I'm Going to 6 Weddings This Year—I Tried On 21 Dresses and Loved These 9

I don't know about you, but I find wedding-guest dressing hard to the point where I've started to dread the sound of those invites slipping through the letterbox. (Spoiler alert: I've had a lot this year.) I'm just not a dressy-dress person. More often than not, you'll find me in some combination of a T-shirt and jeans, even for nights out and fancy dinners, which unfortunately means I haven't built up a roster of dresses over the years. There's also something in me that resents buying a traditional "occasionwear" dress, which can often be expensive even on the high street, when I know I'm just not going to get that much wear out of it.

The Best Wedding-Guest Dresses Try On: Emily Dawes

Photo:

@emilyjdawes for Who What Wear

The older I get, the more I find myself prioritising versatility in my wardrobe, and before every big purchase, I try to ask myself whether I could wear that piece to work, on weekends and on date nights. So this year, I've decided to apply the same logic to wedding-guest dresses and only purchase styles I can repurpose for multiple occasions—anything that doesn't fit those requirements I'll rent. I also wanted to spend time trying a lot of styles because, like dating, finding clothes you truly love is often a numbers game. This also means being a little more organised than I normally am and really considering whether dresses work rather than panic-buying at the last minute and settling for something less than perfect.

So if you're wondering what I've been doing with my last few weekends, it's exactly that: trying on a bunch of dresses and figuring out which ones really deserve a place in my wardrobe. After trying so many, there were some clear winners that impressed me so much I thought it might be useful to share them with you in case you’re currently in the same predicament.

Below, you'll find the nine dresses that are versatile but impressive in their own right and comfortable but still sexy (in my opinion), all of which I can genuinely recommend. For reference, I'm 5'2", size 10–12, and bra size 34A, so of course, not all of these dresses will be perfect for everyone. But I've tried my best to highlight the ones that could work for as many people as possible. Keep scrolling to see!

1. Reformation Frasier Dress

The Best Wedding-Guest Dresses Try On: Reformation

Photo:

@emilyjdawes for Who What Wear
The Best Wedding-Guest Dresses Try On: Reformation

Photo:

@emilyjdawes for Who What Wear

Size: 10 (US 6)

Style Notes: This beautiful dress is probably more figure-hugging than I would normally opt for (I'm an oversized-shapes girl at heart), but I was surprised at how sexy it felt while still being modest enough for a wedding. I could also see myself wearing it with lace-up flat sandals for a nice dinner on a summer or holiday evening.

2. Self-Portrait Floral Dress

The Best Wedding-Guest Dresses Try On: Self Portrait

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@emilyjdawes for Who What Wear
The Best Wedding-Guest Dresses Try On: Self Portrait

Photo:

@emilyjdawes for Who What Wear

Size: 10

Style Notes: For more formal events and weddings, Self-Portrait is always one of my go-tos, and I've been drawn to this style ever since it first dropped at the beginning of the season. Kate Middleton is a big fan of wearing these dresses to multiple events, so if it's good enough for the Duchess, it's good enough for me.

3. Reformation Teyana Dress

The Best Wedding-Guest Dresses Try On: Reformation

Photo:

@emilyjdawes for Who What Wear

Size: 10 (US 6)

Style Notes: While initially, it doesn't seem like there's anything extraordinary about this pretty floral dress, when I put it on and it flattered in all the right places, it instantly went to the top of my favourites list. It would work for so many different weddings from relaxed countryside occasions to more formal affairs. And I would also wear it with Birkenstocks for casual plans like pub drinks as well. The thigh split does go quite high, but it's still subtle, and you could easily add a couple of stitches at the top if needed. All in all, well done, Reformation.

4. Nobody's Child Coco Dress

The Best Wedding-Guest Dresses Try On: Nobody's Child

Photo:

@emilyjdawes for Who What Wear
The Best Wedding-Guest Dresses Try On: Nobody's Child

Photo:

@emilyjdawes for Who What Wear

Size: 10

Style Notes: I'm always so impressed with Nobody's Child dresses. The quality is excellent for the affordable price, and this one feels especially premium in this linen-blend fabric and muted colour. One of my biggest tips for wedding-guest dressing is to look out for statement features like these ruffles, a bright colour or a backless design so that it feels a bit more exciting than your average dress.

4. H&M Voluminous Satin Dress

The Best Wedding-Guest Dresses Try On: H&M

Photo:

@emilyjdawes for Who What Wear
The Best Wedding-Guest Dresses Try On: H&M

Photo:

@emilyjdawes for Who What Wear

Size: Small

Style Notes: Affordable this may be, but the bold tangerine colour, loose draping and scoop back make it feel expensive. It's an unexpected choice for a wedding, but that's what I love about it. Plus, I can so see myself wearing it with flip-flops and a bikini on my way to a beach bar on holiday. Heaven.

6. Nobody's Child Dani Midi Dress

The Best Wedding-Guest Dresses Try On: Nobody's Child Dress

Photo:

@emilyjdawes for Who What Wear
The Best Wedding-Guest Dresses Try On: Nobody's Child Dress

Photo:

@emilyjdawes for Who What Wear

Size: 10

Style Notes: Clearly, I'm very into a ruffle right now, but there's something so chic about how the monochrome colour and simple cut-outs balance the frills on this style. And yes, you can wear black to a wedding.

7. Tove Ceres Dress

The Best Wedding-Guest Dresses Try On: Tove Dress

Photo:

@emilyjdawes for Who What Wear
The Best Wedding-Guest Dresses Try On: Tove Dress

Photo:

@emilyjdawes for Who What Wear

Size: 34

Style Notes: Okay, I'm cheating a little bit with this one. I actually bought this style at the beginning of last year, but since it's still available, I couldn't not include it here. I wore this dress to every one of the four weddings I attended last year (and received so many compliments). I've also worn it on holiday, to work and around the house with simple flat sandals. You can bet I'm planning on wearing it to at least a couple of this year's nuptials.

The Best Wedding-Guest Dresses Try On: Free People

Photo:

@emilyjdawes for Who What Wear

Size: Small

Style Notes: When I think of Free People, I usually connect it with beachy, boho dresses that would be far too revealing for a wedding that wasn't on a Bahamian beach. But when I ordered this for general summer wear and tried it on, it dawned on me that despite being linen and easy to dress down, it's also really easy to dress up. The puff sleeves add just enough drama, and the on-trend cut-out is adjustable, so it can be made subtle.

9. Mango Linen Cut-Out Dress

The Best Wedding-Guest Dresses Try On: Mango

Photo:

@emilyjdawes for Who What Wear
The Best Wedding-Guest Dresses Try On: Mango

Photo:

@emilyjdawes for Who What Wear

Size: Small

Style Notes: Okay, a linen dress may have to be reserved for those slightly more relaxed weddings. But with a pair of heels, a dressy bag, jewellery and lipstick, this day dress becomes event-ready. And for only £50, it's exactly the affordable versatility I'm looking for.

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