Dress codes can be difficult to navigate. From casual to formal – and everything in between – certain events require particular outfits and ways of dressing. The middle ground, though, is undoubtedly the trickiest area to cover. If you’ve ever been faced with the dreaded “smart-casual” dress code on an invitation, you’ll know what we mean. Especially if you have young girls.
In these instances, we instantly begin to wonder; how casual, how smart? What exactly does it mean? If this is a problem you’re finding yourself facing with your little one, don’t worry. This guide is here to give you all the information you need when it comes to finding those semi-formal dresses for juniors.
Whether it’s a cocktail party dress or birthday event outfit, our carefully selected top picks are here to help you navigate through the murky waters of semi-formal dressing. From girly to edgy, and accessories to match, you can ensure your little girl will be the belle of the ball.
Dive in with deep red
This wine-coloured deep red gown is the perfect mix of formal and refined. Relevant to the season, the classic Christmassy shade is ideal for the festive period but also the colder months more generally. Additionally, balloon-hemmed sleeves and a skater silhouette are a clever combination of simple and dramatic, while the knee-length hem is conservative and classy.
Skater skirts are great for all ages but the balloon sleeves are particularly well-suited to younger girls and provide a touch of flamboyance if you want it. Sticking to monochromatic looks or outfits that comprise a minimal number of different colours is also recommended if a bolder silhouette is in question. With juniors, simpler can be better, and lots of different colours, materials, fabrics and patterns can be overwhelming especially if the event at hand is only semi-formal.
A touch of tweed
On the more casual end of the spectrum, this navy check tweed dress is a subtle and sophisticated option that nails the semi-formal code.
Tweed is a classic fabric that never goes out of style and has long been associated with chicness and sophistication. With gold threads laced throughout the dark blue fabric of the dress, it’s a twist on the standard tweed trend which usually may be little dull on younger girls. The versatility of navy also means you can take it from casual to formal or anything in the middle.
What’s more, the Autumn/Winter 2019 runways were full to the brim with shades of blue, from navy to indigo, so your little girl will no doubt be on-trend whether at a cocktail party or an afternoon tea.
No wardrobe, no matter the season or style, is complete without a little black dress.
This black gown is the ultimate example; combining a perfect ratio of sophistication to sparkle, this is one that anyone can wear for a number of occasions.
The plain black satin body of the dress is refined and simple. However, the tulle layered skirt and row of glittering gold hearts adorning the waistband help it stand out and make it appropriate for any semi-formal event.
Read Marie Claire’s history of the LBD
Finish with some accessories
Your dress may be the most important part of the outfit, but no look is complete without some accessories to elevate it to the next level and add something extra. For the junior, pre-teen category, not all girls will want to carry a bag around, so something like a stylish headband or piece of statement jewellery can do the trick.
Hair bands are a good place to start. Massively popular with high-end designers in recent seasons, like Simone Rocha and Prada, headbands are both fun and on-trend. This black velvet hair band with pearl embellishments is one eye-catching option; you can mix and match with a whole range of different outfits from smart to casual.
Headbands aren’t only for decoration though, they’re also incredibly practical, keeping hair out of the way and maintaining a tidy appearance.
However, if you want something a little subtler, try a jewelled scrunchie. The cobalt blue option is wonderfully on-trend – teamed with a blue outfit you can go for a monochromatic look that will steal the show at any cocktail party or formal event that you may be attending.
Headpieces aren’t for everyone though. If not, accessorise instead with a handbag; as much practical as it is fashionable, this option may be for the mature younger girl. Something like this red sparkly pouch bag is both fun and unique.
If you’ve chosen a plainer gown, then you can always jazz things up with this glitzy number. And in a stunning red, it’s also fantastically in season just in time for the holidays.
Keeping up with dress-codes may sometimes be difficult, but we hope this guide has shown you that it can be super simple to dress for semi-formal events as long as you’re equipped with the correct tools. All you need is a gorgeous, sophisticated knee-length dress of your choosing, some dazzling accessories and a dash of confidence to match!
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