Q: I'm 44 and getting married for the second time. How should I dress? Is white okay?
A: Wear whatever makes you feel alive and happy: long, short, red, black—and, yes, white is fine (ivory and champagne are more becoming, though). "There's no reason you can't wear a big gown, especially if it's your fiancé's first marriage," says Mark Ingram. "Just dial down the virginal quality." As bodies age, I think they need more streamlining and support, so look for a style with some structure, preferably covered enough to let you wear a bra. A wedding dress is special whether you invest $809 (what the average bride spent last year, according to David's Bridal, the wedding superstore) or much, much more (some second-timers, freed from parental budgets, really indulge—up to $12,000, says Ingram). Your dream dress may even be hiding among the evening gowns at a department store, so check out the sale racks.
Grown-up brides deserve distinctive dresses: Short looks smart covered with glistening tiers of fabric (left, Carmen Marc Valvo Collection, $680; necklace, Talbots). This glamorous bias-cut satin gown is worth a splurge (right, Vera Wang, $3,200).