Six Tips for Picking a Party Outfit

Disclaimer: The outfit in this blog post was a free-of-charge loan from Bettie Page Clothing in Portland, OR. I got to try on outfits and check one out for this event. I did not get to keep the outfit. No promises of a post were given and all opinions are my own.

Six Tips for Picking a Party Outfit:

Finding the perfect party outfit is as big of a deal to me as crafting the perfect party. Maybe it was just a weird thing that was instilled in me at a young age… but, special events got special consideration for outfits. Growing up I got a new outfit for every Easter, birthday, Christmas  and first day of school. When I was older and dating my husband, I would wear a new or newly styled outfit at every date we had. I don’t think he saw me wear the same outfit twice until we had been dating for a year. Now, I believe you NEED to buy a new outfit for each and every special event. It just isn’t practical. However, I do whole-heartily believe in putting a little extra thought into special-occasion wear. The below tips are what I think about when considering a party dress or outfit:

  1. Consider Your Closet First. — Might be an obvious one… but, check out the items in your closet first and foremost. Do you have an outfit that you haven’t worn in a while? Is there a way that you can alter something that is in your closet to make it more special. Do you have a classic piece that can benefit from fresh new styling for your special occasion. I have worn my wedding dress three different times and have restyled bridesmaid dresses for different parties. Add different accessories to create a different look. Or, work on layering items. Do you have a beautiful poofy dress you like to wear, but want to dress it down slightly to fit for a more casual cocktail party? Add on a chambray shirt! Pinterest, Polyvore, and Favery are some places I visit for ideas on how to wear different pieces that are already in my closet.
  2. Remember What Your Wore to Your Last Event— I often wear an outfit into the ground once I find that it works well on me. But, I try to remember what I wore from event to event (with the same people) to try not to double up on my outfits. Even just changing one or two portions of a favorite outfit can make all the difference.
  3. Purchase Pieces that have Multiple Uses. — You’ve checked your closet and you’ve decided that you just need to go buy a new item for an upcoming event. When purchasing items for special occasions I make sure each item fits a certain criteria: 1. Do I LOVE it? 2. Can I wear it more than three times this year? 3. Can I style it at least three different ways? If they fit all three criteria (and I can afford it) then I buy it.
  4. Make sure your outfit is comfortable.— Now, I don’t mean yoga pants and tank top comfortable… but, your party clothing should be somewhat comfortable. You will need to be able to wear the outfit while standing, sitting, chatting, dancing, and more. Try on your outfit (all the way down to the shoes and accessories) and do a chore in the outfit. I usually vacuum or pick up my bedroom while wearing a potential outfit. If it is too difficult to do a 15 minute chore without adjusting your outfit or being in pain afterwards then it is time to rethink your choice of clothing.
  5. Consider the Event— Are you going to an outdoor, afternoon birthday party or an evening cocktail party? Are you going to hang out with a few friends or meeting potential business contacts? Consider the event that you are going to and try to dress appropriately. If you are unsure about the etiquette for dressing for a particular event then ask the host or turn to google.
  6. Have Fun!— Parties are the perfect opportunity to have fun with your outfit. If you have always wanted to try fake eyelashes or wear a crazy fun pair of heels… DO IT. I am naturally drawn to people who put a little of their personality in their outfit. Parties are the perfect opportunity to have a little fun and bring out a part of yourself that stays hidden at times.
  7. Break All The Rules— Okay, I said six tips… but, sometimes it is good to just break all the rules and do what you want. No clothing rules are set in stone… except “No Shoes, No Shirt, No Service.” Occasionally I throw on an outfit ten minutes til the party starts that I probably wore six times that week already and I call it good. Having fun and feeling great is the most important part for me.


About the Images:

I talked a little bit last week about the Strike a Pose event that the Portland Bloggers had last month. We had a ton of fun learning a few photography tricks, getting dolled up, and stepping out to get our photos taken. Bettie Page Clothing in Portland, OR offered the opportunity to wear one of their dresses to the meet-up. I jumped at the offer and was excited to visit their store. Macey, Bee, and myself all wore the Bettie Page dresses to the event. Allegra Villella, a Portland Oregon photographer, took my photos and I loved how they came out! My hair and makeup was touched up and made beautiful by Marina McAvoy. My hairpiece was done by the lovely Jade Rose of Jade Rose designs.

About my Bettie Page Experience:

My experience at the store was probably one of the better shopping experiences I’ve ever had. And, the employees treated other guests (the non-blogger types) the same way they treated me while I was perusing their items and trying them on. I tried on probably 20 dresses and they didn’t even flinch. The lovely ladies working offered help and great advice. I chose to wear the Alika Cricle Red Dress from Bettie Page along with a black crinoline.

The dresses are sized WEIRD there— my size which is normally a size 14-16 ended up being a 3X in the Bettie Page store. However, it is the first time I’ve been able to find a vintage style dress that actually fit me. They do have sizing charts in the boutique to find the right size.

Why I Chose This Dress:

Funny thing about this dress for this event. I knew I would be overdressed for a daytime get together. I also knew that I would probably not wear a dress like that to many places at all… maybe a wedding or really swanky cocktail party? But, I also felt freaking fabulous in that dress. For me, that is all the reason I needed!

What is your favorite party outfit? 
Do you have any tips for choosing something to wear on a special occasion? 
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Jenni is a freelance writer and media assistant based in Portland, OR. A Well Crafted Party is a blog about all the little things to celebrate in life. Follow Jenni or A Well Crafted Party with BlogLovin, RSS feed, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or Pinterest.
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  1. Reply

    These dresses were all so cute!!! 🙂 How on earth have you worn your wedding dress multiple times?

  2. Reply

    Your pictures are so great! I love them! The last one of the three of you is so perfect – I love your faces!

  3. Reply

    You look fabulous! Great pick!

  4. Reply

    always pick the dress that makes you feel fab!!! love this look on you 🙂

    • Carisa Miller
    • April 16, 2013

    I am gla your tips include being comfortable. While some sacrifice comfort for fashion, I have always done the opposite. (I wore actual slippers under my wedding dress. Best decision ever.) You looked beautiful for the shoot and those photos are priceless. Someone needs to blow them up huge and hang them on a wall.

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