What to wear: black tie holiday party or formal winter wedding

fall winter black tie outfits - red dress jcrew ludlow tuxedo

ASOS petite dress US 0p, Steve Madden heels (also here), Baublebar earrings (similar), H&M faux fur wrap (similar here or here), NARS shanghai express lipcolor
On Nick: J.Crew Ludlow tuxedo, DIY pocket square (I always make him one to match me)

As holiday party season will soon be upon us, I’m going to be sharing outfit ideas for all sorts of environments and dress codes! I’ve gotten requests for office-appropriate party attire and also more formal black tie wear, so will be showing those first this week. Earlier this month, Nick and I attended a fun Fall formal organized by our friends. They raised an amazing 100k for charity, and we got to dress up and drink the night away in the Children’s Museum, so win-win all around! For a winter formal party or wedding, I love the look of a long gown with a little sultriness and touches of glamour. Here I looked to my usual old-school hollywood inspiration with a high leg slit, faux fur wrap, crystal drop earrings and minimalistic shoes. I took to the same inspiration for makeup with a subtle smokey eye, wine red lips and wavy hair swept off to the side.

asos petite long red dress faux fur scarf

For this event, I had procrastinated and was at a last-minute loss on what to wear. I wanted to rent this sequin gown recommended by my petite aunt but it was booked up well in advance. For readers who ask about formal dresses for petites, I usually suggest browsing ASOS and filtering their selection by size and item type. Their sizing runs very small and they have some unusual styles that you don’t see everywhere. I ended up taking my own advice and ordered this dress 2 days before the event – their express shipping is amazingly fast from across the pond!

Here’s are a few other formal dresses from there all under $200, starting in 0 or 00 petite…

And here are a few other budget options above for under $100!


fall winter wedding guest outfits - formal red dress

I will say ASOS is a fast fashion retailer so you do get what you pay for. This dress is a bargain for a long piece but it is not made of high quality materials, so I wouldn’t suggest wearing it to a nicer event where others may be decked out in intricate gowns or couture. I would prefer to pay more for better quality, but due to procrastination, was hard-pressed to find formalwear anywhere else that fits with no alterations at all, even in length! Please note that ASOS sells a variety of different brands in addition to their own in-house one, so sizing may vary. Their in-house brand runs 1-2 sizes smaller than American brands for me (I’m wearing US 0 petite here which was a good fit throughout), and I’ve heard from friends that Jarlo petite which they sell also runs very small.

And now for the common question of what bra to wear with these dresses that have dips and cutouts here and there. I was able to wear a regular bra with this one, but my bra drawer is armed with the four tools below for those unexpected times when you can’t:

Low back items: low back bra converter strap in black, 2 hooks (or in nude, 1 hook). I showed how to DIY one of these back in this post but at $9, it is totally worth purchasing instead of buying the materials. ASOS also sells a 2-pack of converters in both black and nude, with 2 bra strap hooks and 2 size options.

Low front items: nude plunge front bra. This one is noted with cups that run small and the reviewers say the B is actually well suited for A cups.

Backless and strapless or other items that will show any bra straps: Nubra adhesive silicone bra provides the most minimalistic coverage. I have one from this brand based on a friend’s suggestion, and highly recommend it in return! The A cups fit me well, create magical cleavage, and the adhesive can be re-used for numerous wears (listed to last up to 50 wears!).

Very low front or unusual cutout designs: adhesive nipple covers! Lots of choices out there with mixed reviews. The ones linked here have fairly positive reviews, and are probably best for smaller busts that don’t need a lot of support.

fall winter wedding guest long red dress

PS – For this particular dress, If you’ll be out in breezy conditions, be sure to secure down the front flap with double-sided fashion tape, a safety pin, or some thread at the highest point you’d want it to fly open! Another alternative which I did is to wear a pair of biking shorts underneath and let the skirt flap away without worry.

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When you purchase through the links on this blog, I may earn a commission. Thank you for your support!

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