A modern way to plan your special occasion dressing.

Special occasion dressing 2022

Special occasion dressing seems to have disappeared from our wardrobe radar. Do we need to buy special occasion items as we plan our Summer outfits? Over the last few years, we have got so used to dressing more casually. We may be caught off balance when we receive an invitation for a wedding, garden party, christening or formal dinner.

Details of above:

Pale blue cotton broderie maxi dress MarksandSpencer || Pearl bracelet Oliver Bonas || Embellished soft red maxi dress MarksandSpencer || Satin trim tuxedo blazer Jigsaw || Satin trim tuxedo trousers Jigsaw || Semi-precious stone drop earrings Nordstrom || Pearl and crystal clutch bag Nordstrom || LK Bennett lavender coat at JohnLewis&Partners || Hobbs deep coral jacket at JohnLewis&Partners.

Details of above:

Pink satin look single-breasted blazer MarksandSpencer || Gold sandals Boden || Pink camisole Jigsaw at JohnLewis&Partners || Silver court shoes JohnLewis&Partners ||Floral button through midi dress MarksandSpencer || Cream silk camisole JohnLewis&Partners || Blue maxi skirt Jigsaw at JohnLewis&Partners.

For my US readers here is a link to the MarksandSpencer US site. They offer some excellent dresses.

My personal strategy is to buy clothes that can be dressed up or down. Nowadays trouser-suits are just as acceptable as skirts and dresses for “posh doos”. I have some off white silk shirts that complement my wide-leg trousers. I also have a couple of maxi dresses that can be dressed up or down depending on my accessories. A silky camisole can be slipped under a formal jacket.

I would love to know what your strategies are for dressing for special occasions these days. Do you buy special outfits or try and work with what you already have in your wardrobe?

A modern way to plan your special occasion dressing.

Other suggestions to inspire you.


  1. Francie
    18th May 2022 / 16:24

    A very relevant topic! For a cruise we’re going on in June, for which the cruise line specifies “formal” dress for some of the restaurants, I am planning to wear a navy blue J Crew cotton blend eyelet long sleeved dress, almost a midi, possibly with sheer black hose, and black flats, which my feet will allow. Other possibilities involve silky black palazzo pants with a simple satin top or an embroidered kimono-style jacket in pretty colors. Although I know they will be worn, I just cannot envision myself in an elegant long formal gown; it would feel inauthentic to me somehow, remembering “Dr. Franklin’s” admonishment to beware of any enterprise requiring new clothes! I just want to follow your suggestions, Josephine, to replenish one’s wardrobe with something good, not cheap, in becoming colors. Thank you for this post!

  2. 18th May 2022 / 16:45

    I have not had to wear formal evening attire for decades, and if I had to muster now, would rent. Your mention of a trouser suit is my preference; I love “le smoking”. A long, bright floral dress can be enchanting on others but I feel like a walking wallpaper sample book.

  3. Wendy Barton
    18th May 2022 / 17:03

    I really enjoyed reading that – there are some lovely pieces there. I have always struggled with dressing for occasions. I always try to buy something I know I’ll wear again but am never happy with my finished look. The older I become, the fewer occasions there seem to be so perhaps the problem will resolve itself!

  4. 20th May 2022 / 07:28

    I’m currently really struggling to find an outfit for my daughter’s civil partnership in August. First August is a tricky time weather wise, it could be sweltering but often here in the westcountry it’s overcast and cool. So I don’t want to be boiling in long sleeves but that means having a jacket or wrap on hand to cover cold arms if the weather is cool. And that’s before we get to finding the right outfit! The current crop of baggy florals are definitely not for me which takes out three quarters of the dresses in British shops at the moment. I’m thinking of a trouser suit but then there is the weather factor again, if it’s hot that gorgeous Me&Em pink tuxedo jacket would spend the day languishing on the back of a chair. Still as I remind myself frequently it’s a first world problem!

    • 20th May 2022 / 18:40

      Hi Maureen
      A trouser suit sounds good. You will probably wear the pieces again afterwards. I wore a trouser suit to my son’s wedding. It had a long line coat/jacket which I still wear.

  5. SarahW
    13th March 2023 / 12:22

    Great article and great ideas! In addition, there are some pieces of clothing that are suitable for many of the occasions mentioned above. For instance, I recently bought a slip silk dress that is perfect for a date, for the beach, a pool party, summer wedding, cocktail party, college reunion, etc. This dress turned out to be a great investment.

I love to hear from you please leave a comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Sign up for new posts

And don’t worry, you can unsubscribe at anytime.

Disclaimer: Products featured on Chicatanyage sometimes (but not always) include affiliate links. This means that a small referral commission may be paid to the retailer (at no extra cost to you). This contributes to the cost of maintaining this blog including Hosting fees etc. Chicatanyage could not exist without these small payments so thank you for your contribution.