Building a personal wardrobe will take many years to accomplish and you might discover that certain portions of it are less developed than others. For instance, your work wardrobe is probably quite a bit larger than your selection of formal wear. Since it can be disheartening to receive an invitation to a formal event and not have the appropriate clothing, it is a good idea to pick up a few essential items of plus size formal wear when you have the chance instead of leaving it till the last minute.
Dresses, blouses, skirts, pantsuits
Women have a wide selection of formal wear to choose from so you might have to try on several items before you find something that fits and flatters.
- Dresses are the most common item of women’s formal wear. Factors such as sleeve length, neckline, and hem length help distinguish formal wear from other types of dresses. Plus size cocktail dresses are likely to be no longer than tea length (mid calf) and may go as high as mid thigh. Long sleeved dresses are more commonly worn in winter or late fall; short sleeved or sleeveless dresses are most common in spring and summer.
- Blouses and skirts are usually regarded as slightly less formal than dresses. However, you can mix and match blouses, skirts, and slacks for a greater range of looks. You can dress up a skirt and blouse combination with the use of accessories. It is sometimes easier to alter blouses and skirts than dresses.
- Slacks and pantsuits are not always considered formal wear though it is easier to find occasion-appropriate examples today than it used to be. Many of the same rules regarding dress or blouse selection applies equally to slacks and pantsuits. Select items that fit and flatter; purchasing your selection in one size larger allows you to take it to a seamstress or tailor for custom fitting.
The shoes you pick for your formal wardrobe should complement the outfit and be appropriate for the occasion but there is one other aspect that you should be aware of. The shoes you wear will impact the length of slacks and of long skirts. When you make an appointment for a fitting you will be asked to bring the pair of shoes you intend to wear to the event; this will allow the seamstress to adjust the hem correctly. Once the hem is in place you should keep in mind which shoes the outfit was made to fit.
A modest heel is appropriate for just about any skirt length. Most women prefer to wear their highest heels with their highest skirts because the height emphasizes their legs. Select shoes of a height that is most comfortable for you but keep in mind that flats tend to be less formal. This means that they may not look perfect with skirts that fall near your knees or higher. If you are not shopping for a pair of shoes to go with a particular outfit, select a pair in a neutral color like black or a color that is easy to coordinate, such as red.
A well-rounded formal wardrobe will include jewelry, purses, foundational garments appropriate for the clothing you have chosen, good quality hosiery, and any other items that will help you feel dressed up. Building a formal wardrobe is certainly an investment and it can feel challenging to shop for these items but you will be rewarded with a formal dress that you can really depend on.