Fact: When you’re a stylish lady about town, there’s no shortage of black tie banquets, dinner parties and fancy galas to attend to. And we thought bridesmaids had it hard! While the excuse to get all gussied up in your Sunday best would normally be an open invitation to go shopping, dressing for fall formals and fêtes always proves to be a little more hit or miss — you’ve got to factor in the weather, natch. Should you wear a long-sleeved gown, side with a neck-plunging jumpsuit or just rock silk trousers? Armed with a slew of trusty after-hours options, the last thing you should be doing this season is reaching for the same old drop waist dress (‘cause where’s the fun in that?). Scroll down for 22 versatile evening-inspired pieces that will serve double-duty for every fall function on your agenda.
1. ASOS Jumpsuit in Premium Jacquard Stripe ($105): Get ready to show your stripes with this snazzy jacquard jumpsuit that will take you from giving the first toast at a rehearsal wedding reception to meeting your S.O.’s parents over Thanksgiving break. With chandelier earrings and lace-up platforms in tow, you’ll easily snag best-dressed status.
2. FP ONE Lola Maxi Set ($350): A daring crop top maxi set that’s made for the young and hip crowd is exactly what the doctor ordered. Can you say #goals? Between partying it up with your BFF for her 21st and attending a fall formal with your boo, you won’t run out of events to reach for this wardrobe workhorse. With velvet ankle booties and a beanie in the equation, you could even sport it on the streets for an Instababe-approved #OOTD.
3. The Jetset Diaries Bodycon Mini Skirt With Eye Catching Fringe Feature ($159): Versatility is key when it comes to this fringed mini that can be styled in a million and one ways. Play up your flirty side with a not-so-modest lace-up top, dial it down with a white pocket tee or go corporate with a crisp button-down. It’s that foolproof (and ready to mingle by the water cooler). Style your new secret weapon in disguise with ankle-strap steppers for legs that go on for days.
4. Forever 21 Contemporary Maxi Dress ($30): With Halloweekend upon us, it would be a sartorial crime not to have a downright witchy dress lined up. This burnt orange maxi featuring a playful tie-front accent can be topped with a pointy witch’s hat for an office-wide costume party or teamed with a ‘90s-esque tattoo choker and faux fur steppers for an evening spent barhopping with your squad.
5. Scotch & Soda Pleated Cocktail Dress ($149): It’s cocktail o’clock somewhere. We’re crushing hard over this silky pleated color-block dress that was made for the hostess with the mostess. DO throw in some leopard print ankle booties and vintage costume jewelry for a getup that takes you from sippin’ Champs to busting a move on the dance floor.
6. Moulinette Soeurs Celestial Lace Maxi Dress ($178): This shimmery blue slip dress is anything but blasé. In fact, it’s begging to be worn to a swanky rooftop dinner party on the Upper East Side or a fall soiree. To achieve a timeless look, swap out your simple diamond studs for your grandma’s vintage earrings, and opt for a faux fur coat to keep the nippy temps at bay.
7. ASOS Long Sleeve Drape Open Back Maxi Dress ($45): YAS, girl. An LBD with this much around-the-clock appeal deserves to be front and center. Between the peekaboo cutout and the dramatic slit, there’s zero chance of you flying under the radar at an upcoming award ceremony or black tie wedding. Keep things fresh with a modern ‘do and a fierce red pout.
8. Zara Strappy Frilled Dress ($100): Cue the drama with this jewel tone maxi that checks all the boxes (that cold-shoulder silhouette is to die for) and then some. Rest assured that fellow party goers will turn green with envy as you work the red carpet with as much panache as you’ve got. Pro tip: Skip any distracting accessories and let your satiny gown do the talking.
9. Forever 21 Velvet Cutout Maxi Dress ($28): ICYMI: Velvet is kind of a big deal this season. *Proceeds to add slinky wine-colored dress to cart without hesitation.* Not only is this showstopper worthy of a final rose ceremony, but ‘90s babes will appreciate the cutout back, sneaky slit and high neckline — just don’t leave home without your trusty velvet choker and sky-high steppers for a bachelorette party at the club.
10. Topshop Appliqué Long Sleeve Midi Dress ($130): All-over rose embroidered lace is the definition of sexy. Put the va-va in the voom with this stunning navy midi dress that strikes the perfect balance between tasteful and sultry. AKA, it’s a shoo-in for every special event on your schedule — just toss on pearl studs and a herringbone blazer for some old-school charm.
11. Topshop Tulle Lace Up Maxi Dress ($240): This dreamy berry red tulle maxi dress featuring a strappy neckline might as well be straight out of a fairy tale. Elbow-length gloves and clear slippers will be required as you make a grandiose entrance at any number of formal affairs this fall.
12. Zara Shiny Pleated Skirt ($26): Repeat after us: Dress codes were meant to be broken. Take it there with this millennial pink pleated skirt that deserves to be teamed with combat boots and a laid-back chic bomber for a cool girl ‘tude. Black tie only is so yesterday.
13. Scotch & Soda Paisley Maxi Dress ($175): Have a masquerade ball, will pull out all the stops — starting with this enchanting paisley maxi dress that won’t go unnoticed at the stroke of midnight. The sheer fabric will look superb with velvet loafers and a statement-making minaudière clutch. A seductive cat eye mask may be required come All Hallow’s Eve.
14. ASOS Jarlo Tall Cowl Front Strappy Cami Maxi Dress With Thigh Split ($137): Why not shine bright like a diamond at an upcoming banquet dinner in which you’re being honored? This red carpet-ready metallic maxi featuring a thigh-high slit and revealing back is guaranteed to make a lasting first impression. Round out your after-hours look with a choker necklace and a sleek updo to seal the deal.
15. AQUA Floral Print Two Piece Gown ($268): For a contemporary twist, skip the predictable chiffon floor-sweeping maxis for a two-piece gown with right now appeal. No less sophisticated, this navy and floral co-ord flaunts a playful mermaid hem and a bombshell silhouette that’s made to fit and flatter. Complete the look with Swarovski chandelier earrings and a glam cuff that lend just the right amount of visual interest without being fussy.
16. Free People Lilou Midi Dress ($250): Details, people, details! Channel your inner ‘70s babe with this swoon-inducing rose pink frock that exudes romance. Hints of crochet and lace — teamed with a plunging neckline — make it the perfect match for a fall wedding in the countryside or an anniversary dinner under the stars. A delicate body chain and lace-up ribbon ballerinas are mandatory for an entrance-making look.
17. Nasty Gal Wide Awake Slit Pants ($68): Don’t be silly — pants are fair game for the ladies too! In lieu of predictable chiffon gowns, these satiny midnight blue wide-leg trousers are guaranteed to wow on the dance floor. Between the high-waisted fit and peek-a-boo slits (all the more to catch the eye of your suitor), these bad boys won’t let you down. Toss ’em on with a ruffled one-shoulder blouse and ankle strap steppers for an ultra-dramatic entrance.
18. Adrianna Papell Sequin Two Piece Gown ($249): This sequined two-piece gown is a whole lotta YAS. Whether you’re fulfilling bridesmaid duties or attending a fundraiser (read: just another excuse to get all gussied up), this ethereal creation will deliver on the wow factor.
19. Zara Off-the-Shoulder Dress ($70): Make a red haute entrance in this racy off-the-shoulder dress that pushes the limits in the best possible way. Take note: THIS is what you wear when you know your ex will be showing up to the same party or industry function. Work it with some fierce ankle booties and a leather moto jacket for a tough-girl look that always hits the mark.
20. ASOS Premium Floral Jacquard Jumpsuit ($113): There’s something to be said for a jumpsuit that takes two seconds flat to style — especially for last-minute functions that seemingly pop up out of nowhere. Class up this floral jacquard one-piece wonder with a tuxedo jacket and some metallic heels for a networking happy hour with a business casual dress code. Take note: It’s always best to err on the conservative side when the higher-ups are involved.
21. Nasty Gal Collection Purple Reina Maxi Dress ($188): THIS is what sartorial dreams are made of, people! As if the dreamy purple chiffon wasn’t enough to sweep us off our feet, the criss-cross halter style is making us swoon hard with envy. Throw in some DDG crystal chandelier earrings and a tiara for a fancy gala with your Prince Charming.
22. Free People Caitlin Maxi Slip ($98): Cue the whirlwind romance with this sultry lingerie-inspired slip dress that can double for an anniversary dinner with bae, a bachelorette party or the after-after party following fall formal. For a rocker-meets-boho vibe, toss on a metallic bomber, a lariat choker and some studded biker boots.
Which of these DDG formal options will you be investing in this fall? Follow us on Pinterest for more fall style inspo!
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