How to Put Together the Perfect Formal Outfit: 6 Steps

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For some people, the idea of attending a formal event and having to don a more formal outfit can be intimidating, especially if you’re not used to extravagant events and have spent too long in your joggers. Putting together a formal outfit doesn’t have to be expensive or time-consuming, as it’s often the simplest accessories or style choices that can improve an outfit.

Step 1: Decide Your Main Focus

A good place to start is deciding what you definitely want as part of your outfit. Some people don’t feel complete without a certain accessory — or maybe you need many accessories — and others may want a particular pair of formal shoes no matter what. Choosing what is non-negotiable to you will help you work the rest of the outfit around it. If you are a fan of many different accessories, for example, you can then choose a more toned-down clothing item, so the accessories work to make it more formal.

Step 2: Pick Something Comfortable

Formal doesn’t mean that you have to wear something completely out of your comfort zone or something which looks fantastic but feels uncomfortable. Confidence in formalwear and at formal occasions comes from feeling completely comfortable, so choose what that means to you. If you prefer looser trousers over a tight dress, for example, you can make trousers and a top more formal through material, colors, and accessories.

Step 3: Choose Some Accessories

A simple black dress can become infinitely more formal when paired with a statement necklace or earrings. Accessories do have the power to make outfits look and feel more formal, and even minimalist accessories add something extra. So if you have an outfit you think you’d like to wear for a formal event, but it feels a little plain, try accessories before shopping for new clothing items.

Step 4: Don’t Forget About Scent

Another key accessory for formalwear can be your perfume or cologne. A formal outfit can often feel incomplete without a scent boost, and you may even have one you reserve only for formal occasions, which makes you feel more confident. So if you don’t have a perfume or cologne at the ready, try 4711 cologne or any other fragrance you can depend on to last all night.

Step 5: Use Hair and Makeup as Part of Your Outfit

A formal look isn’t just about the clothes or accessories you wear. Hair and makeup that is done more extravagantly can transform your whole look, and more styled hair and makeup can be perfect for plainer outfits if you’d like to bring out a more formal style.

It can also be a good idea to choose hair and makeup you would never choose for your everyday look. Not only can this help you to feel more dressed up than usual, but it can also offer a completely new look for an occasion.

Step 6: Choose Black if In Doubt

Black is a color that suits any occasion, but it’s one that works particularly well for formal wear. Black works with any item of clothing, so it’s a good choice if you’re unsure which outfit to choose.


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Written by Lola McQuenzie

Lola is one of our busiest writer. She has worked for Catwalk Yourself since 2007. Lola started working with us after she graduating from Central St Martins

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