Wouldn’t it be nice if you had a personal style guide? Something that could guide you in what to wear and how to wear it? How To Dress for a Work Event? How to Dress for a Funeral? How to Dress for a Date? In fact just about How to Dress for Every Occasion.
It can be overwhelming trying to figure out not only which clothes are right for you and your body type but also what outfit is right to wear and when.
The rigid style etiquettes from yesteryear are rarely applicable in the 2020’s, and these days dress code is more a case of wear what you feel comfortable in, as well as what makes you feel great at all times, while sticking to a few simple rules.
How to Create the Right Outfit for Every Occasion
Not all occasions are created equal. When deciding what to wear it’s important to understand the protocols connected with various events and gatherings.
Yes, there are certain restrictions and standards that you need to be aware of.
I’ve spent the last eight years listening to thousands of women’s comments and emails on Lifestyle Fifty to find out what’s important to them in terms of style and what they like to wear.
I’ve narrowed it down to answering a list of, what I believe are the most important, questions women have when shopping for clothes that will be suitable for specific occasions.
11 Tips to Help You Dress Right for any Occasion.
- Dressing for a work event or conference will generally require a smart and reasonably conservative outfit.
- For a work party you can wear something colorful and flambouyant, although not too revealing.
- Formal events may stipulate strict dress rules, such as black tie and evening gowns.
- Events like weddings require you to dress up from head to toe (and not clash with the bride or bridesmaids).
- Funerals require appropriate dress (generally black) but sometimes according to the deceased’s wishes, when the dress code may be more colorful.
- Casual occasions will either require smart casual or everyday casual outfits, and overdressing could be embarassing.
- For a friend’s party then anything goes.
- For the the gym, sports, walking and hiking then activewear is always best.
- Going to a sporting event, such as a football match? Then you can wear comfortable, casual wear.
- Horse racing events and regattas offer a great excuse to dress up in your finest.
- For a day at the beach, always wear a sun protection hat and comfy clothes that offer some sun protection.
How to Dress for a Casual Event
Let’s get one thing straight, I’m not against dressing to impress. I’ve always loved to dress up and look my best. Not that I’m any kind of model, but I’ve always loved clothes and buying them!
But whereas in the past I might have opted for ‘outrageous’, now I’m over 50 I rarely wear anything too ‘outre’ or revealing.
Let’s think about ‘hotel casual’ for a moment.
A chic skirt with a smart blouse, or a cashmere jumper worn over well cut pants, or a simple stylish dress with a cardigan thrown over your shoulders, would be great outifts in which to rock up to reception for sign-in formalities.
The point is, for first impressions, keep it conservative rather than overtly impressive. Understated elegance is always the best way to go.
Glamorous isn’t always necessary. In fact if you want to understand how to dress for any occasion then you should definitely not opt for glam as a default for a casual event – because glamorous might be over stated.
An over-the-top dress, embellishments, and, of course, bling isn’t necessary. At least, not on a casual Friday night, when a relaxed silk button-down shirt, fitted black trousers or jeans, and a pair of booties will do.
For a day time casual event, a smart pair of ponte pants and a flattering loose top could be just the outfit. A big pair of dark glasses will add a touch of glamour.
How to Dress for a Formal Event
And then there’s the more specific evening event dressing.
One of the most important parts about attending a formal social function is what you will be wearing.
There are so many different types and styles of outfits you can choose from, but they all have one thing in common: formality!
If your goal for the evening (or any other time) is to look great then make sure the cut of your outfit is superb and make sure that everything fits well.
For a formal event you should avoid anything too casual or too trendy as these outfits may appear informal.
Men might go with classic white shirts paired nicely underneath dark suit jackets, while others prefer more modern cuts like light grey trousers with coloured long sleeve shirts and ties.
For women a formal event means dressing with decorum and respect but still looking glamorous and yes, even Hollywood!
It’s not just about the clothes, but also how they are styled, so the shoes you wear, the way you do your hair and the jewellery you choose all add to the final picture. In fact all the accoutrements you choose can either make or break an outfit. Sometimes you just need to take time and experiment with things beforehand.
So what is your plan? A block coloured, well fitted, shift dress worn with kitten heels (maybe even dramatic stilettos), or tailored trousers paired nicely underneath a stunning tunic top?
Perhaps it’s a smart suit for him and an evening dress for you?
What to Wear to a Black Tie Event
Let’s start with the simplest form of formal dressing: How to Dress for a Black Tie Event.
Think of it as the reality equivalent of “Downton Abbey.”
There are a few key tips here.
You want to make an elegant and dramatic impression.
First, the term “black tie” means that you should look highly sophisticated. Think sleek tailoring, deep necklines, and glamorous dresses with sparkly jewels on them.
Black Tie means super smart. It’s all about the drama and being glamorous.
For men this generally includes wearing a dinner jacket with matching trousers, a pleated dress shirt, black formal shoes,a cummerband, a waistcoat, and a bow tie – It’s all about looking handsome yet classy when geared up.
For women – Black Tie generally means long.
So an elegant evening dress, or at the very least a longer and elaborate cocktail dress teamed with strappy sandals or elegant court shoes.
The most important thing when it comes to an expensive evening dress is probably the fit.
If your evening dress is too big, or it’s too tight, or you’re worried that there’s a gape at the neck you’ll feel terrible.
Our body shape changes as the years go by, so do try your dress on well before each black tie event in case you need to get it tucked in, or you need to buy a new one!
Dress like Meryl Streep at the Oscars and you’re golden for a black tie event!
How to Dress for a Lunch Event
Once upon a time pencil skirts were the go to style for all sorts of occasions, and I would often wear a pencil skirt, a pretty blouse and kitten heels for lunch dates.
It’s no secret that I love the Boho Chic style of dressing, and this is ideal for daytime get togethers.
The importance of accessories cannot be understated. You can wear almost anything and jazz it up to look smarter with the right accessories.
Lunchtimes can be really casual or smart casual and your choice of what to wear relies on the restaurant or cafe you’re going to.
Perhaps elegant slacks with a pretty blouse or button up shirt would look great, or maybe a floral summer frock with a bolero jacket for warm al fresco lunches.
You might consider smart jeans and a crisp white blouse for a casual lunch with friends.
Or how about smart treggings and a floaty blouse?
Whatever makes YOU feel most comfortable, and is also appropriate for the kind of lunch date you’re on, is the best thing to wear.
How to Dress for an Evening Event
What to wear to an evening event?
There are so many different dress codes for evenings!
That’s because there are so many different kinds of evening events from parties, to celebration dinners, to awards ceremonies and many more.
The one thing they all have in common is that you should dress the part and dress up.
Long skirts and long dresses are a great choice for celebration dinners and award ceremonies. Cocktail dresses are also perfectly acceptable for these kind of events.
If you find a lovely sleeveless dress but really don’t like your upper arms being bare, then do consider beautiful slip on sleeves to wear underneath.
On the other hand for a less formal evening event you might choose sleek black ponte pants and a beautiful long blouse, say for a dinner date with friends.
Parties however, offer a wonderful blank canvas.
How to Dress for a Funeral
Overall the way you dress for a funeral should show respect for the deceased.
Generally dark or black colours are preferred, allthough some people might request that you dress to celebrate their life in colour, and then pretty floral prints or bright block colours are the way to go.
Mostly though you should think about wearing a business type dress that’s smart and respectful. Something that communicates sympathy for the deceased and their friends and relatives.
not be too showy
A little black dress from your wardrobe would be an excellent choice worn with smart court shoes, and a black handbag.
It’s best to cover your shoulders for funerals. Dresses or tops with spaghetti straps are too revealing and immodest.
Wear smart but comfortable shoes because you may be doing quite a bit of walking. Also if you’ll be walking on grass then stilletto heels are not a good choice.
Keep accessories to a minimum and certainly wear nothing flashy or bling.
Sunglasses are allowed, and often much preferred if tears are likely to flow.
Here are a few classic dresses suitable for a funeral …
What to Wear to a Wedding
I’ve written an in depth post about what to wear to a wedding (see related link further down) that stemmed from the time I embarssingly wore something inappropriate to my sister’s wedding.
In general though you shouldn’t wear white, because it’s not only disrespectful to the bride, but also you don’t want to overshadow her on her big day.
So dress for the occasion, but you shouldn’t dress to be the star of the show. If it’s a casual wedding wear something pretty but casual, and if it’s a formal church wedding then wear something more formal and probably wear a hat too.
The next most important member of the wedding party (apart from the groom of course!) is the mother of the bride or groom. If you know what they are wearing then try to wear something that’s not only different in style, but also something in a different colour.
Bridesmaids are likely to wear block colour dresses and some of the most popular colours are cream, blue, cerise, rust, coral, pink and blue. If you don’t want to look like one of the bridal party then do wear some kind of print. That way you can be sure you’ll not imitate anyone else.
Try not to wear anything too clingy or too revealing, because you will be remembered not for being sexy, but you’ll be remembered for all the worst reasons.
How to Dress for a Work Event
Your reputation is on the line when you dress for a work event.
So the best advice is to play it safe.
Wear clothes that you are comfortable in, which look smart and don’t crease.
Think business apparel with a twist. A little black dress with some discreet jewellery. Or black pants and a colourful silk blouse.
How to Dress for a Birthday Dinner or Lunch
Birthday dinners and birthday lunches are a fun time of celebration and merriment. Which means you can dress with a little more frivolity.
Get out your party dress, or your smart jumpsuit, or even a mini-skirt suit with a cute peplum jacket.
The accent is on looking festive and yes, you can stand out if you wish.
Why not wear a bold and daring print dress?
Special Occasion Dresses Online
Related “What to Wear” and “How to Wear” Posts
These posts will further help you find out how to dress for any occasion …
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