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What Is A “Formal Dress”?
If you see “formal” listed under the dress code, you might be wondering what that means exactly. Well, formal or evening dresses can take a variety of forms, fabrics, and silhouettes, as it’s a general term for all kinds of clothing that are appropriate for formal events. It could also be called “black tie”, “black tie optional”, or “white tie”.
For women, this usually refers to floor-length gowns, a pair of heels, and jewellery. Even more formal occasions might call for gloves as well. However, as dress codes are a little bit more lax nowadays, you might be able to get away with mid-length or even cocktail dresses, as long as the rest of your ensemble is appropriate.
When Is It Appropriate To Wear Formal Dresses?
Obviously, formal dresses are appropriate when they’re specifically required, but sometimes you aren’t given a heads-up on what to wear to a particular event. When in doubt, always dress up – it’s better to be overdressed than underdressed! You could also ask the event organiser or host about what they’re wearing to the event, and use that as a benchmark.
In general, charity balls and galas (like the Met Gala) require formal wear. Most weddings are also formal events, unless it’s an outdoor, beach, or casual ceremony. School formals and dances usually invite students to come in their best dress, so ball gowns and maxi dresses are welcome.
The Top Formal Dresses In Canberra
Long Red Evening Formal Dress
Store/Designer: Marie Australia
Look like a literal celebrity with Marie Australia, an online boutique that gives you the latest fashion trends for a cheap price. Whether you’re petite or plus size, you’ll find a great dress among their HUGE selection. And you can customise the colours too!
Charlotte Off Shoulder Dress
Store/Designer: Glam Corner
Glam Corner is a dress-for-hire service, which means that you don’t get to take that gorgeous dress home. BUT you can wear expensive designer digs for a fraction of the cost! GC offers both one-time rentals and a membership service that allows you to pick new styles every month.
A-Line V-Neck Asymmetrical Chiffon Dress
Store/Designer: JJ’s House
The problem with many formal dress boutiques is that their designs can feel “too young”, which makes them a bit inappropriate for older women. JJ’s House offers age-appropriate yet still glamorous dresses for all occasions – just check out their Mother of the Bride dresses!
Store/Designer: Annabel’s Bridal Studio
This bridal shop is proud to stock only Australian designers like Bari Jay and Nicolina. So whether you’re a bridesmaid or simply a friend of the bride, you should definitely check out Annabel’s Bridal Studio for your next formal dress.
Jondon JJ Dress
Store/Designer: Canberra Couture
Another luxury dress hire, Canberra Couture offers big brand names at budget prices. And if the low cost isn’t low enough, you can even use Afterpay to stagger the payments into four easy instalments!
Carmel Square Neck Gown
Store/Designer: Forever New
Find this beautiful dress boutique at the Canberra Centre, where you can shop formal dresses and so much more. Their dresses come in a wide range of styles, so you’re sure to find something no matter the occasion.
This Fyshwick-based shop is practically famous in Canberra. With a huge selection of designs (some of which are exclusive to Enchante), there’s no excuse not to check it out.
Nadine Merabi Stella Gown
Store/Designer: Dress for a Night
Hundred-dollar designer dresses? Yes, it’s real. With Dress for a Night, one of the biggest dress rental services in the country, you too can have your own red carpet moment without breaking the bank!
Off-Shoulder Ruffled Gown
Store/Designer: Ferrari Formalwear
Most cheap online boutiques have a curatorship problem – they have a large selection of dresses, sure, but you have to wade through dozens of duds before you find the right one. Ferrari Formalwear is the exact opposite – all gorgeous, high-quality dresses with no fluff!
Don’t let a formal dress code launch you into a panic – getting all glammed up should be a fun and exciting experience! So to save yourself some stress (and time and money), just check out these formal dresses in Canberra. You’re sure to look fabulous at your next big event.