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Cheap Evening Dresses
TYPES OF DRESSES FOR EVERY WOMAN
1. Midi Dress
Sitting between a maxi and a mini dress, the midi is what everyone needs for the times when you’re unsure of the formality of an event. This style can have any neckline or sleeve length, so it’s great for any body shape. Pull-on tights and ankle boots for a perfect winter look, or grab a pair of flats and a cute straw hat and have a stylish picnic!
2. Off the Shoulder
Take the plunge and keep your shoulders exposed in an off-the-shoulder dress. These dresses showcase your shoulders, while maintaining a sleeve or ruffle on the bicep. The off-shoulder style is great for those who want to exhibit their shoulders and arms but don’t want the commitment of a strapless look.
3. Shift Dress
The shift dress was a massive trend in the early 1960s and has a simple, boxy shape. It is a short and typically sleeveless dress that hangs from the shoulders. It’s ideal for those who have a lean, column-esque body shape, as they appear straight. You can style this dress with a mid-length duster jacket and a pair of slingback heels or even knee-high boots, to give it that real ‘60s flair! This shape is the ideal blank canvas for color blocking or print detail.
4. Bodycon Dress
The bodycon is a tight-fitting dress that hugs your figure and accentuates your assets. They’re often made of stretchy material and are perfect for a night out on the town. This dress is ideal for those with an hourglass figure, as it flatters the beautiful curves!
5. A-Line Dress
An A-line dress fits at the hips and gradually flares out towards the hem, which makes the dress look like an “A” shape. It is perfect for a casual setting, and you can dress it up or down with ease. This style is best suited for pear-shaped bodies, as it shows off your lovely shoulders and adds a feminine touch to your lower half.
6. Mini Dress
The scandal broke loose in 1965 when model Jean Shrimpton wore a mini shift dress to the Melbourne Cup, showcasing her bare legs and hat-free head to the world. Nowadays, mini dresses are far more mini and far less scandalous, and they’re a great way to capture attention and showcase your pins! This dress is ideal for anyone who wants to put emphasis on their legs and make the world stop and turn! If you’ve got it, flaunt it!
7. Maxi Dress
Spend the day at the beach or by the pool in a relaxing in the effortless maxi dress. This style is suited best for a more casual setting; however, the fabric hits the floor (or at least your ankles), giving the impression that you’re dressed up. Make the perfect lazy outfit by adding sandals and long-hanging jewelry into the mix, and everyone will wish they were as stylish and comfy as you are!
8. Wrap Dress
The wrap dress features a front closure by wrapping one side of the dress across the other and tying the fabric at the waist or back. Often seen by the likes of Kate Middleton, this style has a classic silhouette that is perfect for athletic body shapes, as it creates the illusion of an hourglass figure, even if you don’t have one naturally.
9. Halter Dress
A halter dress is ideal for summer. Featuring a strapless or sleeveless upper half, with a tie around the neck. Some halter necks don’t have a bow but fabric secured around the neck. This style of dress is most flattering for those who wish to show off their ample shoulders.
10. High-Low Dress
A high-low dress is a form of asymmetrical dress. They are typically longer at the back, and shorter at the front. This shape works with casual dresses as well as the ballgowns. It is the perfect style for anyone who wants to show off their sexy pins, and they’re best paired with high heels or platforms, so the back of the dress doesn’t drag on the floor.
11. Sheath Dress
A sheath dress is form-fitting, it has a straight cut and is nipped at the waistline, with no visible seam. It sits at the knee or just above and is ideal for a business event or a night out. This dress style is perfect for those who want to put their gorgeous curves in the spotlight, as it flatters those with an hourglass figure.
12. Peplum Dress
For those who love a playful style, a peplum dress is perfect. The detail can be below the waist, under the bust, at the hips, or around the neck or shoulders. The fit and flare silhouette of the peplum shape has its origins from Greek antiquity. For a day to night look, you can swap flats for a pair of hot heels, adding height to your figure, making your legs look super long and your waist nipped in and tiny.
13. Sweater Dress
Keep it casual with a sweater dress! This dress is knitted, it can be form-fitting or loose, and it comes in different lengths. It is perfect for all body types as there are so many different silhouettes. You can pair it with thigh-high boots to keep your pins warm, or add a sneaker for a fresh casual look!
14. Pencil Dress
If you’re heading out somewhere and you’re trying to impress someone, the pencil dress is the one for you! Named after the pencil shape, a pencil dress is typically nipped in at the waist, with a hem that hits below the knee and has no frills or flounce. This silhouette is great for a little black dress or a go-to for a date night. You can switch things up a bit by opting for a plunging neckline or keep it fresh and sexy with a turtleneck.
15. Shirt Dress
Keep it cool and casual with a shirt dress. Defined as a loose-fitting dress, it features a shirt collar and a button-down front. This style comes in different lengths, and sometimes has a nipped in waist. The focal point of a shirt dress is the collar and button-down front. It’s super easy to dress up or down, grab some chunky ankle boots or sneakers and you’ll be ready for a night out or a night at the beach!
16. Slip Dress
Unleash your inner grunge girl with a slip dress. You would typically wear this style as an undergarment; it is usually satin, with a V-neck line, spaghetti straps, and lace. You can dress it up or down with a pair of barely-there heels or chunky boots. Keep it casual by pairing this dress with a basic T-shirt or a white shirt underneath, to give it that real ‘90s feel!
17. Smock Dress
A smock dress is a gorgeous go-to for anyone in a rush! Super comfy to wear, a smock dress is usually loose-fitting. It can have long sleeves or be strapless, so it’s super versatile. Dress it up or down with a leather jacket and cute ankle boots for a perfect transitional outfit!
Be the belle of the ball with a ballgown! It is a formal dress that hits the floor, it is perfect for a fancy event such as a black tie dress code premier or a ball. This style comes in many different forms, from a princess silhouette, with a prominent pouffy skirt, all the way to the mermaid silhouette. A ball gown is a dress to wear when you’re ready to make a real entrance, and wow the whole room!
19. Mermaid Silhouette Dress
A style of a ballgown, the mermaid silhouette is the perfect dress for a black tie occasion. As the name suggests, the mermaid dress is long and straight from the top all the way to the middle of the thigh or calf, where it flares out into a wide skirt, as a mermaid’s tail would. If you have an hourglass or pear-shaped figure, opt for the tight-fitting silhouette. For column-esque bodies, you can go for a profile that’s a bit looser on the waist and hips.
20. T-shirt Dress
The ultimate casual dress, the T-Shirt dress is the one that you can go for when you’re stepping out to brunch or the movies. Much like a regular T-shirt, the round neck and loose-fitting silhouette sit just above the knee. Of course, you can also find a T-shirt dress with a pencil skirt silhouette, but the focus is on the T-shirt neckline. This look is perfect for any body type, so get creative, as this dress is a real blank canvas for any season!
21. Tea Length Dress
This classic style has its modern origins from Edwardian times when fabric became lighter which made it popular to wear indoors, around friends, often while drinking tea. This silhouette has a full circle skirt that hits at the mid-calf. A vintage-inspired silhouette, a tea length dress is perfect for those who are on their way to a semi-formal event or wish to add some classical Hollywood drama into their outfit. Pair it with cute flats or classic low heel pumps for a full Audrey-inspired get up.
22. Cocktail Dress
As the name suggests, a cocktail dress is a choice for a schmaltzy party or drinks at the bar. A cocktail dress is a blend of formal and casual, it hits just at the knee and is perfect for cocktail dress code events. This is a versatile dress, with different necklines and silhouettes, so you can find the ideal dress to suit you.
23. Denim Dress
When you’re not in the mood to squeeze into your jeans, slip on a cute denim dress! Just as the name suggests: this type of dress is made of denim. They come in a wide range of styles, with long sleeves and a button-down front, or a pinafore with pockets. This casual-cool style is effortless, chic, and suitable for many occasions.
24. Pinafore Dress
A pinafore dress is a collarless, strapless dress with medium-sized straps on the shoulder. You can wear it with a shirt or a turtleneck underneath. This cute little dress is a great way to showcase your figure without having to squeeze into something too tight!
25. Bardot Dress
Named after the blonde bombshell, Bridgette Bardot, this dress radiates decadence and sophistication. With an off-the-shoulder motif, these dresses are complete with a sleeve that sits just below the shoulders, giving you the impression that you’ve slipped the sleeves off just a little!
26. Tube Dress
If you’re ready to make an entrance while making an impact, show off your assets in a tube dress! Tight, form-fitting, and strapless. This dress is the ideal style for summer nights when you want to look sexy and seductive, without compromising on keeping yourself cool. This dress is great for all body types, as the figure-hugging silhouette amplifies your best features!
27. Qipao Dress
This traditional Chinese dress dates all the way back to the 17th century during the Manchu rule. Stunning in design, the Qipao features a high neck and a straight skirt. Traditionally made of silk, they are complete with delicate embroidery. The modern Qipao became popular in the West in the 1920s, and features a high slit on one or both legs, with a variety of different sleeve types. This dress is a stunning glimpse into the intricate and awe-inspiring Chinese culture.
28. Long Sleeve Dress
For those chilly winter nights, opt for a dress with long sleeves. This style is not only a smart choice for freezing nights, but they’re also incredibly sexy and alluring. Long-sleeved dresses come in a range of different silhouettes, so no matter what style you’re after, whether it be a bodycon, ballgown or a midi dress, there is something perfect for you! These dresses are ideal for those who wish to keep their arms covered.
29. Bell-Sleeve Dress
A bell-sleeve dress identifies itself with the sleeve ending at the mid-forearm or wrist, with a flare flowing down towards your hands. The sleeve is shaped like a bell, hence the name. These dresses come in different silhouettes, but the focal point is the sleeves.
30. Strapless Dress
Show off those gorgeous shoulders with the help of a strapless dress. The first modern strapless dress is said to have originated in the 1930s by designer, Mainbocher. As the name suggests, this style has no sleeves or straps, and it sits just above the bust, relying on your body’s contour to keep up. If you don’t feel like showing skin, you can always rock these dresses with a T-shirt underneath or a skivvy.
31. Blazer Dress
The blazer dress is the perfect ensemble to wear when you need to talk business, but have fun at the same time! These dresses look like a blazer, but they are worn as a dress. The style is typically double-breasted, giving the appearance that you’re wearing a men’s blazer. It’s versatile and perfect for any season, so rock it with low rise sneakers of a pair of ankle boots.
32. Empire Waist Dress
The empire waist dates all the way back to the 18th century. The dress gathers under the bust at the slimmest part of the torso, creating a flattering effect. If you’re smaller on the top part of your body, this dress will pinch the top of your abdomen and flare at the bottom. It’s perfect for petite girls, as it elongates bottom half giving the appearance of wickedly long legs.
33. Sun Dress
Catch those rays and wow everyone in a sundress. This garment is best worn in the warmer months, as it’s loose-fitting with spaghetti straps and a wide neckline. These dresses are often tighter around the waist and have a fuller skirt. Sundresses are soft, light, and feminine, best seen in a stunning floral pattern or pastel color.
34. Kimono Dress
This traditional Japanese gown dates over a thousand years ago when the word “kimono” meant a piece of clothing. Now, the kimono is one of the most widely recognized garments, characterized by its long sleeves and a wraparound closure. While the traditional kimono is still prevalent today, the modern kimono dress can have a slit in one leg, wraparound design and long sleeves.
35. One Shoulder Dress
Whether you’re indecisive or it’s just cold outside, you can always opt for a one-shouldered dress! A one-shoulder dress is a form of asymmetrical dress, characterized by the single shoulder. Choose from a full-length sleeve or one strap; however, you wish to wear it, you’ll make a statement. The asymmetry of the garment will attract attention for all the right reasons; you’ll look stunning!
Best fabrics for making evening dresses
To help you with your mission to create your perfect red carpet dress, we have selected the 7 best fabrics to assist you in your mission. If you are confused by all of the different fabrics available, and are unsure of what the difference is between organza and chiffon, or Georgette and tulle, then we are here to help.
Different fabrics suit different silhouettes and cuts. Remember to consider your fabric very carefully, to ensure that it is the right one for your perfect dress.
Velvet is a gorgeous choice for a red carpet worthy gown. The shine, the depth, the richness, the drama, all make this fabric perfect for a sexy, vampy, feminine dress. Some qualities we love about velvet include:
- A strong and beautiful sheen
- A soft and elegant drape
- A shimmering surface
- Very soft and textured to the touch
- Strong and durable
- Smooth and touchable
Velvet can be woven from silk or synthetic fibres. It has a short, dense pile and is most traditionally used for formal or evening wear, but the fashion industry has fallen in love with this rich fabric, and velvet fabric and clothing is becoming more and more popular.
Our choice – Marbled Velvet
Marbled Velvet is a contemporary take on a classic. This stylish and opulent fabric is soft and luxurious and has a unique pile, which goes in all directions. This creates a “marbled” effect, and allows the fabric to shift and change colours, depending on the light. If you are looking for a velvet with a difference, then try using Marbled Velvet to make your evening dress.
Chiffon is a beauty of a fabric, which is available in several different versions. It can be constructed from silk, cotton, rayon or synthetic fibres. It is a very fine and lightweight fabric, which gives a beautiful drape, making it an ideal choice for red carpet gowns. Some other unique chiffon characteristics include:
- A plain weave
- Made from loose and tightly twisted yarns
- Soft and supple
- Drapes and gathers well
- Fine and transparent
- Generally taut
Silk chiffon fabric is a popular choice for elegant and formal evening wear. Chiffon gets its unique handle from the twisted yarns in its construction. It is a mostly sheer fabric, which needs some practice to work with, thanks to its fine and thin nature. Nevertheless, it is worth it! Dresses made from chiffon look and feel so special and feminine; perfect for standing out at your next do!
Our choice – Paris Chiffon
Paris Chiffon is a soft and silky fabric, which is fine and light. Air passes through easily, making it ideal for formal summer dresses. This chiffon flows beautifully over the body and is slightly less see through than other traditionally transparent fabrics. Create a dress with a flowing skirt, to show off the pure beauty of this fabric.
This lovely fabric is traditionally made with silk, but, it can also be made from synthetic yarns, such as polyester. It is a distinctive fabric, which has characteristics unique to itself, some of these include:
- A crinkly, crepe like texture
- Feels slightly rough and dry
- A bouncy, flowing drape
- Constructed from highly twisted yarns
- Has a tight weave
- Strong and holds up well to wear
Georgette is always a popular choice when it comes to making gowns and evening dresses. It holds up well to embroidery and applications, such as beads and sequins, although these should be kept light and to a minimum, so they don’t pull the fabric out of shape. Thanks to its springy nature, you can have a lot of fun creating flowing, feminine dresses.
Our choice – Poly or Silk Georgette
You can opt for a stunning Poly Georgette or a 100% Real Silk Georgette at Contrado. The poly combines the sheer beauty of a silk Georgette, with the durability and strong colour reproduction of polyester. It is soft, dry and strong, with the lightweight and sheer qualities of the real silk version. The silk Georgette is airy and delicate, and has a wonderful gossamer appearance, thanks to the very thin threads used in its construction.
This woven, flowing fabric is always a popular choice, when it comes to elegant formal wear. With a tightly-woven construction, made from twisted fibres, crepe has a lot of wonderful properties, which makes it a favourite choice for dressmakers:
- A slightly creased/wrinkled appearance
- A grainy, textured surface
- Matte face
- Flexible with a 2-way stretch
- A graceful drape
Crepe is known for its crinkled, or pebbled texture. This effect gives the fabric a lot of character, and, combined with its soft handle and stunning drape, crepe is a much loved fabric in the fashion world. Crepe is also easy to shape and work with, so when it comes to making your own dress, crepe is a great fabric to get started with.
Our choice – French Crepe Light
A double knit, custom crepe, which is constructed from highly spun yarns, French Crepe Light will give your dress a breathtaking drape and finish. It has a soft and silky handle, and, despite being quite lightweight, it holds shape well and has body. We love French Crepe for dressmaking, because it has a good 2-way stretch, so it is flattering and forgiving.
Satin is one of the most popular choices when it comes to formal evening wear. And it isn’t difficult to see why! This chic and opulent fabric has a wonderfully shiny face, which adds depth, movement and drama. Some other notable characteristics of satin include:
- A sleek and glossy face
- Woven fabric with a very specific weave
- Can be made from silk, cotton, wool, and synthetics
- Typically has a dull back
- Highly lustrous
- Used for fashion, furnishings, bedding and upholstery
Characterised by the specific satin weave – 4 or more fill or weft yearns, floating over a warp yarn or vice versa, 4 warp yarns floating over a single weft yarn – satin is instantly recognisable thanks to its glossy face and matt back. The light reflects, due to the floating yarns, and this lustrous appearance makes it ideal for red carpet worthy gowns. The light will bounce off of the fabric, creating an eye-catching look.