I recently attended the White Party, a charity party that benefits the Wilkinson Center here in Dallas. As you may know, a white party is an event where the dress code is all white! At these parties, you’ll see men and women dressed to the nines in white dresses, tops, and suits. I was thrilled to be able to attend this event because white is one of my all-time favorite neutrals to wear, especially in the summer. There’s nothing quite as stunning as white against your summer tan, and to me white is a welcome change from all the little black dresses and dark colors we tend to see at cocktail parties and evening events.
I for one look terrible in dark colors like black, so I absolutely dread when fall and winter roll around and every single store is taken over by black, navy, olive green, and yucky brown! Unfortunately, as we get further into August, I know it’s only a matter of time before I’m not able to wear my summer little white dresses, bright colors, or pastels anymore.
Some say Labor Day is the cutoff date when you have to stop wearing white, while others say that fashion “rule” is obsolete. Either way, it’s always a good idea to have a cute little white dress in your closet. I saw so many gorgeous white dresses at the party I was inspired to do a post today on what to wear to a white party! This post is also a must-read for the bride-to-be as I’ll be featuring some of the cutest white dresses that are perfect for pre-wedding events like rehearsal dinners and bridal showers.
The first time I ever even heard of a ‘white party’, it was P Diddy’s White Party in the Hamptons years ago. His over-the-top luxurious annual summer party was attended by celebrities such as Aretha Franklin, Mary J Blige, Paris Hilton, Lisa Ling, and Mariah Carey. Seeing the photos of this super glamorous event where everyone was decked out in white, it looked like the most stylish, beautifully dressed crowd of people I’d ever seen.
Apparently the concept of a White Party began in St Tropez, France 50 years ago. In 1974, it crossed the ocean into the United States where White Parties were being held mainly as fundraising events. Some of the most well-known White Parties in the United States take place in Miami, Palm Springs, and New York, with smaller events being held in many cities.
When I got the opportunity to attend the White Party here in Dallas, I couldn’t resist! From white lace dresses to white jumpsuits to sexy white bodycon dresses, I saw it all! Here is my style guide on what to wear to a white party:
Long and Flowy
If you are attending a White Party during the summertime in a warm place like Miami, the Hamptons, or Palm Springs, you may want to consider a long and flowy white maxi dress. This is a great way to get that boho beachy look everyone goes for in the summertime. Instead of looking like you tried way too hard in something too short or too tight, you’ll look carefree and angelic in a floor length (but casual) boho maxi dress such as this one. Pair it with wedges or even flat beaded sandals to complete the look. Blogger Harpreet Maan perfectly nails the laid-back white maxi dress look as well:
If the event is black tie or even just a bit more formal, consider something like this gorgeous floor length white Elie Saab dress worn by Taylor Swift:
Taylor wore this to the Aria Awards in Australia and looked flawless! The thing I love about this gown is that while it is formal, it is still a laid-back look, with its Grecian-inspired cut and flattering details. Sometimes a long white dress can start to look a little too bridal, but this one creates a more fashion forward red carpet style. The overall look is angelic and ethereal!
Embrace (White) Lace
Everywhere I looked at the White Party I attended there were white lace dresses galore. There’s something enchanting about pairing a feminine girly fabric like lace with white. White can also tend to be a bit flat, so lace is the perfect fabric to add texture and dimension. Miranda Kerr models a gorgeous white lace dress with a longer midi hemline:
This dress is the Azaelea dress by Self Portrait. It comes in a wide range of colors and various lace fabrics on their website, but it also costs $480. Here is a similar look for just $54 at Lily Boutique:
The thing I’m liking about this lace dress is the unique oversized texture of the lace. It’s more like a crochet lace that is a bit thicker than the other lace dresses we see out there. I also like that the dress is lined in beige for contrast. It’s a great way to stand out in the crowd of white dresses at the party without breaking the dress code.
And yes, there’s always that one person who tries to be cute and wear something other than white. They are inevitably turned away at the door or asked to go home and change- don’t be that girl! You can wear a blank white canvas and still amp up your look with pretty accessories like a printed or patterned clutch or bold jewelry. If you like this style but want something for a different event, it also comes in Black or Navy. If you want a different look altogether, they have a page of white dresses to choose from. In my opinion they have some of the cutest white dresses out there right now, so you’ll have no trouble finding something to wear to a White Party!
With this dress, I would pair it with beige or nude pumps to matching the lining and some delicate gold jewelry. Sometimes it’s tricky to figure out what kind of shoes and accessories to wear with a white dress. Most women think they have to have white shoes to pair with a white dress, but I’m here to tell you that BEIGE is where it’s at! Pairing your white dress with beige pumps or strappy heels is the perfect way to elongate your legs- shoes in a nude color will just disappear, while white shoes will contrast and stand out too much, making you look short. Find a beige clutch to match the shoes and you’re out the door! Here is a great example from Livvyland:
See how the beige shoes and purse pair perfectly with the white dress without being too matchy-matchy? I chose this example because I absolutely LOVE the oversized beige clutch that would work with nearly anything in my closet. The shoes are a great wardrobe staple to have on hand that I can see wearing with any white dress.
All About A-Line
If you’re going to be dancing the night away, it’s a great idea to wear something you can actually move around in! When it comes to cocktail parties and chic events like the White Party, the first thing that often comes to mind is something sleek and fitted. But what if you mix it up a little bit and go for something a little more fun and flowy? I’m talking about a cute A-line dress. A-line dresses are styles that flare out below the waist and they are super flattering on nearly everyone. Isa Malago shows off a cute flowy white dress:
Don’t you love the white dress paired with the bright yellow clutch? This brings me to my next point- try pairing a white dress with a brightly colored or printed handbag if you’re wanting to break away from pure white. But please check the dress code first and make sure it’s okay to wear accessories in bright colors other than white. At P Diddy’s Hampton’s White Party, one guest was denied entry for flouting the dress code and wearing bright red shoes. He had to take them off and leave them outside before they would let him in! If you’re worried about wearing bright accessories, try switching it up by wearing a metallic instead. A metallic silver clutch would look stunning with a bright white dress:
Since we’re talking about how to accessorize a white dress, I couldn’t leave this look out:
I gotta say, it’s one of my favorites! I love the unexpected pairing of the animal print bag with the white lace dress. Anna from Blushing Rose Style pulls together this look perfectly. I like the contrast of the sweet, delicate, innocent white dress with the fun, wild print of the purse! I’m not sure if it’s just the lighting, but the background of the animal print even appears to match the dress. The clutch is made by Clare V and retails for $275.
Chic and Sexy
Who says white has to be angelic and innocent? When you’re heading to an event like a White Party, you can also opt for something sleek, fitted, and sexy. Kim Kardashian wears curve-hugging white cocktail dresses to many different events:
You can get a similar look with the Don’t Let Me Down Bodycon Dress in Ivory:
This dress is a steal of Kim Kardashian’s Dolce and Gabbana look, but for just $40. I love how it is fitted and sexy but the lace trim and white color keep it looking sweet and innocent! It also comes in Black if you need something for a different event.
Another great option for a sexy fitted white cocktail dress is this Gigi Lace Surplice Dress in White:
The reason I love this dress so much is because it shows that you can wear a sleek and sexy fitted cocktail dress, but without showing everything! This dress has long sleeves, a crossover surplice neckline, and a crossover wrap style skirt. The thing that makes it sexy is the fitted cut- but it still leaves something to the imagination. I also loved this dress as an option to wear to a White Party if it’s hosted in the Fall or Winter- or if you’re located somewhere where it gets cool at night. Almost everything you see in white is meant for the summertime only, but many White Parties are actually held in the Winter, so this is a cute dress you could pair with some beige pumps and wear it even if the temperature drops. It is also available in Jade for $46.
I hope you’ve found some gorgeous white dresses to wear to any upcoming summer cocktail parties or events- whether you’re invited to a White Party or just another night out, white is a great option that looks sweet and angelic. White is also a great choice for the bride-to-be whether you’re planning for a rehearsal dinner, bridal shower, or just a fun bachelorette night out! Which one of these looks would you wear out? Let us know!