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Your Official Guide To Confusing Formal Dress Codes

Finally, your go-to list on what to wear to every occasion, from weddings to wakes and everything in between!

Mirror, mirror on the wall! What’s the best outfit of them all?

Have you ever stood in front of a closet full of clothes and stated that you have nothing to wear?!? Yes, haven’t we all! Now, you know that isn’t the entire truth and what’s bothering you is that you’re probably finding it hard to pick a dress that suits the occasion. After all, women’s attire for a cocktail party is nowhere near clothing for the office!

Formal dressing is an art and knowing how to carry yourself on various occasions is important, as occasions dictate how we should dress to suit the mood of the events. Of course, there are factors to consider like the venue, the formality of the invite and undoubtedly, the weather. But, naturally, there are some general standards to look to for guidance.  

Fret not! From what to wear to an office to how to dress to a formal wedding, we present an easy guide to dress codes for all occasions:

What to wear to a Dinner Party?

This one is easy and often lets you push the limits on glitz and glamour. In that sense, almost anything goes as long as it’s suitable for the venue. A dinner party is a perfect occasion to bring out that statement necklace and pair it with an elegant evening dress or a sleek jumpsuit. Also, make sure to take a little time and call your host before landing on their doorstep. This way, you can find out if it’s a festive event and dress up to celebrate the same. 

Women formal clothing

Best Wedding Outfit Ideas!

When it comes to women’s formal dress for weddings, if it’s a black-tie then formal attire is expected with a little wiggle room. Say a less fancy outfit like a knee-length evening dress speaks of sophistication. Now’s the time to elevate your look with jewellery, fabulous shoes and a chic updo.

Women formal clothing

For white-tie affairs, think Cinderella after her fairy godmother’s visit. Appropriate attire includes floor-length ball gowns in shimmery fabrics and ornate details. 

If it’s an outdoor wedding, opt for a flowy sundress or a stylish shift dress while choosing shades that complement the surroundings like blues, greens and yellows. When it comes to shoes, your best bet would be to stick to flat soles if you’re on the lawn or the beach.

Women formal clothing

What do you wear to a Cocktail Party?

Because a cocktail party is a largely informal event, women’s attire for a cocktail party usually includes evening dresses, so you can’t go wrong with a little black dress but also any dark colour would do. But since there are no hard and fast rules, you’d do just as well with dressy separates or that pastel number you’ve always wanted to flaunt. 

Women formal clothing

How to dress for a Job Interview?

A woman’s attire for an interview should be clean, professional and appropriate. Pumps work well with tailored pants or a skirt suit for the ideal job interview outfit but a black or navy blue dress works just as well. 

Women formal clothing

These are options for most corporate companies, however, if you’re looking for something in a more laid-back industry, then feel free to add your own personal touch to the outfit. But remember to not get too casual as they can be off-putting. Dangly jewellery, denim and flashy outfits are a strict no-no.

What’s the Right Business Dinner Attire?

Though it’s basically an after-five event, a business dinner still means you should look polished. Dressing for a work function that reflects the culture of your office could earn you some extra brownie points. So you should always keep it professional but go a step up from what you would usually wear to the office. Wear a nicer blouse with your suit or go with a skirt and heels. It’s okay to dress comfortably as long you skip anything too revealing or provocative. 

Look sharp, but stay professional. That’s the mantra. 

Outfit Ideas for a Religious Ceremony

Religious events tend to be more conservative so it’s better to dress appropriately and steer clear of any offending apparel. Salwar suits and tunic sets are ideal for these occasions. Also, Indo-western outfits celebrate fusion in fashion and matching and accessorizing elements of both cultures can help create an alluring ensemble.  

It’s better to avoid anything that’s low-cut, clingy or shows off your back and shoulders.  A pretty daytime dress in a floral pattern could be a good option if you still want to pick a Western outfit. Although, do remember to carry a neat jacket or a blazer to cover up any sleeveless styles especially if you were to wear it inside a temple or church. 

Women formal clothing

Dressing for a Family Get Together or Birthday Party

Finally, you can get more laid-back and comfortable with your choice. A sundress or a fun top paired with nice jeans and stylish sneakers or flats are all great options for a casual event. While relaxed vibes are great, make sure not to get too comfortable and leave the yoga pants and graphic tees at home. 

Here, you can focus more on your comfort level as you’re around family, while still staying elegant and stylish at the same time.

What to wear to A Funeral Or Wake?

When attending a funeral it’s better to wear a pantsuit or a knee-length dress in a muted tone with a jacket. Jewellery should be refined like simple studs or a minimalist pendant. Avoid loud colours, flashy fabrics and keep it modest and respectful. 

Black is the standard choice but it’s not compulsory and you can convey solemnity by wearing toned-down clothing like brown, charcoal or forest green.

Style Tips To Help You Pick the Perfect Dress Every Time

Now that you have a fair idea of how the fashion game works for every occasion it’s time to let you in on some important tips while you glam up for that big event. These tips will help you make sure you’ve nailed your look every time:

Know Your Body Shape

If you aren’t sure about what cut suits you best, it’s better to know your body shape to understand which dress silhouettes flatter your body type. For example, having an apple-shaped body (wider midsection and undefined waistline) would work for an empire waist dress. Hips wider than your shoulders? Try a wrap or fit and flare dress!

Break Rules

We may sound like we’re contradicting ourselves but traditional rules are made to be broken. Try mixing it up every now and then break a fashion rule. Who knows? You could end up starting a new trend of your own.

Ask For Guidance

Every occasion or event doesn’t always fall neatly into a category like “day wedding” or “formal gathering”. Instead of relying on telepathy, it’s better not to stress out and simply ask the host what’s appropriate, if you must. 

Move Around

No matter how beautiful your outfit is, it will fall flat if you do too. When you try on a dress for size, ensure that it’s also suitable for swishing and swaying as well. If you aren’t comfortable in a dress, it’s not worth the hassle. 

Choose the Occasion

Sometimes when you scroll through your favourite online store and your eyes fall on that one dress, you just know you should have it. Love at first sight? Maybe! The next time you find that perfect dress, marry it—er—buy it! You never know when it could come in handy for the next big occasion and if not, create one yourself! If it’s a chic dress, arrange for that much-awaited ladies night out. 

Now, these rules aren’t meant to be followed to the T but it’s still important to know them so you feel confident in your outfit choices. Like we said earlier, break a few fashion rules but know the rules well enough so if you were to break any, you’d do it in style! 

Let us know if you have any questions on what to wear to an event. We’d love to help.

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