Whenever I Go Out for Dinner, I'll Turn to One of These 5 Easy Outfit Formulas

Joy Montgomery

Whether you live in a city or the dark depths of the countryside, dressing for dinner seems to be one of those style dilemmas that everyone faces on a semi-regular basis. Obviously your considerations vary according to the people you're with, the setting and occasion at hand, but overall, there seem to be the a few universal requirements: You want something that will feel polished, but not too try-hard, on-trend but also comfortable. Easier said that done, right?

On Joy Montgomery: Rixo blouse; L'agence velvet flares; Wandler bag

I'm one of those weird people who secretly loves any excuse to get dressed up (see above for evidence), and luckily my job presents plenty of opportunities to don my glad rags, whether it's for a collection launch or press dinner. This has meant that over the last few years, I've refined the art of dinner dressing and have distilled it down to five formulas I return to time and time again.

I've tried to include a selection of looks that can be adapted to all occasions, but fundamentally, they all reflect my love for '70s styling and reluctance to go too glam. I generally like to balance out any classically feminine pieces with boxy tailoring or casual separates, such as a white tee. Scroll down to see my full list of dinner-ready outfit formulas.

Dressed-Down Suit

Style Notes: Alexa Chung is probably one of my main muses when it comes to laid-back party dressing. I always enjoy the way she combines androgynous tailoring with retro silhouettes, as seen in this dreamy suit, which she dresses down with a white slogan tee.

Sara Battaglia Double-Breasted Cotton-Blend Jumbo Corduroy Jacket (£850)

Racil Ziggy Flared Moiré Trousers (£435)

Monki Soft Cotton Tee (£8)

Gucci Marmont Fringed Suede Loafers (£540)

Organza Blouse and Jeans

Style Notes: An organza blouse seems to be the influencers going-out top of choice this season, and thankfully there are plenty of affordable iterations out there. I'm a little obsessed with this green Zara blouse. I'd tuck it into pair of high-waisted flares à la Ada.

Zara Organza Blouse With Bow Detail (£30)

AG Jeans Mid-Rise Flared Jeans (£115)

Topshop Babe Snake Heeled Boots (£39)

Miniskirt and High-Neck Top

Style Notes: This is probably not a formula I would go for on a regular basis, but I might bring it out every once in a while if I fancy something more preppy. I'd style the miniskirt with sheer black tights and pointed low heels to elongate the legs, then balance it out with a high-neck knit.

Ganni Julliard Mohair and Wool-Blend Sweater (£175)

Gucci Tweed Check A-Line Skirt (£890)

ASOS Design Wide Fit Stardust Pointed Mid-Heels in Black Croc (£35)

Statement Skirt and White Tee

Style Notes: If you want to up the ante with minimal effort, reach for the sequins. These statement-making skirts were huge over Christmas, and I've kept hold of mine to bring out for those more formal events. Pair yours with a white tee to avoid looking too OTT.


Arket Crew-Neck T-Shirt (£12)

& Other Stories Sequin Fringe Pencil Skirt (£69)

Zara Mid-Heel Strappy Leather Sandals (£56)

Slip Dress and Blazer

Style Notes: The recent trend for satin pieces (think slip skirts and dresses) lends itself perfectly to a dinner context. A calf-grazing slip dress feels infinitely chicer when layered under a boxy blazer and black headband. It's all about mixing up your textures.

Topshop Ivory Jacket (£39)

Orseund Iris Ruched Satin Dress (£755)

Topshop Velvet Knot Headband (£10)

Up Next: 4 Stylish Women Just Told Me What They Want to Buy for Party Season

This article originally appeared on Who What Wear

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