If it's a dressy event that doesn't involve my family, I do all right on my own because it's more ok to be edgier/more RATE. Of course, my life is really casual, so dressy for my life isn't quite as dressy as for many of your lives.
When it comes to dressing up when family is involved, I have to be more toned down or ladylike. That causes me problems, because it gets hard to find a way to do that without feeling like a poser. Like, for my sister's wedding I desperately wanted to be situationally appropriate, yet I didn't want to buy something I knew I'd never wear again. I didn't want to buy some beautiful dress, because that's not authentic to my usual style--I don't wear dresses. All that? Makes me extra glad I had Angie and YLF to help me for the wedding

I usually struggle with what toppers and outerwear to wear over a dressier outfit. Also, I just can’t wear higher heels anymore but often feel that a lower heel or flat makes the outfit less dressy.

I need to attend semi-regular formal events related to my work (creative field) or my husband’s work (very stodgy). Maybe 4 times a year. I really struggle to look formal, festive, yet work-appropriate. The “capsule of separates” is my ideal, and I try to buy things that have interesting evening-style finishes/textures, but somehow it still just looks boring and business-y.

For example, here’s a photo of me at the wedding of a former student (ignore the fact that I look like a tiny hobbit despite the 4-inch heels). Lace joggers, patent peeptoes, lacy sheer shirt, tux blazer, chunky pearls, beaded purse. Sounds good right? But I look like I could be heading to a meeting. What am I doing wrong?

Jessi- I think you are being hard on yourself and look great here. My only thought is that from the photo the jacket looks a bit more corporate than special event, but overall I like this look a lot.

Dressy and work never go together in my world. My only semi-dressy events are the occasional wedding of a family member in the United States. But I love seeing Gryffin's capsule and Jessikams picture. I would definitely want a suit and lace top in my formal wear capsule if I ever needed one.

For me, the biggest problem are shoes in cold and/or wet weather, and toppers. Please, tell me, what do you wear when the weather is bad but you can't switch your shoes before the event? Or when it snows? I also have very fussy feet, so there is that. And toppers, oh my.

Adela, the footwear in bad weather is SUCH a challenge. I admit that sometimes I just wear a dark practical boot and figure nobody will look under the table...

I rarely go to dressy events. The last one was my stepson's wedding which was over two years ago. I do have a special occasion capsule that works fairly well except for footwear. I have evening clutches, jewellery, faux fur coat and all the right lingerie. But I do not have footwear that works for my poor feet.
So-called sitting shoes do not work for me because even putting them on is torture. I can wear Birks, Finn Comfort and El Naturalista Chelsea Boots. That is about it.
Probably I will need to redo my outfit and wear pants so my shoes are not on display. I will deal with that when the invitation is issued.

Jessikams, it’s a super outfit and I don’t think it looks corporate - the bag is tucked away, may be by bringing it to the front it would have made a better photo but it looks perfect!

I only need very dressy for work at the moment and I could probably do with a smart LBD.

I’ve two go to outfits. A MK flowery dress, except it feels very busy when I wear it. And then my favourite ever smart work evening dinner outfit is the Jakarta wedding lace top with a navy sheath wolford dress.

I’ve been slightly attracted towards a Vivienne Westwood dress but Im still thinking...

I do not want to invest anymore in expensive, "precious" clothes that then I wear very rarely. I had this experience with a beautiful Summer dress. I had only 3 dressy occasions to wear it, then I tried to amortize the cost wearing it at the workplace. Many compliments, but I felt off. I think I need to find something simple that can be "taken up" easily when needed.

I am attending two events this month for work - one is cocktail dress code for the ballet, the other is dress up and look smart for dinner at an Art Gallery at a work conference.

I have a number of cocktail dresses. Whilst I do attend black tie events about 2 times a year, I wear cocktail dresses rather than ball gowns because I prefer the look of my cocktail dresses. I am OK with being a bit more casual than most, although that is yet to happen, I usually feel great in my cocktail dresses. I really love dress #1 with the velvet coat - this is going to be my go-to look for balls as it is the longest and most elegant of my dresses.

Dress #1 with velvet coat will be worn for the ballet. My shoes are pearl tie black suede pumps. I don't do stiletto shoes, these are as elegant as I get because I just do not find more refined heels comfortable. I think my footwear dictates the dresses that I am happy to wear to balls.

For the art gallery event, I don't need to be so dressed up, so I will wear a seuqinned cocktail dress with boots and a leather moto jacket.

I actually love attending formal events but it does require me to have a number of less worn dresses in my wardrobe, so I can see that for some that is money that they would prefer to not to have to spend. For me it is part of my working wardrobe... a rather special and nice part too.

Has anyone tried Rent the Runway? My sister uses it occasionally for dressier than usual events. She actually has stuff she could wear, but lately she thinks it's more fun to wear a new dress for events. She's had good luck with it.

Jane ,you look stunning in that #1 dress!I d love a Vivienne Westwood dress as well but would have no occasion to wear it,a bit much for Tesco s on a Wednesday morning?
Bijou,now you are making me jealous!What a stunning green coat .

Bijou, love your kick-@$$ look for the gallery, and that velvet coat is tdf. My cousin’s husband is an accountant; for years one of their work functions was the academy awards. Excuse me, I mean The Academy awards, with “the envelop, please”. You guys made up the “boring” reputation to keep it a secret how cool your lives are, lol.

Sisi, a simple sheath?

Fashintern, in fact : a simple, pretty dress in the right color-fabric-shape is one of my HEWIs!

I have identified a need for dressy/festive casual. This is a need mainly in my own head, but I do like to make an effort, even if no one else cares or notices, it makes the holiday more special for me. A cute top and jeans are as dressy as my typical family holiday events are, and my one holiday work event barely registers as an event to dress for beyond typical work wear. Last year, I got these two tops from Anthro, and the black lace one especially has been a workhorse, I wore it all summer.

For this year, I have this Boden top on order. (How long does it typically take to get a Boden order in from the UK? This is my first, and I'm vibrating with impatience, lol.) Fingers crossed.


Oh my word, this thread has exploded. LOTS of queries

Nemosmom, if you provide links to the outfit, we can suggest how to complete it with clutch, jewellery, hosiery, or whatever else you're usure of.

Gryffin, Joy, Bijou, Jane and RunCarla, your occasion capsules are inspiring. NICELY DONE.

Adela, Blondo or Aquataila make dressier weatherproof footwear. Also, if you are driving to an event - your footwear will be fine. It's when you're commuting on foot that's it's a challenge.

Sara L, renting occasion wear is one way to go. Not ideal because you can't alter the items, and some of the items look shabby (too much wear and cleaning).

Anchie, sounds like you have some wardrobe holes. See my comment to Kelly and kkards too. You have casual, ball gown and corporate - but perhaps not enough dressy in-between.

Gretchen, so you have too many occasion dresses, but find it hard to complete the outfit? Is that right?

Rachy, YES. Two pairs of hose FTW.

Sal, warm weather helps a GREAT DEAL, and you’re bang on the money with the dressy details that make the difference.

Gigi, NICE and thanks for the tips. I love my thermal long undies too.

Helena, you are a classic. Invest in a few better pieces and call it a day because you shan’t tire of them. NO GREY!

Cardiff Girl, your’re a dressy pant suit gal. Invest in items like that across a few seasons and call it a day. I bet you would wear them for a long time.

Unfrumped, for the right footwear, if you look long and hard enough during the year, you’ll find what you want. As for staying warm - I have some solutions further up in the comments. It’s VERY important, and I get it!

Cindy, you hit all the right notes for the wedding, and couldn’t have looked more sensational and true to your style.

Lynette, first of all - no sleeveless! Then you won’t have the topper problem. As for high heels, there is no need to wear them at all. Ever. I am very dressy, and never wear high heels. I wear dressy 1.5 inch heels. Trust me

Jessikams, I’m pretty sure we an could come up with some arty, fun and less corporate looks for your formal wear capsule. It’s all in the support acts and the juxtaposition of the items. Ball grown and biker. Tulle and tee. Sparkle and distressing. Start a separate thread.

Sisi, a simple blue sheath perhaps? And you can have it altered to fit.

KikiG, about 7 working days. Nice tops.

Lol! Angie, I tried wearing one on my gray 'saves' the other day and ... I quickly saw that it wasn't my best and changed. I looked very drained. I'm well and fully sold, I promise! xx

Angie, thank you for commenting. I do have a pretty blue dress (not a sheath). It is made of thin wool with short sleeves made of tulle, to give you an idea. Good for Autumn, Winter and Spring. And guess what? The first dressy occasion of 2018 occurred in June (cousin's wedding). Too hot for a thin wool dress!

Jane, you look gorgeous!

Angie I think that you are right ,dressy pant suits or at least dressy trousers are probably my best bet.Thank you for taking the trouble to comment.

Bijou and Jane - what gorgeous individual pieces you have shown!!

Stylefan - such a challenge with feet issues. My Mum has been very limited by shoes for a number of years. In the end she just wore what she could and dressed up the rest of her. I could see you in bronze or pewter boots or birkenstocks - that could be a possibility for dressy occasions in one of your go to brands?

Jessikams - you do NOT look like a hobbit!

Bijou - that velvet coat is AMAZING. What brand is it??

Style Fan, I have tremendous empathy for footwear discomfort. How about full length wide pants with a tailored top and patent black or bronze shoes?

Cardiff girl, I look forward to seeing what you come up with.

Sisi, so you need a FEW seasonal dresses

Helena, there you go

Jaime, your warm weather makes outfit dressing soooo much easier. Lucky fish.

FashIntern, I like to mix and match my formal wear with denim to get more wear out of the items. Formal dresses with denim jackets and formal tops with jeans.

Velvet flowy trousers with wool socks and Chelsea boots are great for cold venues. Just add dressy topper of choice. I'm wearing pewter flats in the pic below, but I've worn them with boots as well. Topper is silky embroidered bomber with blush lace tank top under.

I think it wise to buy something new to wear with your special occasion capsule. Yo do not have to stRt from scratch that way but can modernize a bit by adding trendy shoes or jacket or jewelry.
Problem events for me are those that are festive and want you to dress in a theme, like Roaring Twenties Christmas party or Hulaween (Scarey Hawaiian)

Hulaween sounds like a riot. I think I’d be Patrick or another resident of Bikini Bottom (where Spongebob lives), carrying a bloody fake dagger. Or the dagger would stick out of me somewhere.

LOL. Fashintern. I have never seen SpongeBob, but DS1's girlfriend is a fan.

This thread is good stuff. I am planning to do a separate thread later: outfit lab holiday capsule.