Dear Catwalk Queen...
The CQ style council is at hand to solve your fashion dilemmas! Send your queries to firstname.lastname@example.org with as much info as you can. We can't answer all questions, but we'll try our best to help whenever we can.
"For the past month I've been making myself crazy trying to figure out a way to avoid a faux-pas at an upcoming event. I live in the US, I am petite (5'4) and I'm a plus sized woman (a US 16). I was recently invited to an afternoon wedding and must find a day cocktail dress. I have an idea of what that is, but I'm having a hard time finding something that speaks to me. I wonder if you might be able to offer tips or guide me in the right direction. What's a good day cocktail dress? Should I wear sandals, flats, wedges? Also, I'm on a small budget!" - Melanie
At a wedding, the key things to remember are comfort, understated glamour, and wearability. You'll be doing a lot of sitting down, so you're best with a fabric that won't crease (a linen jacket looks great for the first half hour only). As a plus size, you may feel like your options are extremely limited, but don't be afraid of going for something with some shape, or taking risks with colour or print. Half of looking good comes from feeling confident, after all.
The wrap dress is a classic shape that flatters most figures and makes the most of a great pair of boobs. This dress is only a faux wrap, which also means it's not going to fall open or come untied halfway through the day, and the sash belt is adjustable so you can get the perfect fit. Red might seem like a bold choice of colour for a wedding, but if you accessorize it correctly (and that's subtly) this dress could really work. This choice is $116 from Kiyonna.
If you're looking for something more formal than a wrap dress, why not go for all out glam in this satin number from Igigi for $165? If you're going to go for something as dressy as this for a daytime event, I suggest dressing it down by buttoning up a lacy cream-coloured cardigan over the top of it, and perhaps wearing a simple flat sandal instead of a high heel. You don't want to look like you're recycling an old prom dress, but there's no reason why you can't wear a full-length dress.
Going a bit cheaper, By Sharon's Cafe Au Lait dress ($66 from Alight.com) has a romantic look that's perfect for a Summer wedding, and will look lovely finished off with a mid-brown blazer and a pair of wedge sandals (chic but comfy).
Another great bargain find is Blue Plate's 'Curtain Call' dress ($59, also at Alight.com) which comes in loads of colour schemes - the teal and purple are great. Again, team it with a light jacket (short-sleeved puff sleeved ones are all over the shops at the moment) and a pair of strappy sandals.
Finally, B & Lu's 'Vera' dress ($52) is proof you can wear busy prints if you pick the right style of dress. This is a really great shape that floats over the hips and waist and also camouflages the upper arms. The sequins give it an added twist and allow you to accessorise with black (try strappy shoes and a killer hat). There's no reason to avoid classic black at a wedding, just mix it with some colour. A friend of mine wore this same combo of green and black to a September wedding last year and looked fabulous.