As women, we have been allowed to wear pants now for years, so the idea of styling pants for formal events was the theme for my outfit (and I even included extra options). The best thing about being a woman is that we have such a variety of choices with our clothing items. SO let’s take advantage of it.
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Quote of the day: “No idea is final.” Taika Waititi
Now that quote is absolutely true. Isn’t that a women’s prerogative, that she can change her mind? And what we wear to a formal event can be anything from a long dress to a tuxedo–with lots of variation between the two.
Admittedly, I am in the camp of wearing dresses and have no problem pulling them out for any kind of day. But there can definitely be advantages to styling pants for formal events, and I have ideas how to make it happen.
Pants: Talbots-thrifted from Clothes Mentor~~ Top: Entro from Naomi & Ruth Boutique ~~ Shoes–Heels: Steve Madden & Flats: Lauren Conrad~~ Earrings: made by Heartland Jewelry by JS~~ Purse: vintage ~~Hat: Liz Claiborne-thrifted
Elements of Styling Pants for Formal Events
There are a couple of elements or details that can make your outfit seem more formal and appropriate for the occasion.
2-Sequins or sparkle
3-Show some skin
Insider tip: Don’t fall into the trap that everything has to be black. Color is not a bad thing and you can stand out better if you’re wearing it.
What to Look for in Formal Pants
Don’t think that your formal pants have to be black. Sure, black ones can work, but there are other color options too.
One of the best things to look for is something with a little sheen instead of just a knit material. Of course, you could style knit black pants for a formal event especially if you create a focal point elsewhere.
Maybe this is the time you pull out the work pants that you keep in the back of your closet since you retired?? Either that or keep an eye out for some statement pants that would fit the bill for some of the fancy events you might attend.
In the winter you might consider your faux leather pants if you have a pair.
Another idea is to get a pair of pants with sequins on them. You might think you’d be SO limited on when to wear them, but since every day should be a party, then think of them as party pants.
For example, for all of the winter holidays, you could pull them out, as well as any formal events and birthday celebrations.
Insider tip: Just because you found this pair of pants that will work for formal events, don’t limit yourself to only wearing them for those occasions.
Remember the secret to having a more versatile closet is to stop categorizing your clothing items. You can easily pair these “formal pants” with a t-shirt to casualize them.
BTW, I recently found these pink satin pants at Clothes Mentor for $2. They were brand new with the tags still on. Sure, I didn’t have an event to wear them to that was on the calendar, but that’s a silly reason not to get them. They could be perfect even with a t-shirt for a daily outfit.
And when that invitation comes in the mail, I’ll be ready!!
Accessories Can Make It Formal
No matter what the outfit entails, your accessories can make it seem more fun and formal too. Just think about Iris Apfel. Half the time you don’t even notice the outfit she’s wearing because she’s embracing all of her accessories.
You don’t have to wear that many accessories to finish off styling pants for a formal event, but you can include ones that will create a more formal vibe.
For instance, the longer earrings are perfect. Especially if you are baring some shoulders, then shoulder scraping earrings can act as both your earrings and necklace. This pair was made by a special friend, Judy, and I absolutely love them.
Insider tip: Not all big and bold earrings are heavy. Lightweight ones are the key to wearing them all night without issues.
The other accessories are my brooch (pinned at my waist-look close to see it) and my bright pink hat. A hat can always be a wonderful accessory because it brings the focus to your face and hides a bad hair day at the same time.
Insider tip: While a formal event isn’t a place I’d usually wear a straw hat, you might be able to get away with it if it’s a darker color straw hat.
The other tip if it seems a tad casual is to add a scarf or brooch to it, to give it more sass.
The Top Half of Your Pants Outfit
In all reality, most people probably won’t notice the bottom half of your outfit especially if you’ll be sitting at a table for this kind of event. That’s why it’s good to make sure you create a wonderful focal point on the top half.
You can see how Cathie and I both went with the idea of baring some skin. Of course, you don’t have to succumb to the off-the-shoulder or strapless tops. It’s also very sexy to show off your back too or how about the one-shoulder tops?
Now if showing skin isn’t your thing, there are other fabulous options. Using the same principles as above, find sequins, shiny material, or something just different and bold.
I believe this is the time to leave basic and boring at home!!
Or see how I wore the strapless top over another item.
What Shoes Do I Wear?
Of course, you need shoes for the outfit, yet they don’t have to be 5″ heels to work for styling pants for a formal event. In fact, if you noticed, one of the first photo galleries is me wearing the same outfit with these block heels compared to wearing it with flat sandals.
Insider tip: Don’t forget that while I believe shoes can make or break an outfit, if you create a focal point at the top half of your body, you can basically hide your shoes if you need to.
The other way to hide your shoes is to find a fun pair of wide-leg pants that cover them.
There are two easy ways to find shoes for a formal event. The block heel shoes are a great option. They give you some heels with more stability.
And there are flats that can be just as dressy too. Remember glitter and strappy can seem just as fancy as a pointed heel.
What to Wear If It’s Air-Conditioned
My biggest struggle in figuring out about styling pants for a formal event is having an extra layer for the possibility of it being cold because of the air-conditioning. There’s nothing worse than freezing your tuchus off the entire time.
Therefore, I wanted to show 2 different options from my closet that I could use for this same outfit.
Getting Creative with my Gold Bolero Jacket
The middle photo above is how my gold bolero is meant to be worn. It has a hook and eye and a gold bow to tie in the front. However, the bow seemed to compete with the overall look.
So I got creative with a trick I’ve used with kimonos that are big and overpowering.
How-to: First tie the bow together (not as tight as it would be if it were in the front), and then slide your arms in the sleeves keeping that tied portion in the back. This creates a shrug instead. Hard to visualize it?? Then check out the video link below.
Other examples of this style hack:
Video showing how it’s done with my leopard jacket
Shown with the blue kimono in the article on styling kimonos 5+ ways to make them more fitted
My Knitted Shrug
I found another option I could wear with this same outfit. The gold bolero creates a lighter look, while this knitted shrug makes it darker. Neither is right or wrong, but a personal preference.
BTW, I knitted that shrug many years ago, but I don’t wear it much because it’s so short in the back. Until I figured out that I can layer it under a vest to basically make it have sleeves. I did this trick with this same shrug in the post about styling an olive green vest.
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