Wear a warm formal dress.
If you’re on the hunt for a formal dress that isn’t sleeveless and only comes in white, then look no further than your laptop. There are several dress brands that make warm formal dresses in a variety of styles, fabrics, lengths and colors. The best part? You don’t have to leave your house to find them! Some of my favorite sites include Show Me Your MuMu, Needle & Thread, BHLDN and ASOS. These retailers cater to bridesmaids and prom-goers alike—which means you can find every length and cut imaginable.
Whether you need long-sleeved or short, velvet or sequins—there are an abundance of options available for women in all shapes and sizes. And if you’re looking for color inspiration, check out Show Me Your MuMu’s latest collection.
Wear a mid-length formal dress.
Though a full-length dress is the most formal option, and therefore the best choice for a black-tie event, you should consider wearing one that hits mid-calf instead. A winter white carpet of snow has zero regard for the hemline of your ball gown, and why spend hundreds of dollars on a dress you want to preserve when the ground outside will rip it to shreds?
Another perk of the midi dress: they can be worn with an array of footwear. If you’re going to a more casual event in boots, then this style is perfect. If you’re dressing up in heels, though, don’t worry—midis also look great with pumps. Midi dresses also often come in more fun fabrics than their floor-length counterparts (think velvet or brocade), which makes them ideal for holiday parties.
Wear your fur coat (or faux fur coat)
While fur has understandably fallen out of favor in recent years, there are plenty of options for those who don’t value the lives of animals above their own comfort. The faux fur coat is a great choice! Or, if you prefer to be honest about the fact that you wear dead animal skin to stay warm, go for the real thing. Which is better? It depends on what matters most to you.
- Faux fur: it’s vegan and not as expensive as real fur coats!
- Real fur: it’s warmer, will last longer than faux fur, and can be passed on to your children.
Buy a matching faux fur wrap.
Formal wear can be so restricting. If you’re not careful, you’ll find your dress or suit has been tailored to the point of being ridiculous. Misshapen in a way that makes your shoulders look too broad and your waist too narrow, it’s no wonder that most people who are forced to put on formal wear end up feeling uncomfortable and self-conscious in their own clothing.
Thankfully there is a solution: Buy a matching faux fur wrap! It doesn’t matter if you have turtleneck sweaters and thick socks underneath—once you put on this wrap, all the attention will be drawn to the beautiful fabric draped around your body, instead of your poor proportions! Plus, they come in all different styles and colors so it really is easy to find one that suits whatever outfit you happen to be wearing at the moment.
Use a broach to fasten a sheer wrap or scarf around your shoulders.
If you’re a fan of formal wear, you may be concerned about keeping warm in the winter. After all, many formal clothes are not quite as good at keeping out the cold air as your average winter coat. However, with a little creativity, you can dress warmly while staying elegant and stylish.
One of the easiest ways to do this is to use a broach to fasten a sheer wrap or scarf around your shoulders. You can find sheer wraps and scarves online or in any department store. Attach them using a broach that matches your other jewelry. You can also simply wear the scarf around your neck for warmth without attaching it with a broach first if desired.
Buy yourself a poncho or blanket wrap.
- Buy yourself a poncho or blanket wrap. A poncho, shawl, or other blanket-like coverup will be your best friend when the weather starts to get cold and you still need to look nice. Make sure it is large enough so that you can really wrap it around your shoulders, or buy one that’s oversized, like a scarf.
- You can wear a poncho over a dress for a fancy occasion. If you have an event on the calendar but don’t want to worry about how much skin you’re showing between your coat and dress hemline, invest in something warm and chic that will also add style points to your outfit. There are also plenty of lightweight knit shawls out there if you really want something subtle but cozy under your coat.
Rent a cape or cloak from a formal wear shop.
If you are attending a holiday party or other formal event in the winter, why not really stand out from the crowd by wearing a cape or cloak? You can rent one from a formal wear shop. It will allow you to add extra warmth over a dress, suit or tuxedo and will keep your hands free.
Buy or rent an evening jacket.
You might already have a suit or tuxedo, but most people don’t have an evening jacket. Since you can’t wear your regular suit jacket with a fancy gown, you’ll need to find some alternatives. There are many types of evening jackets and coats that you can wear over your normal formal wear while staying warm.
One option is to look for a dressy coat in the style of a parka, peacoat or other heavy winter coat. Some styles of these coats are very similar to what you would wear on an everyday basis, but just come in warmer materials like wool or leather. For example, a wool peacoat is still acceptable for most formal events when it’s cold out because it’s less casual than say, a puffer coat.
If you go this route, keep in mind that darker colors will be more elegant and appropriate for more formal events than lighter ones so try to stick with black or gray if possible. You’ll also want to choose one without any hoods (which are very casual) or fur lining (which looks like it came straight off the slopes).
Buy yourself some leggings to wear under your dress, including footless tights, tights and fleece-lined tights.
Wearing tights over a formal dress is a great way to stay warm on a cold winter night. You can go for the non-sheer look with footless tights, which are great for prom, and keep your legs nice and warm all night long. Or, you could try out some sheer tights that match your dress, they will keep you just as warm without looking like you’re wearing two dresses at once. If it’s not too cold where you live in the wintertime, fleece-lined tights might be a good choice for you—they aren’t bulky like a pair of leggings or yoga pants would be under your cocktail dress.
When deciding what kind of tights to buy for your next big event, think about what matters most to you: warmth and comfort? Durability? Longevity? The best pairs will combines all three qualities!
Invest in some wool long underwear to keep you warm and dry under your dress.
Wool long underwear isn’t just for the mountains. It’s a great option as a base layer under your formal clothes, such as your evening gown or tuxedo. Wool is great at keeping you warm and dry even when it gets wet. In fact, wool keeps you warmer than other fabrics when it’s wet because of wool’s natural crimp in the fiber that creates air pockets to help insulate on cold days. Wool will also dry faster than synthetic fabrics if you ever get caught in a rainstorm on your way to a party!
Plus, wool is naturally antimicrobial, so there’s no need to worry about sweat stains or odors (which is helpful if you’re wearing something like a taffeta gown that doesn’t breathe).
Wear heavy legwear over your tights, including wool socks and knee socks, fleece-lined leggings and shearling boots.
- Layer your legwear. Sometimes the perfect skirt needs tights to be work appropriate, but that also makes it far less warm. The solution? Wear heavy legwear over your tights, including wool socks and knee socks, fleece-lined leggings and shearling boots.
- Consider fleece-lined leggings if you’ll be doing a lot of standing around. They’re like wearing a cuddly blanket around your legs, which is never a bad thing in the wintertime.
Chilly weather doesn’t mean that you can’t wear your fancy clothes if you use the right accessories
One of the best ways to stay warm and still look like you belong at the event is to wear tights or stockings underneath your formal clothes. Wearing a pair of black tights under your slacks or dress will help keep you warm, but it won’t be noticeable because the color matches your formal clothes. If it’s really cold outside, try wearing two pairs of tights or stockings — they’ll trap in your body heat while keeping you looking classy.
Another way to stay warm while wearing fancy clothes is to wear a wrap around your shoulders. The right wrap will go well with any outfit and it can add some extra warmth on those chilly winter nights. You can find some wraps at department stores that fit right over your dress and match the rest of your outfit perfectly. A wrap also gives you an opportunity to show off a little bit, so don’t be afraid to wear one!