Tips for Finding a Dress for a Special Occasion

If you’re like many women, you probably have a closet full of clothes but, when a special occasion comes along, feel like you have nothing at all to wear. In fact, this may actually be the case if you don’t often require a more formal dress or other attire, and so therefore haven’t shopped for one in years.

No one wants to wear an 80s-style bridesmaid dress that’s been sitting gathering dust for years, after all, do they? And it’s also horrible to have to try to squeeze into a dress you could once wear with ease but that now barely does up. To help you find the right dress for a special occasion, read on for some helpful tips you can follow today.

Set a Budget

When it comes to buying evening gowns or other outfits for the important “do” you’re off to, it’s wise to set a budget before you hit the shops. While there are lots of affordable options available online and in stores these days, if you don’t give any thought to how much you feel comfortable spending, you might wander into an expensive boutique, find something you love, and then be faced with the difficult decision of whether or not to buy it, even though you can’t really afford it.

However, if you do already have a budget in place, you’ll find it much easier to stop before things get too far. You’ll be able to limit your choices to stores with clothing that fits your spending limit. Keep in mind, too, that often special-occasion dresses don’t actually get worn much (they’re typically used once and then that’s it), so you don’t want to empty out your bank account for an item that won’t get a lot of wear anyway.

Give Yourself Enough Shopping Time

Another top tip is to always give yourself plenty of shopping time to find the perfect dress. This will make it a whole lot easier to stick to your budget, because you won’t be limited to just buying whatever you can find at the last minute, no matter the price.

As well, if you start searching for a dress months in advance of your special occasion, you’ll be able to choose to have something made by a dressmaker at a cheaper price, if need be, or at least will leave yourself time for alternations to be organized if required. Allowing yourself time to research and compare prices also means you’ll have a better chance of finding something that’s on sale, which is a bonus.

Know What Kind of Style Suits Your Body Shape

To find the perfect dress, you need to understand what kind of body shape you have, and therefore what sorts of styles will suit you best. Be clear on your proportions, and determine if you’re a triangle, pear, hourglass, apple, or other shape. Look at your whole body, from the tops of your shoulders down to your feet, so that you can get a complete picture. It helps to measure yourself with a tape measure too.

Once you know your body type, search for dresses with silhouettes which will suit you well, maximizing your best features and minimizing those you don’t love so much. For example, if you have a small bust consider choosing a dress with ruching, ruffles, or bows, or other structure which gives the illusion of a bigger bosom. Alternatively, if you’re a pear shape with a larger bottom than top, you might want to opt for a dress with an A-line skirt that skims over your curves rather than hugging and highlighting your not-so-favorite body area.

Other things to consider when examining different dress styles include the length of the dress; the patterns used; if there is enough support; and the fit (e.g. is it too tight or too loose for your shape).

Consider the Location, Theme, Temperature, and Other Factors Regarding the Event

Lastly, when shopping for a new dress, keep in mind the details of the event you’re attending. For instance, if the special occasion is being held at the beach, avoid wearing a dress that could blow up and expose you if a wind gust hits, or that will keep getting dragged along in the sand because it has a long train. On the other hand, if you’re attending an event at a formal location, such as a high-end restaurant, hotel, or other spot, make sure your dress suits the atmosphere and isn’t too casual.

Read the invitation carefully, too, to check if there is a particular theme for the occasion. If so, you don’t want to turn up and find you’re the only one who hasn’t dressed accordingly. The temperature is another important factor. If it will likely be very hot on the day of the event, and it’s being held outdoors or in some other location without cooling, buy a dress made from light, breathable fabric. Alternatively, during winter, select a dress that will give you more coverage and that’s made from warmer material.

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