The 5 Most Important Things to Consider When Buying a Formal Dress

What's that, you say? There's a special event coming up on your social calendar and you need to find the best formal dress for the occasion? Well, you're in luck! Not only does Saved by the Dress have a breathtaking selection of formal frocks to turn heads, but we also have a list of can't-miss tips to help you buy a formal dress that will send shock waves through the crowd. With our help, you'll be red carpet ready in time for the main event. We're going to make sure that you qualify for all the best-dressed lists.

Carefully Consider Your Color Choices

woman in a backless burgundy dress

The best formal dress flatters you from top to bottom. That counts for color, as well. A racy red dress may look sensational on the rack, but that doesn't mean it will hold its appeal when you shimmy into it. Before you begin shopping for your dress, you need to know which colors and palettes compliment your skin tone. Specifically, you need to identify the undertones of your skin. Peek at the veins nestled in your wrist. Do they appear blue or are they closer to green? If they look blue, then you have a cool skin tone. Greenish veins indicate a warm complexion. From there, you should go a step further to figure out whether you're a spring, summer, fall, or winter.

Once you know which hues look best on you, you can shop for a fabulous dress. Play around with patterns for an extra kick. Prints allow you to wear colors that you might not normally, because the focus isn't on a single hue. Just because a ruby red dress isn’t perfect with your skin tone, doesn't mean all reds are off-limits. Consider a burgundy dress, for example, or a shade of red that veers toward orange or violet.

Pay Attention to the Silhouette

Choosing the right silhouette when you buy a formal dress is even more important than selecting a color that makes you blossom. A-line dresses are generally flattering on a universal level. If you want to hide your tummy, check out dresses with an empire waist. A retro-style trapeze dress will show off your legs and draw attention away from problematic areas.

It may help to try on different dresses anytime you're at a boutique or clothing store. You don't have to buy them, and you can perform this trick well ahead of any special events. The main idea is to find out what looks best on you. Knowing that the mermaid silhouette is a no-go but a halter dress is a yes is helpful. You can then shop online confidently.

Think About the Event

woman standing in a black lace dress

What type of event are you attending? You have to choose the best formal dress for the occasion, not just in general. Certain dresses aren't right for some occasions. You don't necessarily want to wear a tightly fitted sheath dress to the office Christmas party. Similarly, a floral dress isn't right for a classy evening event. Pay attention to any information about the dress code on the invitation. If all else fails, then you can always ask the hosts for clarification before you buy anything.

For the sake of versatility, it doesn't hurt to have a few classic dresses standing by in your wardrobe. A little black dress is perfect for a variety of occasions, for example. It's also something that you can transform with an assortment of different accessories and shoes. A semi-formal floral frock is a solid option, too. It's ideal for daytime events that aren't quite black tie.

Know Your Size

It's impossible to buy a formal dress when you're just guessing at your size. It's all too easy to end up with a dress that doesn't fit properly. A dress that fits too tightly and won't fasten will betray an improper fit.  A dress that's too large is just as unflattering.

Ask a friend or loved one for help, or ask for assistance at a local boutique. You need to get precise measurements of your body, including your inseam. Understanding the size of your bust, hips, and waist in relation to your dress size will help you to avoid buying pieces that bag around the breasts or constrict your thighs.

Understand Your Body Shape

a young woman wears a white lace dress

Along with knowing the color, size, and style you should be looking for, you also need to understand the shape of your body. There are five common body shapes: apple, hourglass, pear, rectangular, and strawberry.

Apple-shaped bodies are rounded, so their waistlines aren't sharply defined. You may want to opt for shorter dresses that show off your legs. The A-line silhouette will work for you, as will belted or sashed dresses.

An hourglass figure has been a sought-after shape through the ages. It's characterized by a slim waist and swelling hips that are typically the same width as the shoulders. The world is your oyster as it applies to fashion, allowing you to buy a formal dress in any style you like.

If your body is pear-shaped, then you probably have a smaller chest size. Larger sleeves can balance out your upper half. Empire waists are to-die-for on you, as are A-line pieces.

The strawberry body shape features broad backs and wide shoulders that taper into slim hips and slender legs. Full skirts, fluted silhouettes, and daring necklines are your best friends.

With a rectangular shape, you need to show off your shoulders and cinch your waist. Find a dress that creates the illusion of curves. Then again, you can play up your shape with a sheath.

Discover the best formal dress for any occasion at Saved by the Dress. What's your signature style?

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