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What To Wear

What to Wear to a Party

It’s party time! You’ll want to let your hair down and enjoy yourself, but first you’ve got to choose your outfit. Every function is different and what you wear hinges on several factors from the time of year, to the location, who’s hosting and the theme of the event.

Getting the dress code right will help you to feel comfortable during the party. When you are confident in your appearance, it can have a huge impact on your experience. Even the way you physically enter the venue and socialise with others is usually made more pleasurable when you feel at ease in your clothing.

So, it’s really worth paying attention to this unique area of your capsule closet. Take the time to try on different styles and invest in a handful of go-to occasion wear pieces that you can turn to time and time again.

Read on to feel inspired by our picks of the best party wear choices from formal wear to cocktail party ideas, workplace events and even daytime tea parties. Wherever you’re going, we’ve got every festive style covered.

Festively Formal

At a formal event you are encouraged to take your outfit to the next level in terms of glamour. Think floor-length hems, sheer or metallic fabrics, embellishments galore from beads to sequins, fringes and statement jewellery.

Consider your body shape and the assets you want to show off. Hourglass figures may want to turn heads with a bodycon silhouette, hugging curves to enhance a super-feminine figure. Pear shapes could try a flattering a-line look, with a sleek fit & flare design to skim over the hip area giving a more streamlined silhouette.

If you like more support in your bust, avoid backless gowns or styles with plunging necklines. Look out for shapes with wide cami straps or halter necks that are more bra-friendly, allowing you to create the support you want while concealing your under garments in a flattering way.

Be careful not to go over-the-top with your overall look. If your dress has lots of glitz and bling, then choose neutral heels and an elegant overcoat. Finish your style with statement make-up, such as a daring crimson lippie or killer ‘smokey eyes’.

Cocktail Charm

Cocktail wear encapsulates a number of different styles. More playful than a traditional formal dress code, this party theme will include more relaxed looks from shorter hemlines, to jumpsuits, brighter colours and more flamboyant prints.

For a cocktail party you also can’t go wrong with an LBD (little black dress). Try a sequinned mini shift dress with wide cami straps and a modest neckline to keep your look classy. Other LBD styles could include a sassy fit & flare skater dress with long sheer mesh sleeves and a full short or midi length skirt with plenty of ‘swish’ movement to have you making a big impact as you take to the dancefloor!

Look out for a range of prints and fabrics, such as pretty lace designs, floral patterns and statement animal prints. Team your look with a pair of glamorous heels and accessorise with a coordinating clutch bag and statement jewellery.

The Office Party

Workplace functions can be tricky. Although an office party is an opportunity to let your hair down, you still need to retain an overall appearance of modesty and professionalism. Avoid very low-cut necklines and super short miniskirts. Instead opt for a chic pencil skirt and tucked-in silk or chiffon blouse paired with elegant heels. Asymmetric hemlines from soft hanky hems to dramatic drop hems and elegant pephems can all add texture which will elevate a demure style and turn heads.

Tailored silhouettes are always fitting looks at a work event. Try a versatile shirt dress with a button front and sleeves with cuffs, but instead of a stiff and structured fabric, opt for something softer like satin. Collars will then drape loosely around the neck and shoulders, while skirts will have a more ‘evening’ feel. Swap low-heeled court shoes for a higher stiletto and ditch a larger, functional work bag for something smaller and more festive.

Use your accessories, jewellery and make-up do more of the talking, while you keep your outfit chic and demure. If you like the idea of a trouser style, try a fit & flare jumpsuit with a high neck and a self-tie waist. Pair with strappy heels and a metallic clutch for a party style that’ll dazzle your colleagues.

Smart Casual

These days, the majority of parties follow this type of dress code. A ‘smart casual’ style enables you to combine a casual garment, such as a pair of skinny jeans, and team them with a glitzy top or blouse to elevate your look, while keeping things relaxed and casual.

Another way to achieve this look is to pair leggings with knee length or ankle boots and a longline top or tunic. Look out for sheer or semi-sheer fabrics that can be layered over a vest or cami top. Prints from florals to geo designs, colour block styles and statement stripes are all great ways to make a statement and add a pop of colour.

In order to keep your look polished, stick with denim that’s darker in colour and make sure you’re not scruffy, avoiding ripped or distressed styles. Leather looks are also great for an edgy on-trend party look. Coated jeans or a cropped faux leather jacket can be paired with a brightly coloured blouse or lightweight, elegant knit top.

Daytime Chic

Although we tend to think of parties as predominantly evening occasions, there are many functions that happen during the day and require a dress code all to themselves. Tea parties, weddings, birthdays and many religious ceremonies will often begin early in the day, even if they continue into the evening as the full celebrations get underway.

These occasions can be more conservative and there’s usually an expectation of a sophisticated finish to your style. A failsafe outfit is a classic tea dress, with a modest neckline and a hem dropping to around a calf length. A knee length silhouette would also be very stylish. Make sure you opt for a proper sleeve, whether it be long, half-length or short, but avoid a strappy or sleeveless look unless the weather is particularly warm, or if you’re pairing your style with a blazer or shawl.

Try a print with a delicate or romantic feel, such as a ditsy floral pattern, a classic paisley print or a chic geo design. Tailored shirt dresses, pleated or knitted midi skirts and fitted, cropped culottes are all stylish outfit options that would work perfectly for a daytime event.

3 tips to make sure you dazzle at your next party

Take note of the details. If it’s an evening party in a smart venue, dress accordingly with a more formal look. Likewise, be appropriate to the season, with lightweight fabrics in summer and heavier looking styles, such as knitwear, in colder months.

No clear dress code? Always dress up, rather than down. Without risking going too far, think about the type of party it is. It’s respectful to your host to show them that you’ve taken time to consider your outfit and that you’ve made an effort to dress well.

Have fun. Remember, fundamentally all guests are invited to have a good time! Let this reflect in your overall look wherever you are going. Try a sequin embellishment or a metallic fabric, experiment with an asymmetric hemline or a glamorous puff sleeve. Feel good in what you are wearing and you’ll be sure to enjoy yourself.


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