Your Ultimate Guide to Finding the Perfect Evening Gown
Whether you’re planning to attend a black-tie wedding, an event at a gala, or are walking the red carpet, finding the perfect evening dress for the occasion is your key to feeling like a million bucks.
However, not all evening gowns are created equal. They come in various styles, sizes, and colors, so a lot of careful consideration and planning needs to go into finding the perfect one. The evening gown you choose for your event should also suit your body type, the season, and the event’s level of formality while reflecting your personal style.
Before you start shopping for your next evening gown, follow the shopping tips and style advice in this ultimate guide to finding the perfect evening gown.
Choose the Right Dress for the Occasion
While evening dresses are relatively sophisticated compared to other dress types, there is a varying degree of sophistication within the realm of evening dresses as well. One of the first things you should consider before you set out to choose an evening dress is which type of event you’re planning to attend and its level of formality.
While some evening dresses might be versatile enough to work for various events. Consider whether you’ll be attending something glamorous like a night at the opera or a gala event. It’s also important to consider whether you’ll be switching from one location to another – for example, if you’ll be dining out before or after the event, you’ll want to choose a gown that will keep you looking fabulous and glamorous without getting in the way.
No matter what type of event you’ll be attending, one general rule to keep in mind is that in most cases, less is often more when it comes to evening gowns. Some of the most elegant and extravagant gowns out there will draw attention to you and compliment your shape without looking too complicated or drawing attention to a specific part of the dress.
Dress for the Season
Regardless of whether you’re attending an indoor or outdoor event, a crucial factor to consider when choosing the perfect evening gown is the season in which you’ll be wearing it. Read on for specific style tips according to each season.
Spring is the season for simple, minimalist silhouettes. Strapless or sleeveless designs work well when paired with a stole or shrug. You can choose anything from off-the-shoulder and halter neck designs to designs that feature cap sleeves, short sleeves, or three-quarter sleeves for spring. Look for gowns in soft and neutral colors or with floral designs for something a little bolder.
Finding the best evening gown for summer largely depends on which half of the summer you’ll be wearing it. And whether the event that you’re attending is set to take place indoors or outdoors. During the first half of summer, it’s alright to consider heavier or more elaborate fabrics. As the weather gets hotter, you’ll want to look for airy, light, and breathable fabrics. If the event you’re attending is set to take place indoors, you can go for a strapless or sleeveless design. To protect your skin from the sun, look for light or sheer full-sleeve dresses for outdoor events.
Autumn is the perfect time to increase the color and design intensity of your evening gown. You also have a full range of neckline options as everything from high necklines to V-dip necklines are autumn-appropriate. Consider metallic accents, intense earthy colors, or prints in leafy, animal, and Aztec patterns. Be bold with the silhouette and embellishments.
Take advantage of the cold weather to pull out all the stops in your evening gown of choice. Stay warm without sacrificing a chic sense of style by choosing a dress with an illusion neckline. Winter is the ideal time to amplify the detail and volume of your evening gown by adding layers. Choose fabrics like velvet, velveteen, and silk, and look at monochromatic color schemes.
Assess Your Body Type
While it’s important to consider the season and type of event you’re attending, understanding your body type and choosing an evening gown that flatters it is hands-down the most critical factor to consider on your quest for the perfect dress. Read on to learn more about the most common body types and get some style tips for each.
If you have a wide upper body, round midsection, and slim legs and thighs, you’re considered to have an apple-shaped body. If you fall into this category, choose a dress that has a plunging or deep-V neckline and defines the waist.
If the upper half of your body is narrower than your thighs, hips, and bottom, you likely have a pear-shaped body. This body type looks best in a gown with a flowing skirt below a fitted top with a plunging bodice or halter neckline.
If your hips and bust are equal in width, separated by a narrow waist, you have an hourglass body type. The best styles to showcase your figure are ones that hug your body. Open-back designs or designs with high necklines are particularly flattering.
If you have square shoulders and an equally square midsection, your body type can be classified as rectangular, athletic, slender, or tall. Choose designs with narrow waists and flared tales that hug the hips and bust. Sweetheart necklines, mermaid styles, and trumpet skirts are all examples that suit this body type well.
If you’re short with a short and slim upper half, you have a petite body. Look at gowns with higher belted waists in solid colors and designs.
Choose Colors That Match Your Complexion
Understanding your skin’s complexion and choosing a color that complements it is almost as important as finding a dress that suits your body type. As a general rule of thumb, you can select a warm-colored gown to match a cold skin tone and a cold-colored gown to match a warm skin tone.
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Dress it Up (or Down) with Accessories
Complete your look by choosing the right accessories to dress it up or down with. If you’re wearing an elaborate design, use minimal accessories to avoid cluttering the look. On the other hand, you can dress a relatively simple gown up with bold accessories like clutches, sashes, scarves, belts, and more.
Follow the tips in this guide and you will surely find the perfect evening gown for your next event and be the belle of the ball!
Image Credits | Dresses by MNM Couture via NewYorkDress.com
About the Author | Jonah Levine is the Creative Director of NewYorkDress.com. NewYorkDress.com, established in 2008, is the #1 online source for Evening and Prom dresses worldwide. As Creative Director, Jonah works to create the ultimate online and in-store luxury shopping experience with a focus on service and personalization.