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What are the Types of Dresses by Occasion?

dress for special occasion
How to choose the proper dress

It can be a difficult task to find the perfect outfit for the day or the occasion. Even fashion enthusiasts who are experienced can feel overwhelmed in choosing frocks that are perfect for themselves and their lifestyle. This page lists the best dresses that women can choose from for easy shopping. Complete with names this guide helps you choose a suitable dress for any occasion and complementing your dress style. The main varieties are:

1. Weddings

Weddings are a very special category of events, and choosing your outfit depends largely on your role in the ceremony - are you the bride, a bridesmaid, a mother of the bride or groom, or a guest. Below we have outlined what are the appropriate attires for each role.

The Bridal dress

This is the dress worn by the bride on one of the most significant events in her life - her wedding day. Thus, the wedding gowns are among the most special garments for any woman, charged with so much emotion. A wedding dress is hard to miss - it's usually white or off-white, with floor length skirt, very lavish with lace, pearls and crystals. The typical bridal dress is rich and flared, however there are actually many types of dresses on wedding, the main being: Ballgown, A-Line, Mermaid dress, Trumpet, Sheath, Tea length dress and Mini. Although some bridal gowns have long sleeves, most are with bare shoulders, one shoulder dress, strapless dress styles, halterneck options and more, exposing and underlining the most feminine features. We are particularly fond of the lace wedding dress style, as it portrays purity and gentleness.

How to choose your wedding dress? We will discuss in a separate topic in detail, but the main points you need to think about are:

  • How do you picture yourself on your wedding day? Most of us have an idea since childhood, but try to picture the whole event with details and see if it'll match;
  • Get a consultation if your body type is suitable for the dress you desire;
  • Consider what will the weather be and will the celebration be outside or inside?
  • What type of celebration do you plan, and would it require a special outfit for the bride?
  • What is your budget for the bridal dress?

We offer a selection of bridal gowns of a wide price range - find the cheapest bridal dresses on our site, or filter by price based on your budget.


Traditionally, the bride selects the outfit for the bridesmaids (although it’s likely that each bridesmaid will cover the costs for her costume). Usually, it would be a long and gentle sleeveless dress, matching the colors of the event, however it may be just as much anything depending on the wedding’s theme. From cartoon characters to almost naked look, we’ve seen it all. Some brides would allow for the bridesmaids to choose the exact model, just setting the main requirements such as color and length. If you are a bride, looking for options for your maids of honor, or are shopping for yourself, check out our variants for bridesmaids’ dresses:

Dresses for weddings guests

The lady guests of a wedding need to select their attire carefully. It's expected that they would wear a dress, and sometimes there is a theme color of the event that is advisory to conform to. The dresses to wear to weddings for guests should not be to lavish, and not overshadow the bride's. Depending on the season, choose a fall wedding dresses for guests, or dresses for guest at summer wedding. Suitable are short or midi dresses, although if the party is planned to be more formal, a long gown may be the best match. We've got them all, so just browse by color and style to select the right outfit for this event.

Mother of the bride dresses & mother of the groom dresses

The second most important ladies should also wear special attire for this one-in-a-lifetime event for their precious children. Although they don't usually get as much attention as the bridesmaids, it is a custom that the mothers get a new outfit for the ceremony. Various types of mother of the bride dresses and mother of the groom dresses are offered, such as mother of the bride dresses tea length, plus size mother of the bride dresses, models that hide belly fat, or petite size outfits. Some go for unusual and memorable styles for attention grabbing.

2. Cocktail and Party Dresses

The emergence of the cocktail dress represents an extraordinary time of historic significance and a pivotal moment for the ladies. It was during the 1920s that female leaders began to break from past restrictions and took a major step towards a more equitable society. Women began resisting the skirted dress and buttoned dresses. Their behavior broke fashion standards with their short hems at public events. The cocktail or party dress reflects changing conventions and is still a very popular fashion item.

The cocktail dress is typically a more formal and ornate, with decorations, prints or extravagant shapes, to distinguish it from the day dresses. Usually a sleeveless dress, although long lace or tulle sleeves are also popular, or a strapless dress, with short to mid length. The cocktail dress may be with a pencil skirt, flared, or an asymmetrical cut. So many variations exist, with an array of colors, shapes and skirt types! Of course, the shoes and accessories combined with the outfit are of great significance. Select a proper clutch and matching high heeled shoes or sandals, add appropriate jewelry, and you're all set to conquer the event.

If you're up for a party and choosing a cocktail dress, make sure it's with the current fashion trends. Although many are with a more universal style, it really makes an impression when the garment is out of fashion.

3. Formal Events

The formal events require a really exquisite dressing, outfits that can't be seen on the streets or in the mall. There are three (3) main types of formal events: white-tie, which is the most formal, black-tie and creative black-tie (the least formal event type).

The ballgowns are suited for white-tie and black-tie events and proms, and are more seldomly worn. The common formal dress styles are characterized by floor-length skirts that may be fitted, flared, mermaid silhouette style, A-Line, sheath, or empire waist. For the bodice, very popular are the off shoulder and V-necks, just to name a couple.

When selecting a formal dress, pay attention to the material. Avoid easily wrinkled fabrics, as this may ruin the entire look. Velvet, Georgette, chiffon and satin are widely used for formal dresses, while the synthetics are not recommended.

Maria-Lucia-Hohan-Eden formal dress
Maria Lucia Hohan Eden formal dress

4. Day Dresses

As the name implies, these are types of dresses worn in the day time. In this category are included all types of casual dresses, such as the apron dress, tent dress, t-shirt dress, sweater dress, wrap dress, the shirt dresses, a loose fitting dress, and more. The various options of a sun dress, the boho chic models, maxi dress, tunic dress and the like, mostly worn on vacations, are day dresses too.

Although more elegant and formal, the office and business dresses also come under this category as they are appropriate for a day attire.

These types of dresses are not so dependent on the fashion trends. Of course, slight variations occur in the models, materials and colors, depending on the current vogue, but most of them may be sported over the years and decades, especially those suited for casual wear.

Want a full list of dress types?

Read our comprehensive list of dress types by style.

If struggling to choose a handbag, get ideas by reading the designer bag classics.

For advice on outfit color coordination read here.

Please note we promote third party products. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn a commossion.

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