How to Dress for an Engagement Party

Young couple at cocktail party

David De Lossy/Photodisc/Getty Images

Knowing how to dress for an engagement party can be a daunting task. A similar dress code to a wedding applies, but paying attention to the invitation will help guide you on how to select the appropriate attire. A few key things to look for include the formality -- or lack thereof -- of the invitation, the time of day, season and location. Keeping all of these things in mind will make wardrobe selections much easier.

Party Style for Women

Stick to a dark color palette like black, blue or eggplant for formal parties. Select fabrics that will not wrinkle like nylon, cotton or rayon, which are ideal for traveling. Wear a black cocktail dress no shorter than knee length with heels, stud earrings and a clutch. Stay away from plunging necklines or garments that may be too tight, since the attention should be on the bride. An updo goes well with this formal attire, but you can also try a sleek pony or a neat top bun. If the party is more casual, opt for a maxi dress in a pastel color. Style it with dressy sandals and a statement necklace. Keep the rest of your accessories simple.

The Guy Code

If the event happens to be more formal, go for a timeless style. Wear a well-fitted dark suit with a white shirt, dark tie and black brogue shoes. For a more casual engagement party, opt for a sport jacket with a pastel oxford shirt, khakis and penny loafers. Even though the event is more relaxed, avoid flip-flops and sneakers. Typically it's best to steer clear of jeans, but if you do opt to rock a pair, be sure the denim is dark and free of worn patches.