Too long. Too short. Too monochromatic. Too many patterns. This is you and every other sister when formal approaches. The location of this inner monologue may change, be it a thrift shop, a high end boutique, or your roommate’s closet, but we all feel this way when formal comes around. Formal is the one night when people take hundreds of photos of you and post them on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and every other social media platform.
Finding a dress sets the entire tone for your evening, and it’s a pretty loaded decision. Are you flying solo or taking a date? If you’re going by yourself, own it and dress fiercely, but still like a lady. With a date, you can either dress like the ultimate power couple or go as the low key duo who shakes up the dance floor.
But it all comes back to the dress. If your date turns out to be a jerk, or your best friend drinks too much, or drama happens (which it undoubtedly will) you’ll end up hearing those stories over and over again. However, you can redeem the evening in your memory–and that of your sisters–if you wear the correct dress.
To begin your search for the perfect dress, start with the image you wish to convey. Do you want to come off as drop dead gorgeous? Innocent and angelic? Sparkly and fun? Each of these themes corresponds with a set of colors, and deciding upon the perfect color is the next step to formal night success.
Before hunting down a perfect pale pink gown because that color is absolutely to die for, you should perform two simple color tests on yourself. First, find some gold fabric and some silver fabric. Once you’ve found each color, place the swatches on your skin. The color that makes you look paler or more sallow is not the best color for you.
Secondly, it is important to know that every color has a yellow or a blue undertone in it, and whichever undertone compliments you best will help you eliminate less flattering colors. When you go shopping, carry a slip of royal blue paper and bright yellow paper with you. Hold each piece of paper up to the clothes you like while shopping and look to see which undertone corresponds with it. It can sometimes take a while to identify the undertones, but once you do become familiar with the practice, you’ll be able to do it on sight alone. Usually, but not always, if you find you look better with silver jewelry, you will tend to look better in fabrics with a blue undertone: mint green, royal blue, burgundy, cardinal red, and dark purple are all relatively safe bets. Those who glow under the light of gold tend to prefer lighter colors, such as white, cream, gray, sky blue, or dusty rose.
These tests are not meant to limit your style choices, but simply to enhance your satisfaction with shopping. They’ll also help you expand your wardrobe. You are definitely able to wear a light pink t-shirt even if you’re more suited to darker tones–you’ll just have to accessorize your outfit with a scarf or a necklace. The color that is closest to your face has the largest impact on your entire outfit. Be hip, chic, and on top of your style game with these handy formal tips that are sure to make your style the talk of Greek Row.