Wearing the Right Dress for Special Occasions

Dressing well means dressing for the occasion. While some outfits may look amazing at one event, they can be disastrous at another. (Anyone who’s ever shown up to a baby shower looking like they are dressed for a bachelorette party can attest to this!)

Avoid embarrassment and make sure you’re always dressed to impressed with this simple checklist.

Is the event about you?

If the answer is yes, you have a lot of leeway. Whether it’s a wedding day, bridal shower, anniversary event, honourary dinner, baby shower, birthday party, bachelor or bachelorette party, being the star (or one of the the stars) of the show is great way to really have fun with your look. You don’t have to worry about outshining anyone – you are there to shine!


If you are not the star of the event – if the event even has a star – it’s time to play it cool. This isn’t to say you can’t wear something fantastic, but it is also important to remember this is not about you.


In the event the occasion has no ‘star’, like a business cocktail party, or a gala, then you can be a dazzling as you dare. The stage is open for you to steal the spotlight, so go for it!


Is the event formal?

Most of the time, it is obvious if an event is formal or not. Weddings are usually formal, for instance, as are gala affairs. Events like showers and birthday parties, however, can be casual to semi-formal, unless specified otherwise. In fact, most invitations do – and should – specify or at least hint at the formality.

A white tie event means you have to get fully decked out. Women need a full-length evening dress and men need a tailcoat, waist coat, white starched shirt and (you guessed it!) a white bow tie.

Black tie is a little less formal. Men can wear a suit and tie, and women can wear a shorter dress – but the look is still fairly dressy.

Semi-formal is just about synonymous with black tie, but the styles can be a little less conventional and a little more fun. For men, the suit jacket and sometimes even tie can go, and women can have more fun with their garb, opting for stylish playsuits and frilly party dresses.

Casual is fairly obvious: wear just about anything you like: jeans are gone, as are khakis, shorts, skirts, tank tops, blouses – whatever. Well, almost whatever. If you’ve been invited to an event that isn’t a pig-out sleep over at your BFFs, you want to try to dress with style, at least. So save your sweat pants and ‘I hate Mondays’ crop top for binge watching True Blood. You can dress down, but you need to look like you put effort into your appearance.

A pair of nice jeans with a simple white tank, a beautiful scarf and a pair of ballet flats can do: the point is to look like you made a little effort. They made the effort to include you, after all.

And that’s what dressing for an occasion is really about: ensuring your attire reflects the mood and intent behind the event. Ignoring this is when dressing disasters happen.

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