millennial Wedding?


We received the following reader question last week:

“I need some help with my gown for a black tie wedding (not black tie optional). I am feeling very indecisive, very unsure about what to wear — looking for full-length gowns at a variety of places, and I am having a hard time finding something that doesn’t look like a bridesmaid’s dress. That I do not want. I realize that I may not be able to wear whatever I buy again, and that is okay.

This is a millenial wedding with a very fashion forward bride and wedding party, and as a young Gen X’er I want to feel like I fit in with them and not my baby boomer mother. 

Any tips you can give me that will help me to steer clear of land mines? Do I have to stick to full-length for black tie? I love showing off my legs, and so buying a full length gown (even a maxi dress) feels completely foreign to me. I am totally fine with a gown that has a mid-thigh slit.”

One of the biggest dilemmas women face is they want to look good and buy something new for a big event, but not many women (including myself) want to spend $300+ on a dress they’ll wear one time to someone else’s wedding. ASOS is one of my go-tos for everything really, but I have purchased so many dresses for weddings through this site and I’ve loved every one! The other thing I really love about ASOS is they have subcategories: ASOS Petite, ASOS Curve, ASOS Tall and ASOS Maternity… so there’s literally something for every woman’s body type available through this retailer! 

Wedding Guest Dresses: 4 Outfit Ideas 

At this point in my life, I’m a professional wedding guest attendee. Once you understand what styles work best on your body, and how to look good while still being SOMEWHAT comfortable for a 6+ hour event makes things a little bit easier…but if you’ve been out of the wedding guest game for some time now or are just getting into it, here are some of my absolute favorite trends to help guide you when shopping for that upcoming wedding or special event.

Wedding Guest Dress Outfit 1: Little Black Dress, Redefined 

You can never go wrong with black, but spice it up by wearing a dress with a fun element like a dramatic sleeve, an asymmetrical neckline or a sleek, structured shoulder. We want wedding guest dresses that don't cost a fortune. We want to look en-trend (not old) at a millennial wedding. We also want to look good (& fancy).

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Wedding Guest Dress Outfit 2: Color Trend, Millennial Purple

Bright purples are trending big time this fall, but you can go a little deeper to a plum if you’re looking for a moodier look, or lighter to a lilac or lavender for a softer more feminine look! We want wedding guest dresses that don't cost a fortune. We want to look en-trend (not old) at a millennial wedding. We also want to look good (& fancy).

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Wedding Guest Dress Outfit 3: Fabric Trend, Satin

Satin is majorly in right now. Whether you want to go long or short, bright or muted, slinky or fitted, the satin dress is a go-to 12 months out of the year, and the PERFECT formal-yet-chic look. We want wedding guest dresses that don't cost a fortune. We want to look en-trend (not old) at a millennial wedding. We also want to look good (& fancy).

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Wedding Guest Dress Outfit 4: Sparkle & Shine 

Who doesn’t love a little sparkle? I find myself especially drawn to this style of dresses in the fall and winter months, probably because I just associate metallics more with the winter, and also because the fabrics tend to be a little heavier, which don’t make them ideal to wear in the summertime. Either way, it’s definitely a vibe. 

We want wedding guest dresses that don't cost a fortune. We want to look en-trend (not old) at a millennial wedding. We also want to look good (& fancy). 1 // 2 // 3 // Dress 

Shop More Little Black Dresses

Shop More Millennial Purple Dresses

Shop More Satin Dresses

Shop Dresses That Sparkle & Shine

Shop Maternity Wear Dresses

(also see Scotti’s post for nursing-friendly dresses)

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  1. Am I the only one who still thinks black isn’t wedding appropriate? As bad as wearing white (or whatever colour the bride is wearing) in my opinion (unless the bride herself okays it). And I say this as someone who wears black 90% of the time. I’d suggest just picking your favourite colour besides black or white and buy an evening gown in that… you’ll feel like yourself if you’re wearing a colour you like even if the cut is different from your usual.

    • Allison – where are you from? This has come up before on TME…but I think that guidance is, if I’m remembering correctly, Southern? Around these parts EVERYONE wears black to weddings. 🙂

  2. I’m in MA and black at weddings is very common. My rule has always been to look at the time of day, style of wedding, season. I wouldn’t wear black to an 11am beach wedding in July, but definitely to a 4pm wedding with evening reception. And I think for the wedding the reader described- a black tie affair- a black dress is appropriate.

  3. I’m afraid I would never be able to attend another wedding again if I couldn’t wear black, to them!!! I have to agree that ASOS is great for weddings, but when I really need something totally different and amazing, I go to Rent the Runway. I had a wedding this summer (also, GenX!!!) that I wanted something special for and I wore a black, flowy strapless jumpsuit, gold minimalist sandals and a gigantic gold statement necklace that I rented. It was perfect and I felt comfortable.

  4. Sorry for the double post, but another favorite of mine is a ball gown type skirt with a white blouse or white tee and statement jewelry. I’ve worn this look to a few weddings and I always feel cool and comfortable and always get a ton of complements!

  5. Haha, I’m Canadian with English background so it’s probably just an “old fashioned” rule (wearing black means disapproval of the wedding to some people). It’s pretty common here too but I would never do it myself nor recommend it as anything but an “I have nothing else” option.

  6. I also love Lulus for wedding attire. I bought a full-length dress for a wedding party (wedding is a destination, I was told by the host it was fancy cocktail attire and she wanted us to dress up, when I got there, I’m not sure how many other people were told this repeatedly, but whatever) and I can’t tell you how many compliments I got on the dress—AND the fit. I’ll be honest, I’m struggling with my midsection and weight, but I felt AMAZING in this dress, and was told more than once that it fit me well and I felt amazing.

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