Formal Dress Code: Finding The Perfect Outfit For You

Formal Dress Code, Laloom Kaftans

What is a formal dress code?  What should women wear for occasions calling for formal dress code?  If you’ve received a party or wedding invitation that is causing you anxiety then it’s likely that you’re struggling to decide exactly what a formal dress code means.  Don’t worry – we’re here to help.  Here’s everything you need to know about unravelling the dress code and finding the perfect formal dress code pieces for you:

White Tie Or Black Tie?

The two most common formal dress codes are white tie or black tie. For a white tie event, men will generally wear a suit with a vest and white bow tie, whilst for a black tie event men will typically wear a suit with a black bow tie.  For both occasions, the formal dress code for women will be similar.  A white tie event will call for a floor-length formal gown and gloves, whilst a black tie event will call for the same type of gown but without the gloves.  Heels and a delicate clutch bag will provide the accessories, whilst hair is typically worn in an up-do for formal occasions.

In this photo:  Na Poli Long Kaftan Dress


If an invitation specifically states that the white or black tie formal dress code is required, it is better to err on the side of caution and overdress, rather than underdress.  Break out your best jewellery, book an appointment with your hairdresser, and embrace the opportunity to dress up in your favourite dress.  Even if wearing a long gown feels outside of your comfort zone, it’s important to remember that you’re more likely to stand out from the crowd for all the wrong reasons if you don’t follow the formal dress code than if you do.  So embrace the formal dress code with confidence.

Other Formal Dress Codes

Formal dress code for ladies doesn’t just apply to white tie or black tie events though.  You will also be expected to dress formally for weddings, cocktail parties, bridal or baby showers, or garden parties.  These formal events won’t usually call for a floor length gown: so what should you wear instead?  It is here that your own creativity and sense of style will come into play!  Here are some of our favourite options:

Dressin For Formal Occasions, Kapalua Bay Mid Length Kaftan Dress, Laloom KaftansIn this photo: Kapalua Bay Midi Dress Kaftan


Cocktail Dress

The most common option for a formal dress code is a cocktail dress.  Fun and flirty, the best cocktail dresses will showcase your figure and allow you to flash a little leg without showing too much skin.  Choose a cocktail dress that makes you feel confident and pair it with coordinating accessories to create a streamlined affect that will make you look longer and leaner.


Why Not Choose A Kaftan?

Did you know that kaftan dresses can be a great option for formal dress codes for ladies?  They’re the ideal choice if you want something loose and flowing with a bohemian feel.  Wear over a coordinating silk or cotton slip dress to ensure that your kaftan dress is fully opaque and waft into the party oozing old Hollywood glamour.  Pair with simple heels and ornate, oversized jewellery to increase the drama of your outfit.


Choose your accessories wisely. A well-placed accessory can instantly increase the formality of even the most basic of outfits.  If you have a jewellery box full of gemstones and diamonds then a formal occasion is the perfect time to get them out.  And think carefully about your shoes and bag: silk or satin heels will instantly look more formal than leather ones, whilst a beaded or sequin embellished clutch bag can form the focal point of your whole outfit, turning heads for all the right reasons.

How To Dress For  Formal Occasion, Kekaha Beach Long Kaftan Dress, Laloom KaftansIn this photo: Kekaha Beach Long Kaftan


Dressy Resort Wear

Invited to a party with a beach formal dress code or one that calls for dressy resort wear?  It’s time to break out your favourite kaftan again!  This formal dress code is all about embracing your location, and is often chosen for summer parties or outdoor weddings. You want to look formal but lowkey and your outfit should be fun and lightweight, making a kaftan the perfect choice.  Other options for this dress code include a maxi dress or even a wide legged jumpsuit.  Pair with wedges and oversized shades to complete the look.


Colours And Pattern 

Finally, choose colours and patterns wisely.  You can wear whatever colour and pattern you wish for a formal dress code (unlike men, who are expected to wear white to a white tie party and black to a black tie party) but, unless you want to showcase your gregarious personality, less is often more.  Choose colours that complement your skin tone and pick patterns and enhance your figure, working with the shape of your body rather than against it.



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