There is such a thing as an all occasions dress. Here are my 5 rules for choosing one.
Growing up with migrant parents who were concerned with little else than my grades, let’s just say sartorial etiquette was not on the curriculum. Yours truly circa 2001 was wearing jeans to the gym and had never known any shoe that was not a sneaker, which was worn with absolutely everything. But were these faux pas so absurd? In my mind, jeans were perfectly comfortable to work out in, and sneakers were a superior shoe, whichever way you look at it.
We are so often pressured by society’s little rules to buy single purpose one time wear clothing, destined only to be donated to charity years later. Occasion dresses are just such a repeat offender. I was so inspired by my insanely cool friend who got married in a thrifted wedding dress, and then cut the hem short to wear every day. According to the Beige Renegade brand of minimalism, a dress should be able to go the distance: slip on heels for that swanky party, swap for thongs for the beach, then pull on sneakers for a farmer’s market run. All occasions dresses do exist, and here are my 5 rules for choosing one.
1 The longer the better
The single most significant factor that determines the occasion appropriateness of a dress has got to be its length. Semi-formal events call for at least below the knees, and white tie requires a full length gown, so longer dresses will be your common denominator. Here, I’ve sought to strike a happy balance with this split maxi-dress from Fame and Partners. It’s long enough to pass the formal dress code, but the (not insensible) split will also fit in at semi-formal and casual occasions.
2 Keep it simple
A sure fire way to keep a dress occasion neutral is to choose a simple but elegant design. Opt for loose fitting or draped styles rather than bodycon, and steer clear of frills like ruffles, ruching and embellishments.
3 Go matte
Shininess and bling will instantly give a dress a decidedly ‘evening’ vibe, so choose a matte fabric rather than glossy. As a rule, silk and satin are on the formal side of the scale, but then again I myself love a satin singlet dress to style down for every day. Therefore this rule and number 2 should be considered at the same time.
4 One statement feature
Your all occasions dress should be simple, but still make a statement for formal occasions. Choose one with one statement feature which won’t be out of place for daywear. Think distinctive neck, sleeve and back designs, like the crisscrossing straps on my Fame and Partner’s dress.
5 Not to dull and not too vivid
Certain colours are obvious choices for evening wear, such as gold, black and ruby red. However, these will limit your options for day wear. The converse will be apply for decidedly casual colours like grey and khaki. Patterns and prints are also generally confined to the casual realm. As a loose rule, a colour that is not too vivid or too dull will generally go the distance for all occasions. I love the shades in the blue and red family, like burgundy, navy and plum, and pretty much every tint or pastel colour.
Shop the full range of dresses for all occasions at Fame and Partners.