Let’s face it, finding an evening dress is no easy task. There’s so much to consider: style, fabric, color–all without even accounting for size and fit. Whether you’re planning for your wardrobe or running around frantically at the last minute before an event, choosing the right dress for your body and the occasion to which you’ll be wearing it, let alone current fashion tastes, can make you want to cancel your plans. Or, crawl into your bed in your pajamas, watch “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” (streaming on DIRECTV STREAM) and pine for that iconic little black dress.
Fortunately, with these few helpful tips in your purse, you can find the perfect evening dress without driving yourself insane–even if it is through the process of elimination.
Understand Your Body Type
Not all dresses are made for all bodies, but you can be sure there are some made just for yours. An evening dress should ideally highlight all your best features, be they hips, bosom, shoulders, backside, neck, arms or legs (to name a few.) If you don’t know your body type, you generally can’t go wrong with a basic, timeless V-line evening gown or A-line evening dress. These flatter almost every body type.
Color Is Key
Everyone has a different skin tone, and some colors go better than others with certain skin tones. You should always look for dresses that complement yours. No matter how much you may like a particular color, if it doesn’t go with your skin tone, it won’t flatter you in a dress. As a general rule, if you have a warm skin tone, you should opt for cool colors, and vice-versa.
Keep it Simple
When it comes to evening dresses, in most cases, less is more–and we’re not talking about coverage here. We’re talking about design. Intricate dresses with a lot of layers, angles, flourishes and accouterments can detract attention from the person wearing them. An evening dress shouldn’t overshadow you, it should highlight your unique and attractive characteristics.
Consider the Occasion
There are many reasons to wear an evening dress, among them “weddings, funerals, religious traditions, balls or proms, specific dinners, operas, and horse racing events.” But the same evening dress wouldn’t be appropriate for all those events. Some will be sexier and sleeker; others will be more classy and elegant. Make sure the evening dress you select enhances the tone of the occasion, not distracts or deters from it.
Beware of Trends
Trends are transitory by definition. That means what’s “in” today could be “out” tomorrow. Choosing your evening dresses based on what’s trendy currently could leave you with a garment you only wear once before it gathers dust in your closet. And, that one time you do wear it, it’ll say more about current fashion and style preferences than about you as an individual. Opt for timeless evening dresses instead that never go out of style.
Don’t Break the Bank
There’s no need to go into debt or start hawking your old dresses at second-hand stores to afford a new evening dress. Set a realistic budget for it before you start shopping around for an evening dress based on how much value you plan to get out of it (ie. how many times you think you’ll wear it and to what occasions over what length of time.) The side benefit along with still having money to eat and pay rent is it helps narrow down your choices.
Try Shopping Online
You won’t always find the perfect evening dress online, but sometimes you might. And, when you do, you’ll often pay much less for it than if you tried to buy the same dress in a physical store. Plus, you spared yourself the expense of taking time out and paying gas money to drive down there. Shopping online gives you a wide selection of fashion brands and styles to choose from as well, rather than being limited to what a brick-and-mortar store has in inventory.