Styling a dress for a formal occasion


Image via Flickr creative commons from Sarah.F.Bowman

The summertime is wedding season which means that it is likely that you’ll be invited as a guest to many a wedding this year. You may also find that a lot more formal events take place in the summer, such as parties at sports events and the like, simply because the weather is suitable to hold outdoor parties long into the night. I’ve found that many women struggle with knowing what to wear to a formal event. Unless you’re used to attending such events, you’re likely to not have a lot of appropriate outfit choice currently hanging in your wardrobe. A dress is always a good place to start when attending a formal event as it is very ladylike. But how do you turn an average dress into something glamorous and elegant? Here is how to style a dress for a formal occasion.

Formal means black tie

First things first, you’ll need to make sure your dress is appropriate for the occasion. A formal occasion calls for black tie clothing. It can be difficult to know what to wear if you’re a lady as you cannot simply don a tuxedo. Instead, women should wear a cocktail dress or a long length dress. An elegant maxi dress would be ideal for such an occasion. Missguided USA dresses will give you a hot fresh look for any formal event.


As formal wear can err on the plain side, a great way to embellish it is with some sparkly jewellery. However, if you’re attending a formal event, any old jewellery will not do – diamonds, pearls and jewel stones are appropriate. Make sure you always try your chosen jewellery pieces on with your dress before the day of the event, just to make sure that they match. Colour wise, you should aim for silver jewellery if your dress is on the cold side of the colour wheel, such as blue or grey, and gold jewellery if your dress is on the hot side of the colour wheel, such as red or orange. If it is an evening event, a small clutch bag works best – try to match it to the shade of your dress if possible.


Formal events tend to last way into the night so it is advisable to wear shoes that you will feel comfortable in all day. However, comfortable shoes and a cocktail dress are not really synonymous. Many cocktail dresses call for elegant high heels – if its summer, try wearing peep toe heels and contrasting your nail varnish with the colour of your shoes. Always remember to take a pair of comfortable ballet flats with you to slip into when your feet start to hurt – bare feet are not appropriate for a formal occasion.

Hair and make-up

In terms of hair and make-up, you can afford to be a little more dramatic here. If you find it hard to style your hair in any other way than how you usually wear it, visit a hairdresser instead. They usually have a booklet of hairstyles suitable for formal occasions from which you can choose your favourite one. They will also be able to advise you on what would suit your face shape. For your make-up, you cannot go wrong with a smoky eye and lashings of mascara.  A slash of red lipstick will finish the look perfectly.



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