Sitting in traffic stopped on the Beltway, I sprang to her aid. Back and forth, she requested something "not too tight," so she doesn't have to worry about her tummy (she has 2 beans, too). She's a 4-6, and 4' 8". She swears that's not a typo. Given her timeline and a first try miss, trying it on the store would also help.
Style dilemma? Pshaw! Easy-peasy. (Did I just type that?)
To give Lisa both a place with elegant+sexy+flirty but still (relatively) reasonable options - and where she can try them on - I went to Neiman Marcus. Up popped a bunch of options that wouldn't have her looking the same as everyone else in their J. Crew lookalikes. Bonus? The NM site lets you filter for options under $300.
Ali Ro is a personal favorite. There's something about the effortless style that still has just the right amount of polish. The waisted, tiered ruffles add interest while still being graceful.
Sue Wong draws on a little 80s flounce. And who doesn't love ruffles and feathers done in a way that's actually understated? The structured, empire bodice and midsection would allow a girl to sample the cocktails and nibbles without fear.
Tadashi Shoji's rouching would be forgiving (especially in a 2x mama's tummy problem area), and the one shoulder sexy in a tempered way, but the flower might overwhelm a 4' 8" frame.
Phoebe Couture's menswear-inspired bubble dress is a little more structured, which I've found important in feeling comfortable and not worrying about the places I'd worry about.
I also tried (knowing others might don the same frocks, but thought I'd check anyway) J. Crew (only the bridesmaidsy ones came in pinks), LOFT (no pink), and Ann Taylor (no pink). Who has no pink?