Art of Style

The Ultimate Eveningwear Guide

Discover the perfect look for every occasion with our comprehensive guide to eveningwear style, from black-tie gowns to after-dark denim – and every other dress code in between

Words Kara KiaFashion editor Millie Parry
Dressed to impress: Christy Turlington, Naomi Campbell and Kate Moss at the Met Gala in 1995; and Gwyneth Paltrow at the Oscars in 1999

Showstopping style

A black-tie event is the perfect opportunity to indulge in a glamorous evening gown. So when such an occasion arises, why not reach for an elegant maxi dress with an element of drama? Roksanda’s silk-draped gown is meticulously tailored along the bodice to create a statuesque profile. It’s knotted at the waist for added shape, and the cape-sleeve guarantees a captivating entrance at any event. Pair the gown with Manolo Blahnik’s crystal-embellished sandals and Amina Muaddi’s matching clutch, then add a delicate diamond necklace, with white gold earrings, and a chignon for a refined statement.

The classic little black dress

A black cocktail dress is an absolute must-have for any capsule closet. Whether you are getting dressed for a party, date night, a wedding or any other celebratory occasion, you can’t go wrong with the classic and understated design of an LBD. Alessandra Rich’s sumptuous velvet mini makes a fabulous statement, with a beautiful plume of ostrich feathers along the neckline. The short hem is balanced by long sleeves, while the slight stretch in the fabric hugs the body for a sexy fit. Style the playful off-the-shoulder neckline with Gianvito Rossi’s chunky gold platform heels for a ’70s feel, then complement the black and gold palette with The Attico’s sleek black clutch and Carolina Bucci’s ‘Florentine’ earrings.

After-dark denim

When heading out for dinner with friends, consider a party top and straight-leg jeans for a relaxed outfit with a dressed-up feel. Take your blazer and denim from office meetings to after-hours events by swapping a minimal tank for a scintillating party top, and white sneakers for sharp stilettos. Paco Rabanne’s halterneck top, for example, is made from the label’s signature chainmail in an iridescent, sunset palette, which looks divine with Tom Ford’s barely-there metallic sandals. Add a jewel-tone clutch and simple gold earrings for the perfect finishing touch.

Minimal mastery

There are few things more luxurious than dressing up in a slinky black dress for a formal event. If you have a penchant for classic pieces, then look to Nili Lotan’s ‘Katie’ gown. It’s cut from luxurious black velvet, with a sultry open back and a deep side split to instantly command attention. While the ‘Katie’ is undeniably elegant, it’s also ultra-versatile, as you can easily transform the mood of the gown by pairing it with the right accessories. This season, lean into the gothic aesthetic by styling it with Saint Laurent’s black satin sandals, Gigi Clozeau’s mini rosary necklace, and an emerald clutch by Hunting Season.

High-octane glamour

For cocktail receptions that call for glamour, Galvan’s ‘Stargaze’ dress is the one. Saturated in sparkling sequins that reflect light like liquid silver, this column-style gown has contrasting vertical stripes along the skirt, which lengthen the silhouette. This look is ideal for dressing up with white gold jewels – look to Maria Tash and Spinelli Kilcollin for beautiful options. The ‘Invisible Crescendo’ earrings by Maria Tash frame the face with dainty rows of diamonds, while Spinelli Kilcollin’s romantic diamond ring features the brand’s signature interlocking design. To tie the look together, try Manolo Blahnik’s ‘Crinastra’ black sandals – they are decorated with baguette-cut crystals to complement the black stripes and sequins of the gown.

Black-tie tailoring

Marlene Dietrich might have popularized women’s pants in the 1930s, but it wasn’t until Yves Saint Laurent debuted ‘Le Smoking’ in 1966 – a slim-fit tuxedo with distinctly feminine tailoring – that the women’s suit became a modern wardrobe staple. For a fresh take on eveningwear, consider Isabel Marant’s chic wool blazer. The structured shoulders are inspired by classic tuxedo jackets, and the slightly loose fit looks undeniably cool. Team it with the matching wide-leg pants and Foundrae’s luxe medallion necklace, then add a pop of color with Gianvito Rossi’s pink satin pumps.


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