In the era of athleisure, the chances are that your semi-formal closet is looking a little worse for wear. You never know when you might need a cocktail dress or a little black dress for a special event. Unlike black tie, semi-formal attire is more versatile and a perfect investment into your closet. Whatever your social calendar looks like, you want to have a few stylish semi-formal pieces in your closet.
We’re taking a look at what semi-formal attire is and sharing some of our favorite Bella Barnett dresses. Whether you have a wedding, tropical vacation, or cocktail party on the horizon, these are the dresses you want to be adding to your shopping cart.
What is Semi-formal Attire?
The easiest way to think of semi-formal attire is the clothes that you wouldn’t wear day-to-day. They’re dressier than what you would wear for a day in the office but not as dressy as a tuxedo or formal evening gown. Semi-formal attire sits between the two and is a relaxed dress code most often used for weddings and similar special occasions.
If you’re ever in doubt about what to wear for a big event, it’s always best to go semi-formal. You won’t be risking being under-dressed while guaranteeing that you won’t be so over-dressed that you get mistaken for being a bridesmaid.
Cocktail dresses and jumpsuits are a popular semi-formal choice, especially if they come in a bold print or pattern. You can have fun with your outfit by adding quirky accessories to show off your personality. The secret to pulling off the semi-formal look is to not overthink it and to make the look your own.
Our Top 10 Stylish Semi-formal Dresses for Women
To help you on your search for the perfect semi-formal look, we’re sharing 10 dresses that should be at the top of your list. These are all instant ‘add to cart’.
This dress is all about embellishments, reminding you of a day at the beach watching the sun reflect off the water. The bandage silhouette hugs your curves while giving you the versatility to wear a short jacket for layering. Style with open-toe sandal heels in the same gem-tone hues as the dress.
Keep it classic with this effortlessly chic bandage dress. The bandage silhouette is universally flattering, showing off your curves while the crisp white shade makes your tan pop. The pearl detailing along the bodice elevates the dress for any occasion.
Bring sunshine to your event with this bold yellow mesh dress that accentuates your figure with a side leg-slit for a seductive look. Pull your hair back into a low bun and experiment with statement earrings to add a quirky twist to your look.
When in doubt, go in a little black dress. If you’re struggling to choose a semi-formal outfit, an LBD is your best friend. The long sleeves make this dress a transitional piece to take you through every season, whether it’s a winter wedding or a summer party.
Embrace your inner supermodel with this champagne bodycon dress with a luxurious satin finish. The ruched skirt and neckline contrast with the structured bodice to give the illusion of a perfect hourglass look. You can keep your look minimalistic with silver or gold accessories and your favorite stilettoes. This dress is proof that sometimes less is more.
If KKW is your style muse, this is the dress for you. The ruched mesh takes its inspiration directly from our favorite red carpet looks, giving you the illusion of wearing nothing at all. It’s perfect for occasions when you’re not afraid to make a statement, take risks, and steal the spotlight.
You want to keep your accessories as minimalistic as possible, leaving all eyes on your dress. Apply a fresh coat of fake tan before the big event to give your skin a healthy glow and make the dress stand out.
Step into the ‘la dolce vita’ way of life with this one-shoulder bandage dress. It’s a little black dress with an Italian-inspired twist, giving you a luxe look without breaking the bank. The wrap silhouette helps elongate your legs to give the illusion of having legs for days!
The beauty of the semi-formal dress code is that you can have fun with it. This avant-garde print is right on-trend with its ‘80s-inspired look. You can wear this dress anywhere from your holiday office party to a drink’s reception in the city. Want to be even more daring? Try this print dress in yellow!
Meet ‘soft glam’ in a dress. It’s a timeless silhouette with an elevated feel, being both flirty and feminine. The asymmetrical hemline is perfect for dancing the night away and showing off your favorite open-toe sandals (pedicure included!).
The pink fabric has a metallic finish for a contemporary feel. Keep your accessories light and dainty to let the dress shine. It’s the perfect choice for a wedding guest look or a holiday party.
The ‘Paccia’ is one of the most laidback dresses on our list of stylish semi-formal attire. What we love about this dress is how it takes an everyday silhouette and elevates it with puff shoulders and a metallic finish. This dress is fully lined, making it both stylish and comfortable for all-day wear.
The sweetheart neckline accentuates your bust and is perfect for layering your favorite dainty necklaces. It’s the perfect addition to your closet if you need a year-round party dress that works for any occasion.
Still looking for semi-formal dress inspiration? You can check out our best-selling dresses here. Don’t forget to hashtag your photos with #BellaBarnett and tag us for a chance to be featured on our Insta feed.