Nikki’s Inbox: What To Wear To a Party – Dressy or Casual?

Hi, Nikki. I have to go to a party and don’t know what to wear. I considered not going because it’s stressing me out so much but I have to for my friend. There are over 60 people coming and I don’t know how dressy or casual I should look. I want to look pretty but cool at the same time.

I’m really stuck and don’t know what to do. I am about 5’1, quite pale, with blonde hair, and am roughly a 6 (Australian sizing) or 8 in dresses, but an 8 in pants. My legs are probably more on the wider side and I am just at a loss. I want to be confident in what I wear! Please help me. ^_^

M, 16/Australia


Hello, M! If you’re going with a group of close friends, you might actually enjoy the party. If you’re shy around crowds, that’s perfectly fine too. Find someone you can talk to. Even small conversations help.

Don’t Be Afraid To Ask

First thing to do is to ask your friend what kind of party it is. Is it just a casual affair? Dancing, eating and talking mostly? You do have to dress for the occasion, and the best way is to ask your friend if she has any suggestions on the right outfit to wear. You can also ask the friends who’re going with you. You don’t have to wear the same styles but at least you have an idea, and there’s less risk of you feeling like you’re over-dressed or under-dressed. Plus, strength in numbers, yes?

A dress is definitely a good choice if you want to look cute and elegant. But then, you can also be cool and stylish in separates such as tops with jeans, shorts or skirts. So which will it be? Let me help you make up your mind!

Dressed to Impress

First, please make sure you get all your body measurements done correctly and accurately, M. If you only do a guess-timate most of the time when you shop, you might end up with more misses than hits. For dresses, I recommend an A-line cut for you since you mentioned that you wear a size bigger for pants. If your hips are slightly wider than your waist or shoulders, then the A-line suits you. The cinched waist can do wonders to give you a more flattering figure. Finish with sheer black or patterned tights.

You can go for a sleeveless style, off-shoulder or a mock two-piece. Make sure the length at least hits above your knees as you’re a petite person. For cover-up, go for a cute pointelle cardigan, or a sleek leather jacket in a contrasting color like cream, ivory, baby pink or blue if you’re wearing a dark-colored dress.

Perfect Toppers & Bottom Coordinates

Since it’s now getting warmer down in Australia, you can opt for cute tops like the trendy off-shoulder or one-shoulder styles, or even do a layered look with a mesh top, wrap sweater or camisole. Team them with distressed skinny jeans, cropped flared pants, faux leather leggings or shorts. The combination of layers adds depth and texture to your outfit. It can be your statement piece if done well. No need to over-accessorize!

Skirt Envy

Your other option to go with your tops is a skirt! I think you’ll look cute and perfect in a pleated mini skirt, M. The current rage is pleated (inverted or boxy), tennis-style skirts, and you can rock them in candy colors or in pretty patterns such as plaids. If you’re conscious about your legs, you can still wear mini skirts but go a size higher if you can. Tuck in your top and cinch with a wide belt, like a corset-style or obi version around the waist. That way, the skirt fits and the attention is on your waist.

You can round out your outfit with bold accessories like hoop earrings, a statement necklace, or gorgeous shoes. But the best things to go with your outfit are some self-confidence and the intention to just have fun with your friends. Enjoy!

P.S. If you’re sending a question, please don’t forget to include any helpful information about your body type or shape, your tastes or personality. You can include a selfie (link only please) or a photo of your clothes (which I will never publish without pre-approval). Thank you!

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