What You Need To Know When Choosing Formal Dressing

When it comes to dressing up for formal occasions, a question often asked is what clothing suits the occasion? How do we determine how appropriate that fabric or print would be?

Some fabrics has prints or colours that looks less formal than others. When a stylish cut like shift dress or pencil skirts has prints or colours that are less than formal or professional in style (eg. Floral or corduroy), the overall look would be more suited to a casual occasion. But yet the thought to wear a canvas sneakers with cotton top and floral pencil skirt puts a great struggle to think if they work!

Know Your Prints

Have you noticed in formal events, solid colours than patterns are usually used for formal dresses. For example, you will find floral prints design used in sun dresses, geometric designs in smart casual outfits. Prints and fabrics can change the formality of a clothing style.

When choosing a dressed up look for the occasion, have at least one of the following:

  • Shiny
  • Dark colours
  • Mono-coloured prints
  • Lower contrast patterns
  • Small florals 
  • Geometric and ordered prints


formal skirts   formal skirts

Depending on the formality of the occasion, you may consider pairing matte top with shiny skirt or light coloured tops with small floral bottoms for smart casual occasions. In formal occasions such as dinners and parties, a top-to-toe shiny fabric dress or an all small floral patterned outfit would be appropriate. 


Feel The Fabrics

When it comes to choosing fabrics for the formal look, you will find the most often used fabrics are shiny, velvety or fine. The more textured the fabric, the more casual it will look. Heavy textured fabrics such as denim and corduroy would look less formal. However among the textured fabrics, lace is the only one that gives the formal look. Light weight, fine and soft fabrics such as chiffon and silk are perfect choices for evening gowns.

formal fabric


In conclusion, when deciding on how to dress up and down for the occasion, you would take into consideration of the print design, fabric type, textures and colours. Whether it is a dress on its own or a mix and match style, style up your outfit with a personal touch of accessories. Dressing up is not too difficult, isn’t it?


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If you would like to breakthrough from your current style and step into your True Style Personality, drop me a chat (jeann@stylebyjeann.com) or simply download my FREE resourceLook Stylish for Less“.

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