Finding the perfect dress for any special occasion you have on your calendar can be a time-consuming and even stressful task.
However, picking a dress that reflects your personal style and fits the dress code should be fun and enjoyable! If you have a special night or big occasion coming up, 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 tea 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 simply 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 choose a long ball dress, shorter prom dress style or any striking dress design you feel reflects your style best that has 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 events are planned. You can select a two piece which means you can also wear both pieces separately depending on the event.
- 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 not sure about the dress code, simply try to 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. Simply 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 relaxed 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 a bold red lipstick in your bag can help you change your outfit’s tone quickly.
If the dress code is strictly formal, choose a classic dress design if you’re worried about selecting the wrong dress stylee. A dress with a sweetheart neckline or a mermaid style are both beautiful formal dress styles. These styles are going to fit in at any dance, ball or formal event.
Dress by Your Body Type
You have the dress code sussed 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. Read our helpful guide for finding the perfect formal dress for your body type for more information. If your ultimate goal is to create that coveted hourglass silhouette, a mermaid dress is the ultimate problem solver.
Size, Fit and Color
When you understand the style of dress that’s going to flatter you, now 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. There you’ll be able to figure out your size for any dress brands you’re considering.
You’ll get a feel for your own measurements in person. Armed with this information, you can always shop for your final choice through an online store with a wider selection. if you can’t find the dress of your dreams in any nearby boutiques, don’t forget to try online.
Dress color is often surprisingly overlooked and can make or break a good special occasion look. Don’t forget to hold up any dress options up 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 in the right way.
Don’t forget, an important part of choosing the perfect dress is to express your own 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 own 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 hair styles with us. Get even more dress inspiration by taking a look at some of the biggest recent dress trends, including our favorite pink dress styles.