So many party dresses and never enough parties! It can be hard to find the right dress, and perhaps even harder to choose which of your “right” dresses to wear for a given occasion. But with a little planning, it’s easy. Here are three tips to help you choose the right party dress for any occasion:
1. Match the season – You would think that with the way fashion catalogs follow the seasons, this would be easy—but the truth is that it can get confusing. Obviously, a flowing beach-style maxi dress is a very summer look, but can it work for spring? And is your slinky little cocktail dress a good number for a holiday party, or will it seem too light?
There are some simple rules for making party dresses work in multiple seasons. For one, it’s always better to dress a season ahead than a season behind. For example, wearing a summer dress in the spring will make you look cheerful and fun, while wearing a winter dress will make you look frumpy. On the other hand, a winter dress in the fall looks like you’re prepared, whereas a summer dress makes it look like maybe you forgot your coat. The other rule is to use layering to your advantage. Even a relatively lightweight dress will still look good in the winter if you layer it with a vest, shawl or throw-over jacket plus some great stockings and boots.
2. It’s better to overdress than underdress… in more ways than one – People always say that if you’re not sure how formal or casual an event is, err on the side of dressing formal. But with party dresses, the same rule applies to sexiness. A sexy party dress is a great thing but it can leave you feeling out of place and uncomfortable if it’s not right for the event. And the sexy/conservative spectrum is different than the formal/casual one: imagine the difference in what you would wear to an expensive restaurant with business colleagues versus the same restaurant with a date. Many party dresses feature incredibly sexy reveals like slits in the side, translucent mesh panels or even cutouts. If you’re going to the club or wowing your boyfriend, this is great; but if you’re going to an art event or cocktail party and you’re not sure exactly how laissez-faire the atmosphere will be, it’s better to err on the side of covering up.
3. A good fit is worth more than a good designer – Remember: it doesn’t matter how much you spend on a dress if it’s not a good fit. You can have a thousand dollar dress and still manage to look like you are carrying a few extra pounds if it’s too loose; whereas the $35 dress that suits your every curve will make you look like a million dollars. Fit trumps everything in the fashion world.