What should you wear for evening events?

While we’ve become much less formal in recent years, it’s still fun to get dressed up sometimes. Whether you’re going to a gala or barbecue with friends, a fancy wedding or date night with your husband, “live in the moment” and draw more fun from these special times by dressing in appropriate evening attire.

Here are some suggestions:
Barbecues, Movies, and Other Casual Events

Instead of reaching for jeans or shorts for those casual events, try a breezy summer dress or a flirty off-the-shoulder number. Dresses are more “girlie” than pants and will draw more notice than a t-shirt and jeans, so if you want a little attention – particularly from guys – try a fun dress for picnics, outdoor concerts, and light-hearted evening events.

Try a cute dress for casual events

A maxi dress offers a trendy alternative to jeans
Jessica London

Note: maxi dresses are fine, but remember that all that extra material around your legs will make you hot. Proceed with caution.

Dinner and Drinks

Have something semi-formal on the calendar, like a cocktail party or dinner at an upscale restaurant? A cocktail dress is definitely appropriate. While an LBD (little black dress) is fine, do expand your options with other colors that flatter your skin tone, particularly if you go out frequently. Planning on eating a lot? Try an empire style that skims the waistline.

Go flirty for cocktails

New York & Co

Glam it up for a special dinner

Sue Wong
Couture Candy

An Evening Wedding

Evening weddings are generally more formal than day time weddings, but it really depends on the venue. A sunset wedding on the beach warrants a knee-length casual dress, for example, while a sit-down dinner at a country club may call for a floor-length number. READ THE INVITATION CAREFULLY. Informal weddings with receptions at beaches, parks, lodge clubs, and backyards are less formal; church or temple weddings with receptions at country clubs, officers’ clubs, four star restaurants or hotels are more formal. If you have no idea what to wear, ask the bride or her mother.

Keep it simple for informal weddings
Informal Wedding

Formal wedding attire

Wedding no-no’s: wearing white, wearing bridal party colors, upstaging the bride.

Balls, Galas, and Opening Nights

Black tie and white tie events are the most formal occasions and call for the most formal attire. This usually means floor length skirts and dresses, although a very dressy evening pants ensemble would also work. Bare minimum for black tie: dressy cocktail attire. Elegant white tie: formal gown, upswept hair, white gloves. Inappropriate for either: jeans or other casual attire.
Black tie appropriate

Black Tie

White tie appropriate. Add long white gloves to finish the look

White tie

Dressing for an evening out used to be a big deal for our parents and grandparents; there’s no reason why we can’t enjoy a similar fanfare today. The extra attention you receive will be well worth the effort (fellow Leos, take note!). When I “went overboard” recently (as my 11 year old calls it) for dinner out with my husband, we were treated like royalty by the staff (seated right away, given exceptional service), and like celebrities from the fellow diners (“Say – don’t I know you from somewhere?”). It was highly amusing – and a true testament to the power of dress.

So add a little enchantment to YOUR evenings out this season by foregoing the “same old, same old” and REALLY dressing for those evening events. You’ll be delighted by the results.

Need some more guidance on what to wear when? Download a copy of OCCASION MAGIC to see how easy dressing well for every occasion can be.

Occasion Magic

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