How To Dress Up When You Don't Do Dressing Up

July 08, 2016

Alright, I get it. Not everyone likes flouncing around in full tulle skirts or swishing about in sequins. That's cool.

dressing up, formal wear | Almost Posh

Dress standards might be more relaxed these days but in my opinion, if a dress code is stated on an invitation, then that's what you wear, or as close as you can get. It's respectful to the host/venue and it means you won't be standing out like a sore thumb in your sneans while everyone else is in cocktail dress.

I'm not about to get all prescriptive or judgy on what people are wearing and it's certainly not about the labels or the total outfit cost. Adhering to a dress code is not about trying to make anyone feel excluded. It's about creating a sense of occasion for an event and setting a standard. 

So if you're not into all of that, what do you do when you get the inevitable invite to a tizzy do?

1. Wear clothes

no pants | Almost Posh

1. (No, seriously). Make An Effort

That's what dressing well for any occasion is all about. You don't need to go out and spend hundreds on a new outfit, squeeze into something super uncomfortable, torture your toes or spend the day in the salon plucking, filing, waxing, trimming, washing, drying, tanning, preparing ALL OF THE THINGS but you do need to lift a bit. Just a bit. Like, above what you might wear to work. And if you want to feel pampered and give yourself a bit of a head start (or cross something off your get-ready list), then go ahead and book that blow dry in, girl. 

2. Keep It Classic

LBD little black dress | Almost Posh

If you don't attend many formal occasions, then invest in one classic outfit you can pull out time and time again. There's a reason people talk up the LBD so much and that's because it's timeless and nobody is going to remember you wore it to the last event, especially if you change up your accessories or hair. Keep it in good shape, have it cleaned properly and it will see you through years of use.

3. Stop Saying "I Don't Do Dresses / Heels / Whatever"

high heels | Almost Posh

First, think about why you say that. Don't like your legs? Wear tights. Don't like your arms? Wear a bolero or a wrap. Think you'll look silly in a skirt because you're always in jeans? You don't. You really, really don't. In fact, if you think people are looking at you, they're probably going "Well, I don't think I've ever seen [you] in a dress, she looks great".

I don't even like doing heels these days because I have largely got out of the habit of wearing them. There are so many jazzy flats or wedges out there now, there's no real excuse for not getting into a pretty shoe unless you're rocking a moon boot or similar. Also, think about the occasion. Is it outside? Will there be dancing? Bring a pair of flats along so you can enjoy yourself in comfort once the formal formalities are over.

And do you know what? You don't HAVE to wear a dress (but it would be nice). If you absolutely positively won't get into a gown (there is no "can't") then sure, you can do a top with pants, but my word, that top had BET' be a jazzy one. If you're going to wear pants to a formal event, they need to be in super good nick and fit well to look appropriately tizzy. You can ramp up the formality with a big old statement necklace, clutch and pretty shoes.

4. Stop Saying "I'm Too [shape]"

Body issues | Almost Posh

If you think you're too big to wear a dress, nope. Check out Jenni at Styling Curvy who wears dresses ALL THE TIME and looks fierce doing it. She might open your world to new brands or stores or ways of wearing things you might not have thought of. Give it a go.

If you think you look like a boy, try looking for dresses that give you shape. They are out there. Well-placed detail, cut and drape can give the illusion of curves and sometimes it's the underwear that makes all the difference.

Getting the right dress is completely and totally all about dressing for your shape. Not going to lie, I can't walk into any store and buy off the rack, I have to try on to make sure it looks right and it's a flattering fit. Once I find the right one, look out, I'm dynamite. 

5. Don't Spend Big Dollars

credit card | Almost Posh

Well, of course if you have the means and you want to, then who am I to argue? However, I rarely drop big dollars on anything, let alone formal stuff that might only get limited wear. So you know what I do; repurpose existing stuff, borrow from friends or hit up the op shops. Have a scout around and see what's out there in terms of shape and style. Try the internet. Some people have had awesome luck with those sites that make dresses to order from your measurements, but for the love of everything, CHECK REVIEWS FIRST!

Sometimes, moving into a different sartorial space is scary but there are plenty of people out there who have your back AND your front. Take a trusted friend along to the fitting rooms. Be confident. Get out there and have a great time at that event. Get pics. Show me.

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