Whether it’s a work holiday party, a special birthday, or another special occasion, wearing the right attire can ensure a successful event.
If you’re wondering how to dress for a party, there are plenty of things to consider before you head out to celebrate.
Read on to discover some fashion tips to help you create the perfect ensemble for any party you attend.Formal Parties
When it comes to formal party attire, most events will be listed as “black tie” or “white tie” events. This term refers to parties that require you to dress up in your best outfit for the occasion.
The term black tie means that men should wear tuxedos and women should wear long, formal dresses, cocktail dresses, or fancy separates that are in-line with the party’s theme. Women can wear a sleek and simple black dress with jewelry if they’re unsure about the proper attire.
If you receive an invitation that mentions the word “formal,” it’s safe to assume that it’s a black-tie event. White-tie parties are considered ultra-formal and men should wear a white tie, vest, and shirt. Women may wear long gowns or a gown with a full ball skirt.
In some cases, you might see invitations that mention “black tie optional.” While still fairly formal, these parties are not quite as rigid in terms of the dress code. You’ll have the option to wear a tuxedo or a formal dress but you can also get away with wearing a suit and tie or a simple formal dress.
Overall, the formal dress code for a party means that men should wear suits and dress shoes, and women should wear ball gowns or evening gowns. When in doubt, ask the party host what they suggest in terms of the dress code.
How to Dress for a Party: Semi-Formal
Not every party you attend will be a black or white tie event. In fact, many people today prefer to list their parties as semi-formal on the invitation.
This term means that you should still dress elegantly, but not quite as formal in terms of suit or dress requirements. Tuxes aren’t typically required at a semi-formal event. For women, you can wear a shorter dress or a strapless gown at semi-formal parties.
In some cases, you might hear the term “resort formal.” This usually refers to parties on the beach or at an exotic location like an island resort.
If you get a resort formal invitation, you can have a little more fun with your outfit. Women can wear long maxi dresses in colorful floral prints with sandals. Men should be able to wear lightweight linen suits or a nice dress shirt with a pair of shorts and fit right in.
Business formal parties typically require men to wear suits with a tie instead of a bowtie. Women’s outfits should be tailored and consist of a blazer and long pencil skirt or something that’s more businesslike than a standard evening gown. Keep heel height limited and opt for pumps or flats instead whenever possible.
Men can wear what they’d choose for a job interview to ensure they’re choosing the right ensemble. Avoid black suits, and stick with dark neutral colors like blue or gray.
A cocktail party is a more laid-back version of a formal event. The invitation should read “cocktail attire” which refers to dark suits work with a tie for men. Think navy blue or charcoal gray suits paired with a matching tie and a good pair of leather dress shoes.
Women who attend a cocktail party can wear shorter dresses with fun accents like a ruffled skirt or rhinestones. A little black dress is always a perfect choice when attending cocktail parties. You can even wear separates like a skirt and blouse, or even a nice blouse with some flowy dress pants.
Think of cocktail party attire as much less dressy and more casual than formal attire. Most cocktail parties are held to celebrate the holidays, wedding receptions, anniversaries, or even class reunions.
If the invitation mentions festive attire, it’s usually meant for Christmas or New Year’s Eve parties. Women can dress up in vibrant red or green and wear sparkling jewelry to make the outfit match the season. For men, wear a black suit with a green tie, or a tie with a fun holiday print.
Have some fun with jewelry at festive parties by adding sparkle to your outfit. Men can wear festive metal cufflinks, and rings for women should be bright and sparkling for a cheerful touch.
Informal and Casual Party Attire
When you think about how to dress for a party, an informal event is your chance to wear your best laid-back look. These parties are much more relaxed and don’t typically request that you wear something fancy to match the theme.
Of course, what you should wear will also depend on whether or not the party is held during the daytime or in the evening. Informal daytime weddings mean that women can wear a nice sundress or a skirt and top. You can even wear a pair of dress pants and a blouse but stay away from jeans or leggings.
Men can wear slacks or chinos and a nice dress shirt or button-down shirt tucked in. For footwear, men should avoid wearing sneakers, and women should avoid wearing heels. A pair of flats or sandals for women and oxfords or loafers for men should suffice.
For an informal evening party, women should wear a dress that’s comfortable yet beautiful. A long maxi dress and flats or a black dress with short heels are great choices.
For men, dress requirements are similar for daytime and evening informal parties. If the party takes place in the evening, consider sprucing up your outfit with a jacket. A tie isn’t typically required.
Casual and Dressy Casual Parties
If your party invitation mentions the words “dressy casual attire,” it means you should wear a dressed-up version of casual clothing. For example, men can wear a pair of comfortable trousers topped with a sportcoat. Women can enjoy wearing dress pants and a well-made blouse.
Stay away from jeans and t-shirts if the party invitation mentions dressy casual attire. On the other hand, a truly casual party means that almost anything goes when it comes to what you wear.
Whether it’s your favorite pair of jeans and sneakers or a hoodie, a casual party is the ultimate in laid-back celebrations. Most hosts or hostesses will mention whether or not they expect you to dress in a more dressed-up style if they’re having a casual party.
Dressing for a pool party can be tricky, especially since you’ll need to bring a few extra items with you. A one-piece bathing suit is recommended for women, and men can sport their favorite pair of swimming trunks.
Wear a nice coverup when attending a pool party. A sundress or a swimsuit coverup is perfect for women, and men can simply don a t-shirt to wear with their swim trunks.
To add to your look, sport a cute fedora hat and a great pair of sunglasses. Footwear should be easy to take on and off so you can jump in the pool whenever you’re ready.
Make sure you wear clothing that will dry quickly, and bring a large towel with you to dry off. You can also bring an extra outfit if you want to change into something more comfortable later.
If you’d rather not take a swim, wear a cute summer dress or a pair of shorts and a t-shirt. The key is to make sure that you’re comfortable and that you’re getting enough protection from the sun. Always bring your sunscreen to a pool party to keep you from getting sunburned.
When it comes to birthday parties, the right attire often depends on the age of the person and the party location. For example, kid’s birthday parties tend to be more casual, while parties for older people might be a bit dressier.
If the party is held at someone’s home, the dress code is likely casual. If it’s hosted at a nice restaurant or an event hall, prepare to dress up a bit in a more elevated way.
When in doubt, it’s always best to ask the host or hostess directly about the dress code. That way, the birthday boy or girl will feel special and you’ll feel great about what you wear.
Pick Your Party Attire
Knowing how to dress for a party often depends on the type of event you’re attending and what your host has listed on the invitation. Use this guide to help you ensure that you’re dressing the right way so that you look fabulous and fit in.
From black and white-tie events to business and holiday parties, it’s easy to choose the perfect outfit. Make sure that whatever you choose, you feel comfortable and fabulous so you leave the party with lasting memories.
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