You’ve been invited to a house party. Yay! But before you can truly get excited there’s that dreaded problem that needs solving: what to wear? Do you go for a party dress or opt for trousers to keep comfortable? Do you totter in proper heels or sensible carpet-appropriate flats? There are so many choices to make.
Whether you’re going to be surrounded by friends or mingling with new faces, you want an outfit that will make an impression without looking like you’re showing off. Our ultimate guide to dressing for a house party will take you through the best house party outfit ideas suited to all seasons and dress codes, as well as special occasions such as birthdays, engagements and New Year’s Eve. So, enough worrying and on to the fun!
What To Wear To A Casual Party
A casual house party dress code is most likely to be adopted for catch-ups with the girls where you relax, gossip and bond over a few glasses of wine. There’s no worry over impressing members of the opposite sex or pressure to make new friends.
However, you do want to make a bit of an effort to make sure you all stay in a celebratory party mood, otherwise the evening might turn into something of a more general gathering. This is where the balance between comfortable and cute party outfits gets confusing. The best casual party outfits mix elements of both, pairing a pretty dress with a cardigan, for example.
Casual Party Outfits: Playsuit
A playsuit is a great choice for a casual house party outfit. With both comfort and style in mind, this piece is a winner. Plus, you won’t have the headache of wondering what to wear it with.
Casual Party Outfits: Blouse & Jeans
The perfect combination of smart yet casual. A smart blouse will ensure more of a party-appropriate look, whereas a pair of jeans will keep you comfortable as you sit back and relax at your friend’s place.
Casual Party Outfits: Accessories
One way of turning a casual outfit from everyday to house party appropriate is with the simple addition of a few nice accessories. Add a statement necklace to your t-shirt and jeans ensemble and you’ve got that touch of sparkle you need.
What To Wear To A Formal House Party
For a sophisticated do you want to look smart, but not business-like. Choose soft clean lines and silhouettes, and it’s usually best to stay away from fussy prints. To add that party factor, mix classic and neutral colours with something more colourful.
You’re probably going to want to wear heels for this look (read on for our guide on what shoes to wear to a party). Think ladylike with personality – it is a party, after all.
Formal Party Outfits: Dress
To make sure your formal dress is suitable for a party, inject a bit colour or embellishment. Whether this is through the dress itself or in the form of an accessory, you want to bring out your fun side.
Formal Party Outfits: Jumpsuit
A more sophisticated take on the playsuit, the jumpsuit can look super elegant and modern. Go for something with an interesting detail or cut; a ruffle, for example, is more fun, less prim-and-proper. If you want to be particularly on-trend, this season is all about the wide leg or culottes.
Formal Party Outfits: Blouse & Skirt
Nothing says lady like a classic skirt. For formal occasions keep your skirt mid-length to avoid a fashion faux pas. Pair with a stylish blouse for out-of-office appeal.
What To Wear To A House Party at Christmas & New Year
These big party occasions are a time to bring out your glamorous side. You want to make it look like you’re going out, but not ‘out-out’. No crazy club lights and dark rooms here, so you can’t get away with micro minis and skyscraper heels. Choose something with a bit of dazzle but tone it down by wearing less make-up than you’d wear if you were heading to a club.
Christmas & New Year’s Eve Party Outfits: Shimmer
Being party-glam can include anything from sequins and glitter, to silk or satin fabrics that have a slight sheen to them. Take your pick!
Christmas & New Year’s Eve Party Outfits: Sheer
Sheer panelling not only looks great but also is more modest than showing off too much skin.
What To Wear To A House Party In Spring / Summer
The spring and summer seasons are just asking for light pastels, prints and floaty fabrics. Not only do light colours look great against the flowers and blue sky, but also they help keep you cool by not absorbing as much heat as darker colours.
Since you may find yourself venturing outside to the garden, it might be handy to bring a lightweight layer to wear over your outfit as well, as our weather can be a little unpredictable.
Spring / Summer Party Outfits: Pastels
If you’re attending a party in the daytime or afternoon these colours are perfect whilst the sun’s out. The great thing about pastels is that they suit every skin tone. Dress the season in these sugary hues.
Spring / Summer Party Outfits: Bold Colour
For an evening event, go bold in bright and eye-catching tones.
Spring / Summer Party Outfits: Prints
When you think of spring / summer prints, images of ditsy florals and dreamy patterns come to mind.
What To Wear To A House Party In Autumn / Winter
The autumn and winter months call for deep, rich colours and thicker fabrics like leather.
Autumn / Winter House Party Outfits
Earthy colours look great in autumn, and winter is well suited to jewel tones. Wear tactile fabrics such as velvet or suede.
Autumn / Winter House Party Layering
You may want to opt for layers that do more to keep you warm. Think trousers and the addition of a soft blazer.
What To Wear To An Engagement Party at a House
Similar to a formal house party dress code, except engagement parties call for a slightly softer approach, whether that’s achieved through the fabrics, prints or colours.
Engagement House Party Dresses
A dress is the classic choice for an engagement party. You may want to stay clear of white, but soft pastels and light colours work well. Opt for silk and chiffon fabrics and think pretty when it comes to print.
Engagement House Party Alternative Outfits
Why not break the mould and go for an alternative to the traditional dresses that dominate an engagement party? Try out a pair of trousers or jumpsuit.
Shoes To Wear To A House Party
When it comes to party shoes you’re probably used to bringing out your fanciest pair. At a house party, however, you don’t want to be awkwardly trying to balance on carpet or trying not to scratch a wooden floor.
You may even find that you’re asked to take your shoes off at the door, in which case the fancy heels won’t get their time to shine anyway. And no one wants to end up having their Manolo shoes stolen å la SATC’s Carrie Bradshaw…
Try out these stylish but sturdy options instead, or go with fail proof ballet flats.
Your Quick Guide On What To Wear To A House Party
Keep these quick tips in mind when you’re invited to your next house party and you’ll save yourself a lot of hassle:
- For a casual house party keep it comfortable but smart in a pair of jeans and a blouse. Use statement accessories to bring an element of ‘party’ to your outfit.
- A more formal party calls for soft, clean lines with a hint of colour as an accent.
- Big occasions such as Christmas or New Year’s Eve are the time to bring out your glamorous side in something that glistens. Go full-on in sequins, or subtle with sheen.
- The spring and summer months are well suited to the extremes: light pastels or hot bold colour. This season is also a great time to wear prints.
- In autumn and winter the tone is more subdued. Wear rich colour, jewel tones and tactile fabrics such as velvet or suede.
- Add layers, such as a soft blazer, in the colder months, or opt for trousers over a dress or skirt.
- Choose soft fabrics and colours for an engagement party. Dresses are the classic choice but try trousers or a jumpsuit if you’re feeling an alternative mood.
- It’s best to keep away from stilettos when it comes to your shoes. For one, you don’t want to ruin your friend’s flooring, and for two, you may be asked to leave your shoes at the door anyway. Instead, go for platforms or flats. Easy to take off and floor-friendly.
What to Wear to a House Party: Final Note
Hopefully this guide has given you a clearer idea on how to be house party appropriate, whatever the occasion or dress code. Next time you need to put together a house party outfit, use this definitive guide for hassle-free dressing!
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