Holiday Dress Shopping Tips


This time of year is nerve-wracking for too many reasons to count, from shopping for gifts to baking to planning dinner, and of course, what to wear. I’m exhausted just talking about it.

Occasions and Styles

The type of dress you need will of course depend on the occasion–wedding, cruise ship, vacation, or the holidays. It comes down to whether it’s just a few friends and family or a big office bash. For fancy occasions, dresses by Sherry Hill, although geared toward proms, can make a nice, affordable option.

Dress Style Considerations

Shapes and form depends on the lady’s figure, from the dress style to the length and more. Below is a quick cheat sheet:

A-Line: Has slimming shape, vertical seams from the shoulder down and ends in a flare skirt.

Ball Gown: Has a full bodice with a natural waistline and a full skirt.

Mermaid: Has a narrow style with a tight body and skirt that flares at the knees.

Neckline: Supports shoulders, chest, upper back, and the neck; branches out to several types of neck line styles–halter, portrait, spaghetti straps, and more.

Dress Lengths

Generally speaking, the more formal the dress is, the longer it will be.

Floor Length: The hemline is approximately 2 inches from the floor, give or take.

Tea Length: 8 to 10 inches from the floor.

Ballet Length: Lands by the ankles.

Mini Length: As the name suggests, the shortest hemline.

Dress Color

Coloring is a matter of taste, but there are a few helpful tips to consider:

Skin Tone: Women tend to pick a dress that matches their skin tone. For instance, a dark-skinned lady may prefer black. Adversely, a lighter-skinned woman may also pick a black dress because it helps contrast her skin. Again, it’s simply a matter of taste and skin tone.

Miscellaneous Dress Tips

Dress Sizes: The dress should fit enough to enhance your figure, but not so much that it is too tight.

Alterations: Dresses, depending on the manufacturer, can be made slightly longer, but if it’s too long you may need to get it altered. Most formal wear stores provide this service.

Where to Dress Shop: Independent retailers can be a good start as their prices are often much lower than chain store prices. Online shopping can be a daunting task depending on your shopping style. Some people simply won’t know until they try the dress on.

No matter what style dress or the occasion, just rock it like you own the place!

This is a guest post by Carol Mueller, who loves anything and everything fashion. When she’s not blogging about the topic on Red Carpet Victim, she can be found reading the latest celebrity gossip or dishing on “America’s Next Top Model.”

Photo by Stuart-Low/Flickr

8 thoughts on “Holiday Dress Shopping Tips”

  1. I love all of your advice! We have a New Year’s Eve party with hubby’s job, and the cocktail dress I had, is now too big! I bookmarked this page so I can refer to it this week before shopping!

  2. What a great article. I always look for an aline that sits snug on the chest…gotta show off the
    Stay well and Happy New Year,

    Zoe Lee
    Everything for Ana

  3. I had to come back to this page, I was able to pick out a beautiful tea length cocktail dress for tomorrow night’s party! Thanks for your wonderful tips!

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