As the holidays approach, the party invitations start to accumulate. There’s the office party, the charity gala, the winter formal, a New Year’s Eve party, and even a winter wedding. Trying to find the right dress for each event can be overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. Knowing how to shop for evening wear before you start shopping can take some confusion out of the process, making it a lot more enjoyable. After all, who doesn’t like trying on gorgeous, sparkling dresses?
What’s In a Name?
Special occasions don many different names – ball, gala, formal, holiday party, black-tie event – and usually are accompanied by equally varied dress codes. These dress codes include: holiday attire, cocktail, formal, semi-formal, formal, black-tie optional and black tie. Knowing which dress code applies to your specific event goes a long way in helping you find the right dress.
Holiday and Cocktail Attire: For men, a nice jacket with tie or suit is sufficient. If the event is holiday-related, the guys can add a holiday-themed tie or choose to wear a shirt in that holiday’s colors. For women, cocktail attire is defined as a short dress, dressy skirt with top, or dressy pants and top. Holiday attire is the same but with a twist; add sparkle and holiday colors such as a red satin skirt with a silver sequin top.
Semi-Formal and Formal: These both have the same dress code. Men should wear a suit or go with a tie and dinner jacket, while women should wear a knee-length cocktail dress, a little black dress, or a dressy skirt and top.
Black tie: The most formal dress code, men always should wear a tuxedo. Women should choose a formal, floor-length dress or a dressy cocktail dress. If the event is a wedding, avoid light colors such as ivory and white as well as light-colored lace.
When buying evening wear, give yourself as long as possible to make your purchase. Unless the sample dress is your size AND for sale, most evening wear dresses must be ordered. If the designer has the dress in stock, expect the dress to arrive in-store in approximately two to three weeks. If it’s not in stock, dress orders can take up to 14 to 16 weeks to arrive, depending on the designer and arrival of shipments. Also, include time for any necessary alterations, as well as time to shop for shoes, accessories and jewelry.
Men also should shop as soon as possible for a special occasion. Whether renting or purchasing a tuxedo or suit for the event, the guys will find a great selection at budget-friendly prices. Don’t be afraid to talk with the sales staff to help you find the best look for the occasion.
Attending special occasions during the holiday season is part of the fun and enjoyment to be had during this time of year. Don’t let shopping for the right evening wear dampen your spirit; by following these tips on how to shop for evening wear, you’re sure to find the exact look you want to wear to celebrate.