Now that spring has indeed sprung, the evenings of barbeques, patios and anything other than curling up in front of the television are upon us, and a new season of party outfits and reasons to wear them is in our midst. But while “party outfits” once meant only your new favourite dress and shoes to go with it, spring 2011 calls for variety, risks and the willingness to give any ensemble a try. Thus, consider this your guide to the best springtime party outfits.
Outfit 1: Casual
If red cups and BYOB are involved, it’s safe to say that you’re off to a casual affair, with the likes of heels, dresses and pleated pants left purposely left off the guest list. However, if your comfort zone lies in a world a little more formal, opt for a pair of black cigarette jeans with oxford shoes, and pair them with a tucked-in button-up blouse for a menswear aesthetic. You can also don denim: whether through wide-legged pants or high-waisted skinny jeans (paired with an oversize t-shirt and Keds), you can give any outfit a casual feel through your choice of fabrics.
Pair your skinny jeans with Joe Fresh’s Printed Silk Bow-Tie Blouse in Khaki, $39. Available at your local Real Canadian Superstore.
Outfit 2: Afternoon Chic
In the world of wedding showers, family shindigs and work-related barbeques, you can quickly find yourself at a loss for options when figuring out what ensemble’s most appropriate. Luckily, you can keep it safe with a blazer, button-up and pleated trouser shorts (with socks and loafers), or adopt a floral midi dress to channel the 1990s formal equivalent. Worn with black tights and lace-up ankle boots, you can still dress to suit your personality while maintaining a vibe appropriate for grandmas, kids and bosses – but without committing to the cliché prep look of the Hamptons.
Check out H&M’s Pleated Loose-Fitting Shorts in Yellow, $12.95. Available at H&M.
Outfit 3: Semi-Formal
A dinner party, a night out with friends or an evening of drinks calls for something more than just day-to-day wear, so if you’re one to take risks, now’s the time to do it. Whether you’re willing to don a bright mini dress or a vintage number straight out of Reality Bites, pair with statement shoes (think platform sandals) and socks (ankle or over-the-knee) to give a relatively easy option a bit of an edge. Of course, you can abandon the dress theme altogether and opt for something a little more alternative: black tights with leather shorts, a white t-shirt and a jacket is a unique take on a statement piece, while the tights keep your shorts anchored and your look not overly risqué.
For a night out, try BCBG’s Cutout Platform Sandal in Toffee, on sale for $82.60. Available at BCBG.
Outfit 4: Formal
Considering it’s wedding season, the excuse to invest in a classic party dress is barely required, so when out and about, consider an A-line midi dress (with a classic 60s silhouette) to channel the vintage revival, or a Twiggy-inspired cut to interpret the decade differently. Of course, you can argue that shopping for formal is by far the easiest: thanks to events like the MET ball, you can opt for sheer sleeves and velvet fabric, or even an ankle-length dress with a thigh-high slit. (Just don’t upstage the host – or bride.)
Make a statement with French Connection’s Cleos Striped Silk Gown, $228. Available at French Connection.