Dramatic Special Occasion Dresses for Women Over 50: Splurge vs Steal

Do you have a special occasion coming up? Perhaps you have a wedding to attend, or you may be the mother of the bride or groom. Would you like to make a dramatic entrance? Then let’s go dress shopping! I found some of the most stunning designer dresses you just may like to splurge on. But I also found matching dresses that have a very similar look and feel for a steal! Take a look and you can decide if you’d like to splurge on special occasion dresses, or get them for a steal!

Special Occasion Dresses for Women Over 50

Short Sleeve Dark Ground Floral Midi Dress

If you want to invest in a dress, Oscar de la Renta is a great place to start. This fit and flare over the knee dress has an easy fit and the short sleeves are a godsend for women over 50. The pansy print is gorgeous and you will wear this dress for decades to come! But $3,490 is quite a lot to spend, so I found a pretty close look alike floral dress from Mac Duggal for only $358, which is a fraction of the cost.


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Oscar de la Renta Pansy Jacquard Fit & Flare Dress, $3,490

Mac Duggal Floral Belted Midi Dress, $358

Bold Red Long Sleeve Gown

Do you want to turn heads? This stunning coral red Carolina Herrera gown will do just that. It is classic Carolina Herrera style with its belted full skirt and shirt collar top. The price of $5,490 is a steep one, so you can get the essence of this dress with this Meghan LA belted maxi dress for only $120.

Carolina Herrera Embroidered Puff Sleeve Silk Trench Gown, $5,490

Meghan LA Venus Belted Maxi Dress, $120

Swingy Off White Midi

One of my favorite labels is Lanvin and this cape-effect ruffled dress in off white is an absolute show-stopper. The light and airy crepe fabric and has so much movement. This dress has the nost interesting draping along with a built in cape to keep you under wraps, but $3,990 is a big investment. This White House Black Market ecru dress offers a bit of the same swinginess, as well as the textured fabric, only this dress has pleats. And for only $160, you may want to give an off white dress a try.

Lanvin Cape-effect Tie-detailed Ruffled Crepe Dress, $3,990

White House Black Market Pleated Halter Midi Dress, $160

Blue Ruched Sheath Dress

A cool blue sheath dress is ideal for almost any occasion, from a daytime special event to a cocktail party. This Chiara Boni cascading cocktail dress is so flattering with its boat neck and cap sleeves for $695. That is not as expensive as some designer dresses, but you can get a very similar style sheath with this darker blue Eliza J ruffle dress for only $148.

Chiara Boni La Petite Robe Cinthia Cascading Cocktail Dress, $695

Eliza J Ruffle Sheath Dress, $148

Orange Playful Print Sundress

Many destination weddings and special occasions are more on the casual side, but you still can make a statement in a sundress. This playful orange print Loretta Caponi midi dress for $700 will keep you cool in summer or tropical climates with its off shoulder styling and light cotton-voile fabric. Or you can go to Farm Rio and pick up an extremely similar print sundress with easy-to-wear styling for only $235.

Loretta Caponi Delfina Ruffled Smocked Printed Cotton-voile Midi Dress, $700

Farm Rio Red Ipanema Midi Dress, $235

Tips for Styling Special Occasion Dresses

1. If you are a major player at a special event, such as the mother of the bride or groom, consider a solid color dress in a flattering color that looks good on you and will photograph well. You don’t need to match the exact colors in the party theme, but you also do not want to clash.

2. Look for dresses with sleeves, in a midi or maxi length. You can cover up what you don’t want to show off, but you can still look elegant. If you feel comfortable, you will look your best at the special occasion!

3. Accentuate what you do like about your figure. Wear a sleeveless dress if you have great arms, a slit skirt to show off your legs, a sash belt to define your waistline or a décolletage for a pretty neckline.

4. If you invest in a designer dress, think about if you will be able to wear it again. If not, you should probably go for “a steal” instead.

Shop Special Occasion Dresses for Women Over 50

Do you need a special occasion dress? Will you splurge or steal?

Carol Calacci

You may also like to read Wonderful White Dresses for Spring and Summer: Splurge vs Steal! and How To Wear Summer Tops for Women Over 50.

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