How to Look Sensational for Special Evenings


sequin dress
Jessica Howard 3/4 Sleeve Sequin Sheath Dress from Dillard’s

This is the fourth in my series of dressing up for special events.  The first in the series was about how to use velvet in your evening outfits.  The second article was chock full of ideas on how to dress up your basic black dress.  The third was about how to dress up a basic outfit to make it stand out on casual evenings.

If you have an invitation to go out for a fancy evening, such as to a restaurant dinner, a play at the theater, a cocktail party, etc., here are some outfit ideas to inspire you.  Age doesn’t matter.  What matters is that you feel free to express you true self and wear what looks good on you.  You know what that is by now, especially if you are over 60.  😉

Alex Evenings 3-Pc. Metallic Lace Pantsuit from Macy’s

What to Wear Out to Dinner, the Theater, a Cocktail Party, Etc.:

Cocktail parties don’t require a cocktail dress.  There are tons of beautiful cocktail dresses, but modern times welcome free expression.  Try something more comfortable if you prefer, or a style of dressing that’s more you.  Wear a top with some special details and a skirt or tailored pants, plus heels or fancy flats.  If you’re going straight from work, you can dress up a sleek blazer and trousers at the end of the business day with a sparkly or bare top, evening heels, jewels and a clutch.  You can even wear dark jeans with a fancy top and stand-out heels if the party is at a casual venue.  Embellished jeans with a uniquely-styled top and killer heels could also work.

A little black dress or a slip dress always fits in to dressy events when you’re not sure what to wear.  They can be dressed up or down.  If you aren’t sure of the dress code, put on the extra bling; then you can take it off and put it in your purse if you see when you get there that others are not as dressed up.

maxi dress
Vince Bias Maxi Dress from Saks Fifth Avenue

A dinner suit doesn’t have to be a matching tuxedo set.  You can use just the tuxedo jacket with other pieces — just mix and match!

chicos tuxedo blazer
Tuxedo Blazer and pants from Talbots
  1. Easy evening dinner suit:  A tuxedo jacket + black trousers + a cream cashmere sweater or cream silk blouse.  Add black satin sandals + black satin ribbon bowed at waist + gold bangles & earrings.
  2. Easy evening dinner suit:  Black velvet jacket + navy blue sweater + navy velvet pants or skirt.  Add black satin sandals + gold jewelry.
  3. Big city theater or cocktails:  A tuxedo jacket + an evening camisole toned to the jacket color + black or toned pants or skirt.  Add satin heels + a matching bag + gold jewels.  You may also add a gold belt.
  4. Big city restaurant dinner, theater, movies/late supper date, etc.:  A faux fur coat over a a black cashmere sweater + brown tweed trousers. Add black satin sandals + a black satin belt or ribbon bowed at waist + gold jewelry.
  5. Cocktail Party:  A little black dress + sparkly heels + a pashmina.

    black cape dress
    Embroidered Cape Dress from Chico’s
  6. Cocktails:  A party dress + black velvet blazer.  Add black ankle boots with a heel + gold ethnic earrings.
  7. A sequined dress + metallic sandals.  Add stud earrings.  Make your makeup special.
  8. A black crew-neck sweater + black trousers.  Add bronze or black satin belt and sandals.  Also add earrings + a necklace in onyx if you have it, and a jewel-color shawl (like red or cobalt or emerald, for example).
  9. Cream sweater + cream trousers.  Add gold belt, gold sandals, gold & sparkle earrings.  Throw a soft wool shawl over one shoulder; a pale peach or similar color is good.  Perfect hair, makeup, hands and feet.A black sweater + a black jersey skirt.  Add gold at the waist and feet — Or tie a black satin ribbon bow at waist + black satin heels + sheer black stockings — Or tie a dark blue satin ribbon at waist + black satin shoes + sheer black stockings.  FOR FINISH, add a black velvet jacket or the pullover’s matching cardigan.

    Black Sweater and Jacquard Pants
  10. A black cashmere crew-neck + black velvet skirt.  Add black satin heels + a black satin & gold belt or black jeweled belt + lots of gold/rhinestone jewelry + a red shawl over your shoulder if cold.
  11. A black cashmere crew-neck + a long black embellished skirt.  Add black satin heels + black satin belt.  Throw a red shawl over your shoulder.
  12. A sparkly top + black leather pants.  Add high heels + a tailored blazer to leave on or take off.
  13. Black lacy camisole + black palazzo pants + a jewel-toned cardigan. 
  14. A velvet shirt + a black lacy camisole + a long black slinky skirt (may be sparkly). You may add a black satin ribbon bowed at waist.
velvet top & skirt
Velvet Top Skirt from Soft Surroundings

Was this helpful?  Do you like this series I am doing on evening outfit combinations?  Let me know in the comments below.  And if you’d have suggestions on other series I can cover, let me know what you’d like!  🙂

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