Posted on May 23 2017
Compared to us girls, guys have it easy. There are only so many ways you can go wrong with a suit or tux, but when it comes to evening wear for women, the list of possible fashion faux pas can seem daunting. That is, of course, if you don't know what you're doing. But you do. Or you will after you finish reading this fool-proof collection of tips for a flawless look.
1) Picture YOURSELF
Just because a model looks amazing in a gown doesn't mean you will. Not all of us are 6 feet tall with 27-inch waists. When you're selecting an evening gown, it's important not to get caught up in the window dressing. (Just ask anyone who's been tempted to buy ridiculously cheap clothing online only to find that coveted boyfriend sweater fit more like a straightjacket.)
Now, while you won't encounter these drastic discrepancies when you're buying quality evening gowns, you do have to shop with your body type in mind. All of your body. Play up your strengths! So what if you don’t have legs like Julia Roberts; choose a dress that shows off your sculpted back. Have a hefty chest? Don’t weigh down your look with a strapless number. Instead, opt for a gown that affords you more support.
2) Be Open-Minded
Here’s a universal truth about shopping for any outfit: what you thought would look good on you might not, but a gown you would never have dreamed of wearing could be just the ticket. Just ask any bride who’s found her ‘dream dress’ in a magazine and spent months tirelessly tracking it down only to try it on and be disappointed. (Or watch a few episodes of Say Yes to the Dress!) Our expectations and reality don’t always measure up, so before your set your heart on one gown, entertain the idea of other looks and styles. Sure, you should wear something that feels like you and speaks to your personality, but there are many sides to your personality - don't be afraid to celebrate them all!
3) Dress for the Occasion
The kind of evening gown you select will also depend on the event - though the old, stogy rules don’t always apply anymore. For example, you can be more cheeky and playful in your choice if you are hosting a benefit for a children's hospital than you could be if you were attending a memorial benefit for a colleague. A gown you'd wear to your daughter's 16th birthday could be sassier than one you'd wear to a gala night at the opera. Know your audience, and play to them.
4) Be Age Appropriate
No one is saying you can't wear a slinky satin number or shorter gown after 40, but - unless you're planning to be ironic - that bubblegum pink sequined tutu dress is probably best left for prom night. Same goes for younger women who haven't quite developed the refined grace to pull off more regal gowns. There are always exceptions to every fashion rule, but in general, it's a good idea to embrace your age if you want to look your best.
5) Consider Accessories
Have a statement accessory you want to flaunt? Then find a gown that can play an active supporting role. A bold necklace pairs beautifully with a sophisticated and subtle dress with an ample neckline. A pair of elbow gloves looks incredible with a strapless gown. By all means, embrace the bling, but just keep in mind your dress shouldn't cause seizures. Every part of your outfit should work together in harmony. Bold harmony, perhaps, but harmony nevertheless. Your gown and your accessories shouldn’t be fighting for attention.