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6 Guidelines for Special Occasion Dressing


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It was 1969, but I still remember every detail…how I felt in a crisp, newly purchased outfit; how my heart raced while waiting to see the sandy haired, 18-year-old (my current crush); and how grown up it all seemed. This was my 16th birthday party and a significant night in my young life.  For every important moment, I can remember what I wore.  Not all of them are good memories, but, nevertheless, notable. After all, that is how we learn what to wear in the future.  As women, how we dress for special occasions, so often affects how much we enjoy those events.  Take out the self- conscious feelings and we can focus on enjoying others.

6 Guidelines for Special Occasion Dressing

6 Guidelines for Special Occasion Dressing

Springtime often blooms a full calendar as well as flowers…graduations, weddings, showers, luncheons, garden parties, and more.  If we carefully select garments, and really place some thought into these moments, our confidence levels can soar.  I also enjoy myself more at events where I feel confident and strong about my own appearance.  Here are a few guidelines for planning these special times:

  1. WRAP DRESSES… These are universally flattering and will enhance any figure.  A small print or solid color are the best ways to go. You rarely can go wrong with a properly fit, black wrap dress.  For fabric selection, make sure to take into account whether your event is outside or inside and how warm the climate may be.
  2. LENGTH OF SKIRT OR DRESS… Lengths which hit right at or just below your knee are more flattering to your figure than a full length skirt or a short skirt. Be careful about the full, to the floor length.   These can be aging and have the opposite message of what you are going for.  Often midlife women believe it is youthful to rock a short skirt…again, it could have the opposite effect.  Of course, a petite woman would want to keep the length right above the knee.  Mirrors are your friends, ladies.
  3. KEEP IT SIMPLE… Less is more with special occasion dress. Keep your accessories to a minimum. Only one statement piece. Stud or smaller earrings are often more elegant than the larger ones.   Handbags should be small and easy to navigate around crowds and tables.  A shawl can be a stunning statement piece for a neutral, sleeveless dress.  Understated elegance will usually serve a woman well every time.
  4. SELECT SHOES CAREFULLY… I have observed so many women and also been one, who wore fabulous heels to an event and spent the whole night in bare feet! Experience teaches me, to go with a beautiful flat or wedge, and stay in my shoes…plus enjoy myself more.
  5. SHOP WITH SUCCESS IN MIND…So many women go shopping with negative mind sets and believe me, you often will go home with nothing or with something less than the best. Go shopping with an attitude of success. Be determined to leave with a look you feel completely amazing in.  It often does take time, so allow for it!
  6. NEUTRALS ARE NOT BORING…In fact going neutral can be quite chic and stunning. But if you are an Iris Apfel, then go for it and have fun! Just make sure that is the best, confident you.

I hope some of these lessons learned will help with special event dressing. I want all of those times to be wonderful memories for each of us and not ones we cringe over and wonder, “What was I thinking when I wore that?”

Would anyone else like to make suggestions?  Please join in our conversation and thank you for stopping by the Joy Boutique!


Pamela Lutrell

Pamela Lutrell began her blog, over50feeling40, July 2010 with a desire to encourage women over 50 to walk in strength, confidence and joy. Of course, head turning style makes each day fun!

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Leisa A. Hammett

Tuesday 28th of April 2015

Great article. I love what you are about and what you are doing, Pamela. (I was a BAM attendee.)

Carol Cassara

Tuesday 28th of April 2015

I love statement necklaces and really need to buy one!

Anne @MidlifeBlvd

Tuesday 28th of April 2015

Wrap dresses for life! They are my favorite thing to pack because they pack well, don't wrinkle, and are universally flattering.

The Cubicle Chick

Tuesday 28th of April 2015

Wrap dresses are my friend. Not only are the figure flattering, but when traveling, you just roll them up in your luggage and voila! Great tips, Pam :-)


Tuesday 28th of April 2015

Great tips Pam! I love the look of the coral wrap dress with the neutral shoes and clutch. I would wear that in a heartbeat and it would work for so many occasions!

I too remember how it felt to get dressed up for special dates as a teenager,! I ofen sewed a new dress, and I always saved up my babysitting money for new makeup and nail polish! I love those memories!!

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