Although they've appeared in many forms throughout history, today's dressy jumpsuits have modern cuts and fresh elements that keep this unique wardrobe item from looking like a throwback to another decade. If you're considering a one-piece option for a dressy occasion, you'll have a wide range of choices that are all a far cry from the original utilitarian garments of the 1940s and flashy suits from the 1960s and 1970s.
Where to Buy
Many department stores may have formal jumpsuits in the ladies' special-occasion wear section. You can also find a selection of styles at the following stores:
- Venus: Along with more playful styles, Venus offers several dressy styles. Try one of their slimming black versions of this trend, or go light and pretty in white or grey.
- Lulu's: This trendy boutique several styles of jumpsuits appropriate for special occasions; some are more classic in style, while some are modern or sexy.
- French Connection offers several simple, conservative styles that could be worn for evening events. The simple styles will allow you to be more creative with accessories.
- Dr. Jay's: Although most of the jumpsuits available here are on the casual end, this urban wear store does offer several dressier styles from Sean Jean, Dereon, or XOXO.
- Black Label Boutique: This high-fashion shop offers elegant choices in evening jumpsuits, perfect for a classy look.
Choosing a Style
There is a wide range of designs and style elements when it comes to a special-occasion jumpsuit. Consider the following details before you purchase:
- Neckline: Halter and strapless styles are popular and are perfect if you don't mind showing off your shoulders. If you want something with a little more coverage, you can also find styles with collars (typically with sleeved versions). Many jumpsuits also feature a v-neck top, which can be a good choice, since the v-neckline is almost universally flattering for women's figures.
- Fit: Some fancy jumpsuits are extremely slim-fitting, while others are very loose, with wide legs, flowing sleeves, and a boho-chic vibe. Many styles fall in between these two extremes, or they may have a fitted top and looser legs. Consider the occasion, since some styles, like a low-cut slim-fitting version may be out of place in a formal setting.
- Waist: Although a cinched waist is often a defining trait of a jumpsuit, not all styles do it the same. Many styles are belted, while others have stretchy elastic or smocked panels. The width if the waist also varies; some styles have a very thin, narrow belt, while others have a wide elastic belt or panel. A few styles don't have a belt or elastic at the waist; however, even then the cut of the suit is usually pulled in and fitted at the waist.
- Material: Some of the most popular materials for this piece include silk and silk blends, nylon or rayon blends, and jersey. You will also find other fabrics, however, including polyester blends, velvet, twill, satin, and cotton. Choose the fabric that fits best for the time of year and the occasion.
- Design elements: Details always make a difference with a garment, and when it comes to jumpsuits, expect to find style elements such as ruffles, pleats, sequins, and buttons. Choose a style that has details that draw attention to your best assets for the most flattering look. Solid colors are most popular for dressy styles, although some prints may be subtle enough to be worn for a special occasion.
Tips for Wearing a Dressy Jumpsuit
The style and level of embellishment will affect how you accessorize. A pair or heels and a great clutch are the go-to accessories for this garment, but you can also accessorize in other ways. A light wrap or dressy scarf will work well if you are wearing a strapless version. If your jumpsuit is a simple v-neck or sleeved version, a long necklace or earrings can add a dramatic touch. Keep in mind that the jumpsuit itself is a statement-making garment. You don't need to pile on accessories for an eye-catching look, and doing so can detract from an elegant image.
When to Wear
While you can wear this item to many special events, including dinners, parties, and, most evening events, there may be times when a jumpsuit is out of place. Consider carefully before you decide to wear a jumpsuit to a wedding; since it can be an attention-getting garment, some may feel it is inappropriate.
For formal occasions, choose long versions of jumpsuits rather than shorts. Although some short styles are made with fancy fabrics, the overall feel is usually too playful for a dressy event.
An Elegant Option
Dressy jumpsuits can be an elegant alternative to dresses or standard evening wear. Consider the style details, fabric, and fit, pair with the right accessories, and you'll have a unique statement item for your wardrobe to choose for a special event.