So, you’ve been invited to an event when the weather is set to be on the cool-to-arctic side? Fear not, you can still look dressed up without freezing.
How you put together winter special occasion outfits takes all the pre-planning I always advise – no matter what the season – but with plenty of extra attention on the weather app in the lead up to the event.
You want to feel comfortable, confident and warm. You want to feel like you’ve dressed appropriately to the season. But importantly, you still want to feel a little more glam than your everyday style.
Work through my steps below. I’ve included in this post some images of some of my fave special occasion offerings available right now. Scroll down for links and details.
10 tips for planning an event outfit
1. As soon as you have an invitation or a save-the-date, start thinking about what you’d like to wear. Visualising an idea in your head really does help.
2. Research the average day and night-time temperatures where the event is being held.
3. Don’t shop under pressure – use the time that you have in advance to try on a lot of outfits.
4. Take note of any specified dress codes. A formal event usually indicates full-length gowns. A cocktail wedding usually indicates shorter dress styles, a jumpsuit or pants outfit. If unsure, ask others attending what length of gown they plan to wear.
5. Think about winter coats and accessories that are on the dressy side if you know that you’ll be outside in the elements and need to keep warm. Most venues will be heated so you may just need a coat that will work to and from the venue.
6. If buying a new outfit, look for a dress or pant outfit that you know you’ll be able to wear again for a different occasion.
7. Ask girlfriends and family members if they have occasion-wear pieces and accessories they’d be willing to lend you. I have one sequinned cocktail frock that is like the Sister of the Travelling Frock.
8. Consider hiring a frock. You get all the glitz and glam without the budget bam.
9. Wear something from the vault. Do you have an occasion piece that just sits forlorn in your wardrobe, sad that it has not been out to a party for a while? Get it out, try it on and think of how you can make it work with new accessories.
10. If beauty logistics are in your favour, book in to have your hair/makeup done on the day of the event. On the day of an event or occasion, I employ this tactic as it takes away much of the time stress of getting ready. All you need to do afterwards is pop on your frock, shoes and accessories and hop into your car/taxi/Uber. If you planning a spray tan, get this done two days before the event so it has some to develop – and not rub off on to the clothes you’re wearing.
What about winter special occasion outfits?
The thing about winter special occasion outfits is that you have find that balance between dressing for any time maybe spent outdoors versus indoors. If predominantly indoors, you’ll just need a good coat to get you to and from as it will come off in a heated indoor venue.
It’s also an opportunity to look for a dressier/glitzier outside layer, think faux fur, feathers, sequins in capes, jackets, coats and wraps as a statement outfit “completer”.
I have a number of these “completers” in my wardrobe, pieces I’ve collected over the years, pieces that can immediately change up and lift an existing occasion frock.
But where to shop for occasion outfits?
I’m often emailed this question and asked to share my go-to occasion labels. For me, if it’s a special occasion, I’m more likely to spend a bit more. If I buy well, that garment will serve me long after its first outing. I’m a big supporter of independent labels and that’s where I’ll tend to look first.
I keep an eye out on my favourite labels at the start of each season when they launch their collections. I suggest you do too because that’s when you’ll get the most choice in styles and sizing.
If you wait until the end of the season and do manage a bargain in sale time, then fantastic, but please don’t wait if it’s a super special occasion you need to find an outfit for. You might end up very disappointed that your size is not available or you have limited stock to choose from.
Forever New Emilia petite skirt coat (there’s a regular fit option too)
So, tell me, have you got a special occasion on the calendar? Got your outfit sorted? What’s your go-to occasion label that always makes you feel a million bucks?