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Dawn Young
15 Feb 2018 . 1 min read

Formal Dress for Women: Read before purchasing anything


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So you've got that dream job in a corporate office or you're a woman entrepreneur and have a business meeting and you are looking for a formal dress?

Shopping one of them is just a click away but do you really understand what you will wear and some of the situations often we women face while wearing a formal dress?

(Bookmark this page as you will not remember all of these dressing tips a women should always know.)

Coming to the concern, what do you wear in your office or corporate setting?

It depends on many factors, like your mode of transport to the workplace, weather, your type of job, but most importantly, your comfort.

With exposure to social media and the internet, finding variety isn't a challenge. The challenge is to identify what suits you best and what is appropriate at the workplace.

It may sound very obvious, but women often get it wrong.

“If your clothes are too big or too small, they are not going to look good. Ensuring a proper fit applies to everything you are wearing”

Let’s look at some options for formal wear that you can wear in your office:

Formal Dress for a lady who takes public transport

If you're a professional who has to travel by public transport, in a city like say, Bombay or Delhi, chances are that by the time you get off that train or bus, your clothes will be crumpled and messy.

It would not be formal anymore...

So it's important to wear wrinkle proof material like polyester for example. Wear Plolyester formal blouses with a formal pair of trousers or a knee length skirt.

(Read: Do you dress to Impress or Express?)

A business dress for that all important meeting is also a good option if you're travelling by car or cab. Choose classic colours like navy, grey, ivory, peach and black in a corporate setting for a presentation but if you are an entrepreneur or if your organisation is more liberal, you can go with brighter colors too but be aware that the bright color looks formal.

Although cotton and linen keep you cool, they are not wrinkle free, so what many women do is carry them in their bags and change dress at work.

Traditional Indian formal wear for women

Lets look at some traditional Indian work wear. There are some funky options that look Indian and classy.

  • Jackets are in. There are so many varieties of formal indian traditional jackets.

  • You can wear a tunic with slim, tapered pants. These are available both in formal and casual wear. Try before purchasing.

  • Salwaar suits are comfortable or Kurtas with leggings that stretch and keep you comfortable all day. Indian frofessionals prefer them over all kind of formals.

  • Silk Sarees are the epitome of classy business Indian wear & if you can carry it off, nothing like it!

What to avoid in Indian formals

  • See through blouses or shirts

  • Low Necks & Deep Backs

  • A lot of companies have dress codes that don't look favourably on sleeveless clothes for women

Business Casual are still formal dress

Remember though: Business casual means different things in different companies! Always ensure you check.

Casual Attire Do's and Don'ts

  • Generally, any clothing that reveals cleavage, stomachs or thighs is unacceptable.

  • Flip-flops, sundresses, short skirts and midriffs are not considered acceptable office attire

  • Sleeveless, strappy tops are also not appropriate

  • A safer bet for women's business casual clothing consists of restrained makeup, jewelry and hair styles.

  • Tailored knit sweater and pant sets are good choices during winter, and cotton or linen coordinates can be worn in summer.

  • Conservative dresses and skirts are also acceptable attire.

  • Leggings and Capris are not mostly acceptable at the workplace in some organisations

Either way, make sure that you check your company dress code policies, although in any organisation it isn't cool to expose your underwear or skin no matter how 'in' it is!

Things to keep in mind while purchasing business formal dress

Some things to keep in mind when buying or wearing business formals like pant - suits are:

  • Pantsuits should be tailored well and not too loose or tight.

  • If you're wearing a skirt, it should be not too tight but well fitting and knee length. Skirts that are too short will make you uncomfortable if you have to sit for long periods, not to mention that they are considered unprofessional in a corporate setting.

Read: Dress like you mean business!

Foot essentials with formal dress

A lot of people judge woomen by footwear choice. If you're dressed like a queen from the top and then wear inappropriate or dirty footwear, all the dress impression is wasted.

Formal shoes with suits

Wear sensible wedges for some added height or to prevent your trousers from getting dirty or even flat, closed toe shoes if the length of your trousers if ankle length.

Wear stilettoes only if you can carry them off or your walk will look awkward and you might twist your leg or even slip and hurt yourself. Please also keep in mind that stilettoes are uncomfortable and unhealthy for your spine.

Block heels are a good option. They give you balance.

Ankle length boots look uber cool with denim on a Friday. Some organisations don't allow sports shoes with denim even on a Friday, so again..check your policies.

Formal shoes for traditional Indian dress of women

Flat sandals are comfy. You can wear heels if only comfortable.

Whatever your footwear, keep them neat and polished. Torn shoes are a huge disaster.

While we're giving a lot of importance to clothes and shoes, we must not forget accessories.

Formal handbags with formal women dresses

Options are endless. Tote's are in these days because you can dump a whole lotta stuff in them.

Choose a handbag or purse that goes with multiple outfits. If you have to travel by public transport, carry a handbag with a zip for anti-thief protection.

Buy colors that you can mix and match with various colored clothes. You could experiment with colors too. Red's are nice.

These days laptop bags are available in funky colors. You can experiment with them too.

Accessories with formal wear for a women

If you love jewellery, wear small earrings and a matching chain with a slim pendant for business formals. A matching bangle or bracelet will also add some zing to a plain outfit.

A classy watch adds panache to any outfit. So if you're investing in something slightly expensive , buy a watch that will match with Indian and Western wear.

Scarves : A trend that is fast catching on are scarves with suits and even dresses or blouses. A scarf will add color and class to a plain white shirt or blouse worn over denim or a solid colored dres.

Formal dressing as per a women's body type

If you have an hourglass figure:

It means you're curvy without being too skinny or too chubby, you're a lucky lady. You can wear almost anything! Stay away from stuff that's too loose because you wnna flaunt those curves, not hide them!

You will be able to carry off straight fitting skirt perfectly well. Jersey dresses are amazing, because they will caress your curves in all the right places.

If you're skinny women:

Avoid dresses that fall straight as they will look like a gunny sack on you. Deep V necklines are the best. Avoid dresses that will add layers around your waist though; those are unflattering. Enhance your bust with a low neck and some bling.

Short legs and a tummy:

Steer clear of Princess cut styles. It will enhance your stomach. An empire style is the best for women with this body type. Make sure the fabric does not stick to the stomach.

Layers are great for women with a tummy. No gathering of material anywhere. Dresses with vertical styles and prints are the best.

A long jacket is best because it will break up the shortness of your shape.

Read: 3 tips to boost your career to next level.

If you're big busted:

You're envied!! Choose a wide V neckline and short sleeves to enhance your figure. An Empire style will look good on big busted women with light material. This figure is the classic 36-24-36 .

If you're the dreaded PEAR shaped:

It means you have large hips. The Empire style is perfect for the pear shaped woman. This style will have clothes with a high bodice and a free flowing skirt in an A line past your waist and hips.

Avoid material that sticks. Off shoulder blouses, sweetheart necks and deep round necklines are best for evening wear. Do not wear dresses with gathered waistlines.

We hope these tips have helped you. Write to us and share some tips of your own. Happy Dressing!!


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Dawn Young
Passionate about food, people and writing , I also dream of someday owning my own academy to train young professionals in the art of customer service, dealing with international clients and being able to communicate effectively in English. An extrovert on weekdays and an introvert on weekends , I spend a lot of time writing about relationships and things that touch my soul.

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