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How to Wear a Pantsuit to a Formal Event

by Jennifer Blair

When you're dressing for a formal event, ballgowns and cocktail dresses are usually the go-to option. But if you're tired of fussy dresses, you may want to consider wearing a suit to your next special occasion event. While pantsuits may seem like strictly office wear, you can easily dress one up for a sleek, sexy look that's sure to make you stand out at a wedding or other formal event. The key is choosing the right style for your pantsuit and pairing it with pieces that add a little glamour and elegance.

Pay Attention to Style

Choosing the right pantsuit is the easiest way to look dressed up for a formal event. Instead of a suit in wool, tweed, linen or another traditional material, select one made from a more striking fabric. A velvet pantsuit is an ideal option for a winter wedding or other formal occasion. You can also opt for a suit with satin details to mimic a tuxedo – satin lapels and a satin stripe down the sides of the pants creates an elegant look. Styles that feature striking details such as fishtail hem on the jacket also work well for a formal event.

Wear a Statement Top

Whether you’re wearing a fancy velvet suit or the plain black pantsuit that you wear to the office, pairing it the right top can help dress it up for a formal occasion. Instead of a plain blouse or shell, opt for a tank top or camisole with embellishments like sequins or beads. A delicate lace tank or camisole can also work well. If you’re really feeling daring, though, skip the undershirt all together and let your jacket create a plunging neckline – if your jacket gapes open too much, use discrete safety pins to hold it closed.

Go Bold with Jewelry

A few well-chosen pieces of jewelry can help dress up a pantsuit for a formal event. Adding a large brooch to the jacket’s lapel with colorful rhinestones can instantly make your suit look fancier. A dramatic statement necklace also does the trick – try a bib style with rhinestones and pearls or a sexy rhinestone choker. If you’re wearing your hair in an updo, bold earrings like a chandelier style or a large drop style with pearls, diamonds or other gemstones can add a level of glamour to your ensemble.

Add Sexy Shoes

At the office, you can wear your pantsuit with a pair of simple leather pumps or boots in a neutral color for a polished look. At a formal occasion, though, you want to go bolder with your shoes. Satin heels have an elegant, dressed up look. A neutral color like black or gray can work well, but you can go bold by pairing a bright red pair of heels with a black suit or a silver pair with a navy suit. For a sexier look, try a pair of velvet peep toe heels with your suit or add shine with strappy metallic sandals in a silver or gold finish.

About the Author

Based in New York City, Jennifer Blair has been covering all things home and garden since 2001. Her writing has appeared on BobVila.com, World Lifestyle, and House Logic. Blair holds a Bachelor of Arts in Writing Seminars from the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland.

Photo Credits

  • Frazer Harrison/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images