WHAT TO WEAR FOR EVERY DRESS CODE
Two-plus years of postponed weddings and socially distanced birthday parties mean this summer may be the busiest ever. As the invites start rolling in, we're eagerly anticipating any and every opportunity to dress up again, from black-tie nuptials to semi-formal soirées and even dressy-casual baby showers.
But with so many canceled plans and days (weeks? months?) spent in sweatpants, it's safe to say we all need something new to wear. Here's your refresher on how to dress for every special occasion on your calendar, for this season and beyond.
Extravagant Affair: Formal Events
For formal events including black-tie weddings, galas or dinner parties.
Usually held in the evenings, formal events are the time to pull out all the stops. Dial up the glitz with a floor-length gown or flowy dress in evening-appropriate textiles such as satin, chiffon or velvet. Keep the silhouette classic but look for fun details like sheer panels or intricate beading. Then add a statement necklace or chandelier earrings and bring it all together with an evening clutch and stilettos. For a fresh take, choose contrasting accessories that stand out while still complementing the overall ensemble.
Sleek Sophistication: Semi-Formal Events
For semi-formal events like holiday parties or fundraisers.
If the invitation calls for semi-formal attire, it's best to take directional cues from the venue and occasion. You'll also want to consider the time of day the event is being held—if it's in the evening, chances are the party will lean more formal. Wear a colorful midi dress or sleek jumpsuit with festive earrings and strappy heels, or make a statement with wide-leg pants, a matching cropped top and textured accessories. The bottom line here is to have fun with it!
Understated Elegance: Cocktail Parties
For late afternoon or evening events requiring cocktail attire, such as bridal showers or birthdays.
We'll admit: of this list, cocktail attire can be the most challenging to figure out. Sure, we all know that cocktail dresses are reserved for special occasions, but they aren’t exactly formal and don't fall into the casual category either. So, what do you wear? Find the balance between elegant and comfortable and avoid anything too casual. A knee-length dress is always a safe bet, but you can also mix it up with dressy separates like a midi pencil skirt and a blouse with special detailing, or even a tailored pantsuit.
Casual Glam: Daytime Events
For daytime events like destination weddings or baby showers.
Events held outdoors or during the daytime are appropriate occasions for higher hemlines, vibrant colors and playful prints. A long-sleeved mini-eyelet dress is a cute option for a baby shower, and if you're headed to a beach wedding, a flouncy maxi dress with lots of movement is perfect. When it comes to shoes, it simply depends on where the event is being held. If you'll be on the beach or on a lawn, pair your dress with flat, strappy sandals, but if you're looking to add some height, go with wedged or block heels so you can walk (and dance!) comfortably.