Many of us find dressing up for a wedding or out for an evening, not the black tie type, but the smartly dressed type, hard work, our wardrobes just don’t cater for it if we don’t do it too often. Too easily when invited out we feel we have nothing to wear so we go shopping and spend money on a garment that we might only wear once or twice, which is a waste of money and resources.
Instead, don’t fall for this expensive trap, instead start creating an evening wear wardrobe capsule so that you have a variety of pieces that can be mixed and matched to create a few looks from smart to dressy so that you have something appropriate to wear, no matter where you’re invited.
Here I’ve created a capsule that gives you over 16 outfits, plus of course add in the accessories to mix it up.
Don’t forget to look for a fabulous evening coat, you may think that you can wear anything as you’ll take it off when you get to your destination, but finding something that has great impact as you walk into the room will really finish off your appearance.
This capsule can take you from dinner at a restaurant, to a cocktail party to a wedding.
Absolutely black can be an easy option for evening wear, but don’t base your whole evening wear capsule around black, instead look to add in some colour as it will make you stand out from the crowd.
What’s your favourite colour to wear out at night?
I made myself a MOB suit with a floor length skirt. It's peach brocade and has a lot of different colors in it so I use the skirt and pair it with fancy tops that match one color in the skirt. I can't tell you the number of compliments I've received on those outfits. Why wear black?
THANK YOU! I've finally (sort of) caught up on work-wear but my have-fun-after-work-wear is sadly lacking. I'll have to keep this in mind for the next time I go shopping.
A lovely post, as always!
A have a question for you, since we're talking about evening and formal wardrobe. I can't figure the dress style that would suite my mother. She has never worn dresses, cause she never liked the way she looked in them.
She's 60, 175cm tall and in relatively good shape for her age. I think she's an H shape, with
wide torso, small and a bit dropped breasts, and strong arms. I think she needs to cover her neckline and her biceps. On the other side, I don't like seeing her with boat neck nor standard T-shirt neckline. I guess she looks best with shirt collars. Also, she has an athlete butt, and really nice legs (I think they're her best feature). Also, she has a bit of a tummy.
Now that I've named all her features and flaws, it appears easy to find a dress style that would suit her, but I just can't imagine it. She has few ensembles that really look great on her, but no dresses. Any idea? Thanks in advance!
Loving the capsule theme!
I always assumed eveningwear has to have a prominent hero piece, but looking at your set, I now realize it's not necessary. A few versatile pieces can allow me to look appropriate and not like I'm wearing the same thing every time.
Last time I went to a wedding I used a very nice daily-wear skirt I had with a dressier top and jewellery. I loved not spending hundreds for a special outfit. And for another anniversary event I bought something that also works for job interviews (a twin set).
And yet it was still on my mind to get a special outfit for the next wedding, what a waste of money and closet space! Thanks for such a timely post, I will now plan for a piece that goes with a few things I already have.
– tall & slim anon
I have a very pale, sheer dress in a pinky-lavender which is surprisingly versitile. I think the secret is the fabric. It's made of sheer, matte silk, and the only embellishments are streamers on one shoulder and at the waist to hold the dress closed. During the day, a great purple sandal/pump works well, and strappy pewter at night with diamond jewelry. I tend to look for plain fabrics and great lines to the 2-3 dresses I keep for dressy wear, and swap out the shoes and jewelry depending on the season/formality.
Thanks for the black pants ideas!
Blue and black is my absolute favorite.
Ooooh, I absolutely LOVE this. I totally fall into the go-out-and-buy-something-impractical category. Loads of inspiration here; I'm bookmarking it to come back to in the future. You.are.brilliant!
This is very helpful, but do you have any good ideas for alternatives to the shrug? That would really make the sleeveless tops more useful.
When building an evening capsule, are strappy sandals OK for Winter season, or is it better to have closed-toe pumps, or any evening shoe style will do?
That would depend on you and your lifestyle and where you live.
Well, if it’s Winter in a colder climate and the function is semiformal taking place before/after 5?
Add a jacket, wear fine hosiery and a closed toe shoe.
Thank you, Imogen, as always, your advice has been very helpful!