Dressed for the Occasion: Are Dress Codes Going Out of Fashion?

Here at Little Mistress, we want you to be as prepared as possible for the party season. We’ve all been there, an invitation pops through the post with a little note about the dress code and your group chat goes crazy with screenshot dresses and wild ideas about what exactly the dress code means. Before you know it, you’ve spent double your budget and end up with a pile of dresses that don’t quite fit in with any of the dress codes you were hoping for!

The truth is, nowadays dress codes aren’t something the ordinary gal is prepared for. Outside watching celebrity awards shows, we’re not used to dealing with a dress code other than “turn up looking amazing and dance the night away”. Around the notorious autumn/winter party season, hosts can get a little over excited and decide that their event needs something a little extra special. Enter the Dress Code.

But what does this Dress Code actually involve? Sure, they’ve specified Black Tie, but in a contemporary and fashion forward society, aren’t we encouraged to break the rules a little? We think it’s time that dress codes got a style update, to do what many of our favourite fashion designers do so well and take the traditional dress codes but offer a modern, Little Mistress style twist.

Whether you’re heading to a works-do that’s asked for all the fashionable trimmings or a swanky party with an exclusive guest list, Little Mistress has got you covered. We’ve put together some handy style guides to help you nail the dress code and still produce a show stopping outfit worthy of the red carpet itself…

Black Tie

Black Tie Occasion Dress

A classic choice for hosts looking to add a sense of elegance to their occasion, black tie is the most formal choice for party-goers. To complete the classic Black Tie look, make sure that you choose a floor length maxi dress to give that upper class, chic gown look. Don’t choose an all-out ball gown – hold up, Cinderella. You should keep things sleek and simple, choosing either a block colour or a dress with tasteful embellishments.

The last thing to remember is that just because the dress code is called black tie, this doesn’t mean you have to be dressed in black (or wear a tie)! Make sure that you’ve got your fanciest heels on and choose the most glamorous handbag from your collection for this occasion.

For the twist? Try to choose a dress with some glamorous sequin panelling to make your look extra special.


Black Tie Optional

Black Tie Optional Occasion Dress

When the host wants their occasion to be elegant, but doesn’t want the atmosphere to be overly formal, they’ll often opt for a black tie optional dress code. While this is a more relaxed code than the traditional black tie, it can be tricky to strike that balance between a formal dress and a cocktail dress.

We suggest choosing an ankle grazing dress to break up the formality. For a twist, why not break away from tradition by seeking out style elements such as a halterneck or split hem?

If your chosen dress is leaning a little too much towards the informal side, make sure that you accessorise to impress with an elegant heel and embellished handbag to contribute to the sense of occasion.


Creative Black Tie

Creative Black Tie Occasion Dress

This is where things can get really interesting. Fantastic news for the amateur designers among you, the creative black tie trend is most often seen worn by celebrities wearing stunning designer creations. The look is easy enough to create from home, but it may take a little customisation so if your sewing skills aren’t up to scratch make sure you grab a pal that can help you out!

The idea is to break away completely from the traditional black tie look while maintaining the high class elegance of the occasion. You’re expected to take your outfit to the next level, making it a unique and contemporary look. Sometimes the host will provide a theme, but if not feel free to let your imagination run wild with style ideas.

For example, you could look at the colours on your chosen dress and customise the outfit by adding feathers, ornamental flowers or other embellishments in complementary colours to the body, skirt or train of the dress for an instantly high fashion look. The twist can be whatever you like! Just make sure you keep it fancy and not fancy dress…


Cocktail Occasion Dress

You may not have called it a cocktail dress code before, but this is the standard code for any party that isn’t just you and girls having a few drinks before the club. This dress code calls for a more revealing (but not too much – let’s keep things classy) above the knee number worn with high heels and a chic clutch bag. Add your twist by choosing a dress in an on-trend metallic or luxurious velvet.

If you simply can’t choose between outfits, this is where your little black dress collection will come in handy! Your outfit should look party-ready, and sophisticated without being too formal. Think slinking around the dance floor with a martini in one hand and you’re on the right style page for this party.



Festive Occasion Dress

We’d be willing to bet that you’ll get at least one invitation to a Christmas party with a Festive dress code this year. If you’re sweating over what exactly classes as a Festive look, it’s much simpler that you think and definitely doesn’t require you to buy a Christmas jumper and transform it into a Festive ball gown!

This party will require a cocktail dress with a seasonal theme. Festive colours such as red, green & gold, tartan patterns and sequinned dresses are what’s needed here. You don’t need to go overboard by including all of these festive elements, but one or two at most will make sure that you’re in line with the dress code and turning heads for all the right reasons.

Why not add a little festive feature to your outfit for an on-theme style twist? Pin on some seasonal holly, or some mistletoe for a flirty addition.


However you choose to style yourself this party season, the moral of the story is that you should do you. Don’t get hung up on the dress codes, be brave and bold with your fashion choices and try to add little style twists that’ll make you stand out from the crowd. Some rules were made to be broken, and we at Little Mistress think Dress Codes are there to be challenged and offer the perfect opportunity to show off your style skills. Be beautiful, be you and get creative this season with Little Mistress.