How to choose a special occasion outfit that you’ll wear again

Shopping for special occasions. It’s something that I really don’t like to do. Sure, I love buying the happy couple a wedding present, and it’s wonderful to watch the youngsters heading off to their first prom. But it’s the concept of spending out on an outfit specifically for that special occasion that bothers me. In my experience, a dress that you choose for your prom, graduation ball, or to wear to your cousin’s wedding will rarely see the light of day again. It’ll take up room in your wardrobe, you’ll feel guilty that you spent all that money on it and aren’t wearing it, and by the time you’ve got another special occasion to go to, you probably fancy treating yourself to something new. So, here are some ideas for buying outfits for special occasions that you can easily wear again throughout the year…

WEDDING GUEST 

When you’re invited to a wedding, you have two choices; pick out something from your own wardrobe and dress it up with accessories, or invest in a dress that can be your go-to wedding guest outfit for years to come. But even so, you might not be getting as much wear out of that dress to justify spending a lot of money on it. One way to make your spending worthwhile is if you choose a smart dress that can also be used as a summer outfit for work. Stick to single-colour dresses, in a tailored shape. The same goes for smart blazers too – your wedding guest jacket can double as a suit top for meetings throughout the year.

THE PROM

If you’re approaching the end of your studies, either at high school, college or university, you’ll have your prom coming up this summer. It’s a difficult social occasion to shop for because it’s a much dressier occasion than usual. How can you ever get more use out of that prom dress again? The key here is choosing a classic design in a colour that you’ll know you’ll wear again. Pick a floral pattern and wear as a wedding guest, or go for a glitzy number that can be re-worn on your 21st birthday etc. It might be hard to find this type of dress on the high street but if you shop around online you’ll be able to prom dresses that suit you and can be worn again on another occasion.

ACCESSORIES

When choosing accessories for that special occasion, it’s a good idea to stick to neural pieces. Shoes in nude or metallic tones can be worn time and again. A wedding guest hat might not be something that you’ll get much wear out of but, if you choose a cream, white, grey or gold coloured hat, you can probably wear it to the next wedding you’re invited to.

JEWELLERY

If you invest in brightly coloured costume jewellery to match your special occasion outfit, it’s likely that this will be the only time you wear it. While I do recommend using jewellery to dress up a simple dress, going OTT with sparkles and large designs will result in a pile of jewellery on your dressing table that never gets worn. Stick with something classic like a personalised name necklace and delicate earrings instead. You can wear these time and again for any kind of occasion. Stick with one type of metal to coordinate your jewellery, such as a rose gold name necklace paired with a rose gold engraved bangle and pearl earrings in a rose gold setting. That way, you have a whole set to wear to the next event, and can wear the pieces individually on a daily basis.

I hope that these tips have helped and please let me know if you have any other advice for buying an outfit for a special occasion. Did you ever wear your prom dress again? How did you dress up that wedding guest outfit? Leave me a comment below!

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Cassie is a freelance writer with a Masters degree in lifestyle promotion studies. She loves to 'get the look for less' so regularly shares thrifty fashion posts, DIY interior design ideas and low-cost recipes on her blog.

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