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Finding the perfect dress for any special occasion on your calendar can be time-consuming and even stressful.
However, picking a dress that reflects your style and fits the dress code should be enjoyable! If you have a special night or big occasion, start planning your perfect dress with our easy guide to finding the right style for you.
The Dress Code – Choose Your Dress by Event
This is the best place to start. Take a look at the event you’ll be attending and determine what kind of dress is most appropriate. Here are some simple suggestions for dress types that fit certain events.
- Wedding guest: If you’re attending a formal wedding, a long gown or mid-length cocktail dress is most appropriate. If the wedding is more low-key or is a destination wedding, a T-length midi dress is a no-fail option. Lace finishes are gorgeous for spring/summer weddings, as are frills and layered designs.
- Party: a party dress (birthday party, bachelorette party, any other celebration) can be short and sweet. If you prefer a longer length, go for a design that falls just below the knee. If it’s an event at night, choose a sexy party dress design with a little sparkle, such as sequin embellishments.
- Bat Mitzvah – If you’re choosing a dress for your own Bat Mitzvah, opting for a short/knee-length dress is a popular option. You can select a bold or bright color but choose an age-appropriate piece with a conservative bodice, and fun flared skirt.
- Prom – There are many different prom dress styles to choose from, and all which fit the dress code. You can select a long ball dress, shorter prom dress style, or any striking dress design you feel reflects your style best with a formal silhouette.
- Homecoming – Homecoming dresses are most often short, fun, and bright. Opt for a fit and flare design that will look chic throughout whatever planned events. You can select a two piece which means you can also wear both separately depending on the occasion.
- Formal Ball/Dance – Such as a military ball or any other formal dance. Select a full-length formal evening gown. This should be elegant and go with a white tie dress code.
Some helpful hints:
If you’re unsure about the dress code, decide if the event is semi-formal or formal.
If the event is a party or celebration (semi-formal), a cocktail dress is an elegant style that is an easy dressing option. Pair with heels and a clutch to fit the dress code. If you’re worried about being over-styled, opt for flat sandals and loose hair to give the dress a simple finishing touch.
You can always carry a hairband to throw up your hair in a bun to add a quick formal twist if you want to appear more dressed-up in an instant. Similarly, carrying bold red lipstick in your bag can help you quickly change your outfit’s tone.
If the dress code is strictly formal, choose a classic dress design if you’re worried about selecting the wrong dress style. A dress with a sweetheart neckline or a mermaid style is both beautiful formal dress styles. These styles will fit in at any dance, ball, or formal event.
Dress by Your Body Type
You have the dress code checked out and know what kind of dress you’re looking for. Now, you can further narrow down your choices by body type. Selecting the perfect dress to highlight your figure’s best assets is the key to looking gorgeous for any special occasion.
It’s as simple as choosing a dress style that creates a balanced silhouette. For more information, read our helpful guide for finding the perfect formal dress for your body type. If your goal is to make that coveted hourglass silhouette, a mermaid dress is the ultimate problem solver.
Size, Fit, and Color
When you understand the style of dress that will flatter you, you need to choose the right size and fit. If you’re worried about selecting a dress online, book yourself an appointment at a local store. You’ll be able to figure out your size for any dress brands you’re considering.
You’ll get a feel for your measurements in person. Armed with this information, you can always shop for your final choice through an online store with a more comprehensive selection. If you can’t find the dress of your dreams in nearby boutiques, don’t forget to try finding it online.
Dress color is often overlooked and can make or break an excellent special occasion look. Don’t forget to hold any dress options against your skin if possible and see how the shade flatters your skin tone in natural light. You’ll know when the color sets off your skin tone correctly.
Don’t forget that an essential part of choosing the perfect dress is expressing your style. Dress to feel like yourself, and your confidence will shine through on the big night. While formal events may have a strict dress code, there is still plenty of room for self-expression in a formal context.
You can reflect your style through makeup, accessories, and hair too. Add a personalized touch that reflects the colors and styles you love. The key to finding your perfect dress is choosing one that makes you feel like the best version of yourself. While you may have to adhere to a dress code, you can still find many ways to put your twist on any look.
Don’t forget to steal some formal hair tips from our latest expert interview with celebrity hairdresser Sunnie Brook. She shared her insider knowledge on how to boost hair health and choose formal hairstyles with us. Get more inspiration by looking at some of the most significant recent dress trends, including our favorite pink dress styles.