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What to Wear to a Winter Formal at High School

author image Virginia Pond
Virginia Pond is a Chicago-based writer. She earned her bachelor's degree in English from Indiana University.
What to Wear to a Winter Formal at High School
Selena Gomez in a sparkly gold mini dress. Photo Credit Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

High school dances rank right up there with getting your driver license and graduation when it comes to memorable high school moments, so make it count by donning an ensemble worth remembering. While prom may be the most extravagant of your school dances, winter bashes are a great opportunity to showcase your personal style in a more sophisticated way. More than any other, the holiday season is the time to break out the sparkles, sport some chic winter white, or invest in a little black dress that will take you through college commencement.

Sparkle and Shine

What to Wear to a Winter Formal at High School
Josephine Vilsmaier's long sleeved, sparkly dress is perfect for chilly winter formal nights. Photo Credit Andreas Rentz/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

Because beading and sequins add weight to garments, the colder months are a great time to wear an allover sparkly frock. Look for a sequined dress in a dark jewel tone like red, blue, or emerald green that falls right at or just above the knee so the dress isn’t too heavy or cumbersome to dance in. If sequins aren't your thing but you still want to shine, look for a dress in a gold or silver lame. Gold and silver are festive for the holiday season and versatile enough to be worn throughout the rest of the year. Because gold and silver are neutrals, you can pair your metallic dress with a clutch and shoes in bold hues to add color. Wear black tights if the evening is especially chilly.

Winter White

What to Wear to a Winter Formal at High School
Taylor Swift radiates elegance in winter white. Photo Credit Frazer Harrison/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

Wearing white after Labor Day is not only acceptable, it’s one of the most sophisticated trends for winter. To keep the look seasonally appropriate chose a dress in a heavier fabric, like neoprene, leather or wool. A snowy white sheath dress with long sleeves will keep you both covered and draw attention to your gams. As with a metallic dress, complete the outfit with bright statement jewelry.

The Little Black Dress

What to Wear to a Winter Formal at High School
Mariah Carey's lacey little black dress is sexy and sophisticated. Photo Credit Kevin Winter/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

Not only is the little black dress a timeless choice for a winter formal, but it can be worn to almost any other occasion throughout the year. To make your black dress stand out from the rest, look for a dress with design details and embellishments that make it special. For example, a pleated black dress in flowy chiffon looks smashing when twirled on the dance floor, and a black beaded dress nixes the need for any jewelry.

The Pantsuit

What to Wear to a Winter Formal at High School
Unexpected and daring, Amanada Seyfried's red pantsuit stands out from the crowd. Photo Credit Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

A stylish alternative to a winter formal dress is the tailored pantsuit. Worn in bright red or a sleek, satiny black, the suit looks streamlined and mature, but still edgy enough for a party. To keep the look feminine, slip on a pair of platform heels in an eye-catching hue and swipe on bold red lip color. Wearing a lacy camisole or sparkly tank top under the jacket will ensure you’ll look just as cool if you need to take off your jacket after working up a sweat on the dance floor.

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