You’ve been invited to lots of different types of parties and know there are very different dress codes for each. From lowkey house parties to elegant soirees, you may be called upon to assemble a variety of different levels of ensemble. Here are some great ideas for how to prepare your closet for any party occasion.
The Humble House Party
Some of the best conversations and times you’ll ever have are with the people you like the most. Chances are, if you like the host, you will also like the people the host likes. That’s what makes house parties so special. It’s people who are on your same wavelength, coming together for an evening of fun.
The most important thing to bring to a house party is a great attitude. Show off your enthusiasm and readiness for fun with an outfit that makes a positive statement. It might be tempting to cave into the idea that a house party is casual, but remember that it’s still a party. So, put away your sweats, favorite, threadbare sweater, and messy bun.
You don’t necessarily need to get glammed up, but do make an effort to look your best, at whatever dress level the host tells you is appropriate. For most house parties a balance of casual, like great jeans, a spicy top, and a piece of accent jewelry. Make an effort with your hair, like at least do a blowout, but remember that you will be in real-life lighting, so go easy on the makeup.
The Dance All Night Bash
For those of you used to hitting the clubs on a regular basis, getting dressed for a night out might be second nature. For the rest of you mere mortals, it might take some mental energy to think through the right balance of cool, comfortable, and stylish for a bachelorette or night of clubbing.
This is a classic look that never gets old. Try a sequined skirt, slinky top, and pumps. Add a bold metallic earring to peekaboo from under the loose waves you get from a 1 inch flat iron, do some dramatic eye makeup and you’ve achieved the celebratory equivalent of the little black dress.
The Evening Work Event
There is a fine line to walk when you are expected to be festive, but also work appropriate. Stay away from exposed skin or clothes that cling. Those are fine for a social party, but you don’t want to make an impression that would linger and hamper your success in the 9-to-5 world.
Look for something that is similar to what you’d wear to work, but in more evening-style fabrics. If you would wear a sheath dress and blazer to work, find a similar set with a bit of shimmer. Look for velvets, silks, satins, and fabrics with luster. Sequins or bold sparkles may not translate.
Keep your makeup muted. Go for an updo that is a little nicer than what you’d normally do for work. Accessories can be vibrant, as long as they are not offensive or tacky. Remember that you still want your boss to think of you as someone who has good taste and knows how to behave.
The Elegant Cocktail Party
You can always revert to the little black dress for any cocktail party, but why not use the opportunity to have some fun with your outfit? If you aren’t sure where to start, think about a color palette. Choose a color that flatters your skin and doesn’t require a lot of colorful makeup to pull off.
Think about the temperature. If you will be somewhere cool, make sure to include a wrap, jacket, or cardigan as part of your ensemble. Nothing drags down an outfit faster than having to throw on a drab, daytime cardigan over a beautiful cocktail dress because you didn’t plan ahead.
While you don’t need to hire a hairdresser or makeup artist, you should do a trial run of your hair and makeup because both should be special. Choose a hairstyle and jewelry that complements the neckline of your outfit.
The Grand Gala
A black tie event is a treat and a real opportunity to glam it up. If formal wear is a novelty for you, start with some classic silhouettes, the ones that tend to flatter most figures. Think princess cut, column, a-line, and mermaid cuts. The reason they are the most common cuts is that they are universally flattering to women’s curves.
To add your own flair, select some glittering accessories, including jewelry, a clutch, and a wrap that add some individualism to your ensemble. Choose shoes that allow the hem of your dress to keep a flattering length. You can ruin a dress’s elegance by wearing too-tall heels that leave it looking too short. Treat yourself to some professional help with your hair. This special event is a great excuse to let someone else make your hair shiny and elegant.