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How to Wear Little Red Dress for Different Occasion
Besides the little black dress or little white dress, a little red dress will be your new favorite go-to for day and night. While timeless colors like black and white will always have its special place in our closets for an easy mix-and-match combo with other fashion staple, footwear, or accessories, the color of red can be a bold fashion statement, and is actually quite the versatile color when it comes to dresses, so you can take the opportunity to add some new styles, and keep your dress the focal point of your outfit.
Depending on the shade and silhouette, whether you’re looking for casual daywear or elegant eveningwear, if worn well, a little red dress can create a look that seems both classic and seductive, and soon will become your new favorite style. Here are some easy in-depth guides how you can harness the color’s power.
How to Choose a Little Red Dress
The best length for LRD is at the knee or shorter, whether a shift, sheath and fit-and-flare dress, or even some options of below-the-knee, calf-length (midi) dress. As for its styles, there are numerous of LRD with various details, cuts, necklines, fabric, texture, and shades of red (from burgundy to maroon to scarlet), that you can choose largely depending on what suits you, your personal taste, age and the formalities of the event, as well as the season (whether for hot or cold season). But more importantly, select a dress that flatters your body figure and makes you feel comfortable and confidence.
The LRD made of various fabrics (from leather to chiffon to velvet to lace, etc.)Little Red Dress for Various Body Types and Frames
How to Style a Little Red Dress
The way you style a red dress depends on the occasion. Whether you’re heading to a fancy dinner or cocktail party, or are going for a night out with your besties, a flirt-ready and fierce red dress with figure-shaping bodice and a few feminine details can be your best option, while for a more understated affair, such as a formal wedding, conservative party, or even worn for business attire, it requires a simplistic approach to avoid appearing over the top.
Additionally, since little red dresses can be worn day or night, to dress up or dress down, formal or casual, if you’re on a budget and want to be able to wear the same dress multiple times for various occasions – then buy a red dress in a classic style to be paired with different layering pieces, shoes, or accessories. Not to forget, you may also pick choices of red dress with prints instead of featured only in solid red, to quickly turn into a timeless dress style, making this little red dress even cuter.
The Little Red Dress Easy and Casual Street StyleBusiness Office Attire with The Little Red DressSummer and Casual Look Printed Little Red Dress
How to Accessorize a Little Red Dress
Because the color of red is a standout shade on its own, when you choose accessories to wear with a red dress – including clutch or bag as well as layering and jewelries – stick with simple, subdued pieces with a more neutral color to complete the look without going over the top. Fashion the accessories only to add a little interest and contrast without drawing too much attention, and keep your dress the focal point of your outfit. Jewelries with red gemstones can create a coordinated look, while silver and gold settings have classic appeal.
On the other hand, if your little red dress is already filled with chic details and has figure-flattering silhouette, sometimes the very best accessory can be no accessory at all. Help your great dress highlighting the entire look without any distractions by matching only with shoes and clutch (or handbag) without jewelry, belts, or other additions.
As for makeup color to match with your bright red dress, wearing this color will give you the perfect opportunity to try out minimalistic or nude makeup looks, and you’re ready to be the life of the event, no matter where you go.
Homecoming is that big special day that only happens once in your life. You only get one shot at it and you don’t want to mess it up. It is definitely a day where you want to impress everyone. What you wear says a lot about you. If you plan on wearing a red dress, how will you manage to pull it off? A red dress is a very bold statement. You can’t just walk into it as it takes planning for your entire look to all come together. How well you wear the dress all depends on how prepared you are. Certain things look better on certain people so it is important to keep an open mind.
Lets look at the guide that how to style up yourself in a red dress:
You see a selection of red homecoming dresses and think this will look good; but which type of dress is right for you? To pull off wearing a red dress, you need to choose features that will complement your natural look. Your skin tone plays a key factor in all of this. A warm skin tone will complement well with warmer colours. A tomato red will always go well with a warm skin tone. A cooler skin tone will complement well with brighter colours. A ruby red or jewel-like colour will always go well with a cool skin tone. If you have a neutral skin tone then you can wear any colour you want. Any shade of red will go well with a neutral skin tone.
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Parties are often preceded by fun questions, like what to give? Who to bring (if you have a plus one, that is)? When to arrive? And, crucially, what to wear? Most of us don’t just happen to have a floor-length silk gown or a tailcoat hanging around in our closet, waiting for the day our Met Gala invite finally arrives. But would that even be the right kind of thing to wear to such an event? We’ve got answers, and options, for every possible occasion on your social calendar.
Why Do We Dress Up?
Social obligations are not prerequisites for feeling great about your appearance. You can dress up simply because looking good makes you happy. But more often than not, the situations where we put a lot of care into our outfits are big events with explicit dress codes. The best-case scenario is that we’re dressing for both reasons: because it boosts our self-esteem and because we want to look situationally appropriate.
Still, knowing what is appropriate can be a head-scratcher. The dress code might be implied, and even when it’s made explicit, the jargon can be difficult to decode. Which is why we spelled it out for you here.
If the invitation says…
- Casual: You do not need to dress up. Sneakers, jeans and T-shirts are all acceptable, and even encouraged.
- Dressy casual: You should dress up, but only a little. It’s often just a matter of wearing nicer shoes, a snazzier top or pants that aren’t blue jeans (though denim is fine with the right kind of shirt — more on that later).
- Business attire: You should dress as someone might for a client-facing job. Of course, there is plenty of variation within this category. It might mean a suit, a knee-length skirt, or a blazer and khaki bottoms. But it definitely means no jeans and no sneakers.
- Cocktail: You should dress much nicer than you do every day. Try separates in satin, silk or velvet. Suits. When in doubt, wear black.
- Black tie: You should wear a very elegant dress – say, a long gown or a cocktail dress that’s on the fancier side – or a tuxedo.
- White tie: You should look very fancy. Tailcoats, floor-length gowns and, potentially, white gloves are all on the table.
Now let’s get specific.
Jeans and a T-shirt: When the most casual of outfits is perfectly acceptable, you might as well go with it.
Khakis, modest shorts, day dresses and skirts
Anything cotton or linen: In the summertime especially, it’s more pleasant to wear breathable fabrics, and these can easily be dressed up or down.
Basically, you want to dress like any of the characters on your favorite sitcom routinely do: in comfortable clothing that is neither ostentatious nor schlubby.
Graphic T’s: Plain T-shirts are great, but ones with inflammatory words or images might be better left at home. The Emily Post Institute, whose mission is to educate people about etiquette, advises against shirts that bear slogans altogether.
Anything clearly ripped or stained: It’s a matter of self-respect more than anything, but it also shows respect for your host and fellow guests when you dress in clean clothes. Intentional distressing on denim is fine.
Uncomfortable clothing: This is always a don’t, but there’s no reason to dress outside your comfort zone when the dress code is casual. The idea is to come as you are.
Where Casual is Appropriate
- Friendly gatherings: BBQs, housewarming parties
- Informal dinner outings
Dress: A shirt dress or a sweater dress can appear refined and relaxed at once.
Blouse or button-down shirt: You can’t go wrong with a crisp, classic top. Add a blazer to dress the look up a notch or two.
Dark denim: Unfaded indigo or black jeans can make an outfit feel instantly more evening-appropriate.
“Going-out top”: These shirts – often constructed from synthetic materials and sometimes bought cheaply from fast-fashion stores – are meant to make a casual look a little more club-ready. Ultimately, a going-out top is anything that makes you feel good.
Jumpsuit: It’s a stylish one-piece alternative to the dress that can be scaled for elegance. Boiler suits in particular are very trendy this year.
Sneakers: unless they are very clean and not the type you would wear to the gym
Shorts: just don’t.
Where Dressy Casual is Appropriate
- A first date
- Most nights out with friends (unless the dress code is explicit).
If business casual: khakis or dark dress pants; a button-down shirt; sport coat or blazer; tie optional.
If business formal: dark suit, dress shirt and dress shoes; silk tie; sheath dress; pencil skirt. Think Kerry Washington on “Scandal,” or any of the esteemed actors on USA Network’s “Suits.”
Sneakers, not even nice ones: They will make you stand out in a bad way.
Jeans: Business attire is not the same as tech company work attire.
Clothing that distracts. Our fashion critic Vanessa Friedman says that “clothes should not be the focus of attention,” which means “they should not be what colleagues or friends remember after a meeting.”
Anything that makes you wonder, “Is this a bad idea?” If you’re thinking it before you leave the house, your thoughts will only get louder throughout the day.
When Business Attire is Appropriate
- Most workplaces and related events
- Networking mixers
- Job interviews
Dress: You’ll want to wear a dress that is made of a refined fabric (like silk, lace or taffeta) and cuts around the knee. It should be much more formal than a sundress, but less formal than a ballgown. Most department stores and online retailers have sections devoted to party dresses, and any of those should do.
Suit: Most people wear dark suits to occasions with this dress code, but if the event is a daytime party, a light suit (beige, gray) is totally fine.
Dressy separates: If you wear a very snazzy top (think sequins or silk), you can probably get away with dress pants (say, velvet) or a skirt on the bottom.
Jumpsuit: Everyone wears dresses. Why not do wear something that makes a statement?
Dress shoes, pumps
When in doubt, wear black.
Anything too short or tight (unless you love being physically uncomfortable for hours at an event).
Jeans: This is definitely not the time or place for America’s favorite pant.
Plain cotton anything.
When Cocktail/Semi Formal is Appropriate
- Some weddings
- Evening fundraisers
- Proms and other formal school events
Dress: Long gown or a very elegant cocktail dress: This can be elevated with jewelry and other accessories.
Pumps or strappy sandals
Black wingtips or oxfords
Remember how the characters on “Gossip Girl” dressed for special occasions? That’s the bar here.
It’s not a strict rule, but most people advise against bright colors for practical reasons: They’re harder to rewear and more difficult to clean.
Scuffed shoes: Even if they are dress shoes, you want them to be in tip-top condition.
When Black Tie is Appropriate
- Fancy weddings
Long white gloves: optional, and sort of extra, but isn’t that the point?
Looking like royalty is the ideal outcome.
An above-the-knee dress
Suit: Your business attire is dapper, but it’s not welcome here!
When White Tie is Appropriate
- A very, very fancy wedding, if explicitly stated on the invitation
- The Met Gala, or any fund-raiser of its caliber
Tips and Advice
How to Save Money
Dressing up, even once in a while, can easily become expensive. Anyone who is familiar with the marathon of weddings that begins in one’s 20s and never really ends knows that dressing up can feel like an expensive chore. You can’t really help it that you’re popular or that your friends are in love, but preparing for these celebrations and gatherings doesn’t have to break the bank.
- Shop smart: Knowing where to buy occasion wear is half the battle, and not everyone’s recommendations will fit your idea of what’s affordable. The easiest and least expensive option is to browse what online retailers like Lulus and Asos have to offer. There are also fairly affordable sustainable brands like Reformation whose garments may incur a smaller carbon footprint. Second-hand and consignment stores can also have gems from high-quality labels. If you can’t find any such stores locally, the RealReal and thredUP resell clothes from luxury and midpriced brands.
- Rent, don’t buy: Truly no one needs to own a ballgown. Companies like Rent the Runway (now offering an Unlimited subscription service) and Armarium let you pick from a trove of designer offerings, then return the wares after your special occasion is history.
- Rewear your look: It can be costly to buy a new outfit for every occasion on your social calendar. If you purchase pieces that are basic enough (the simple black cocktail dress, for example) you can wear them over and over again. Tiffany Haddish has done it on the red carpet, and we all stand to learn from her eco- and budget-friendly example.
- Ask a friend: Maybe you know someone who has a dress or a suit you can borrow. Think of it as a rental, but free! But make sure to offer to pay for their dry cleaning so that the loan is no imposition.
How to Make it Look Good
Speaking of which, clothing – especially dressy clothing – should not simply be worn. It often requires alterations or D.I.Y. hacks to look as good as possible. And, crucially, garments should be cared for, especially when they are costly or beloved. Here are some things to consider:
- Alterations: If you’ve purchased a piece that doesn’t fit quite like a glove, or you have a well-worn outfit that’s due for some fixes, you might want to visit a tailor or a dry cleaner who performs alterations ahead of your event. Before you just walk into the nearest shop, it’s worth asking friends for recommendations: Once the fabric is cut, it can’t really be restored. Wherever you go, make sure you drop off the garment at least three weeks before you’ll need to wear it.
- Shapewear: Let’s start by saying that everyone’s body is wonderful and nothing must be done to make it look good in a dress. But, if you would like your clothes to lay smooth and flat on your person, there are plenty of things you can buy. The folks at Spanx and Commando produce seamless undergarments that are virtually undetectable underneath even the slinkiest dresses.
- Tape: If after the alterations and shapewear, something about your outfit still feels precarious, there’s always good old tape. Kim Kardashian proudly uses it to secure her dresses and decolletage, and she says gaffer tape works best. There’s also fashion tape and toupee tape, which are really just two types of double-sided tape with fancy names.
- Ironing and steaming: Creases can put a wrinkle in anyone’s plans to look great, so before you go out, consider ironing or steaming your outfit and putting it on a hanger so that it retains its polished appearance. Our friends at Wirecutter recommend Maytag’s M400 iron for those who are in the market. Handheld steamers are a great investment, too, as they travel well and work like a charm.
- Cleaning and other garment care: It’s worth noting that your wares will get dirty. Our friend Alainna Lexie Beddie at T Magazine has solutions for all of the stains and scuffs your clothes and shoes are likely to incur given your busy social schedule.
How to Upgrade Any Look
Sometimes a dress code can feel rote – more like a uniform than an expression of personal style. This is especially true if you’ve built up a wardrobe of rewearable pieces and they’ve each made appearances at several occasions. Here are a few ways to make sure your outfit comes together and feels fresh:
- Accessories: By this point, you’ve picked the perfect outfit. You will look great no matter what. But if you have the time and means, consider the distinguishing details. Have you thought about jewelry? What tie you’ll wear? How you’ll carry your necessities? Whether you’ll need a coat, and which one to wear? These questions are best addressed at least a week prior to the event, so you have time to shop or borrow from a friend if needed. Or maybe the answer is in your closet. If you always sport a silk tie, for example, you could try that knit one you got as a gift but haven’t worn yet.
- Hair: Maybe you show up to work with wet hair every day. That’s O.K.! But you probably don’t want to do it on your best friend’s wedding day. Special occasions can present an opportunity for a haircut (at least a couple days in advance), or a hairdo (likely the day of). As long as your hair doesn’t appear visibly slept-on, greasy or otherwise unkempt, you’re doing fine.
- Nails: Again, none of this is obligatory, and you should only do it if it makes you feel happy. Does getting your nails done make you feel happy? Yes? Then do it! If not … maybe just cut them and make sure they’re clean.
Choosing a perfect red dress :
You will also want to choose the right cut to match your body type. If you are tall, choosing a longer dress is much more flattering. If you are short, you can probably pull off a short dress. A V-neck style is always flattering so you may want to choose that style as well. Choose a cut and style that will make you feel confident. Whatever dress feels most comfortable to you at the end of the day is the right one. Only you can truly decide what to wear and what you feel is best. It’s all up to you at the end of the day.
Accessorize yourself :
Don’t be afraid to accessorize and highlight any features to go along with the dress. White accessories match well with red; so maybe wear a white pearl necklace or wear a white scarf around the neck. Keep the makeup light and go for a more natural look. Wear lipstick. Pick a shade of red that will go well with the dress. Wearing a red dress is a bold look so you won’t need to highlight that many other features. Otherwise, it is too much. That’s why it’s recommended to keep the makeup to a minimum. Make sure your shoes match the same shade of red your dress is. If not, choose neutral colors like black or white.
Different occasions will call for different things so dress accordingly. You don’t treat a hot date and a formal engagement as one and the same. For a more proper event like homecoming, you definitely will want to ease up on the accessories and choose something really light. Try maybe just a belt or a bracelet to go with the dress; nothing too much that will draw attention. You manage to look nice while still feeling comfortable, the best of both worlds.
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At the end of the day, you bring out the best in what you wear so it is all up to you. Go for what you feel is right and be confident in whatever you wear. Everyone is beautiful in their own way; people will notice the effort and compliment you on your style. These tips can only help you bring your dream dress all together but ultimately the true decision rest on your shoulders.