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Dress to Impress This Formal

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Arkansas chapter.


1. Dress

One question always remains, long or short? The answer? BOTH!

If you are going long more casual is better and vise versa. Don’t be afraid to go fancy with your short dress. That being said, simple can always be beautiful and can always be jazzed up with the right accessories!

Find your fit!

First thing is first, determine your body shape!

If you find yourself in the triangle or hourglass shape, a empire waist or a-line shape is the way to go!

If you are more on the broad shouldered, inverted triangle or rectangle shape, aim for the dresses with straps and more of a tight fit.

If you seem to be more on the diamond and rounded shape, find a dress with your own personal defined waist right in your smaller parts.

HINT: No matter your shape, for heavens sake, stay AWAY from clingy material!



Sky is truly the limit for this one ladies as long as you know what works for your skin tone and hair color. However, I will always envy and praise a blonde who can pull off yellow! Darker colors such as reds, blues and blacks typically go well with night time events. Switch it up if you dare with a lighter color but don’t forget to pull it all together with the darker accessories for your fancy function!


2. Shoes

Ahh shoes, my favorite. For such an occasion I say go bold. You buy those 7-inchers (assuming you don’t look like an infant deer taking their first steps). Grab ahold of those snake-skin, strappy stilettos and don’t ever let go. Neon blue pointed toe pumps? They are yours! Do it! Just as long as they compliment your dress and don’t take away or add too much. In that case, a classic nude or black are never ever ever wrong and a woman can never ever own too many of them. 

3. Make-up

When deciding what look you are going for, keep in mind both your dress and shoes. If they are busy, go with the natural look. If your attire is simple go all out! If you are planing edgy jewelry, don’t be afraid to throw in some cat eye eyeliner. Whatever you decide always use mascara, lip liner, and a contour kit. Your contour kit is your make-up bible!

Not-so-natural natural look:

For this look you want look like you may or may not have spent 30+ minutes applying make-up. To sell it, apply nude eye shadows and thinly apply top and bottom eyeliner. Use some settle fake eye lashes and some light pink lipstick! This will be complimented beautifully with the right shade of light blush and a settle contour. Fill in and shape your eyebrows with either an actual eyebrow pencil or find a light shade of eye shadow that is close to your color. DO NOT FORGET to wax or pluck your eyebrows (mustache if need be). We don’t want that natural. However, there is such thing as over tweezing.

All-out look:

This look is fun! Do a smoky eye and a bright lipstick depending on the color of your dress. Contour till you can’t contour anymore. Stick on some beautiful fake eyelashes and fill in, tweeze, and shape your eyebrows. The trick is trying to balance a look between ‘so pretty that your date cannot look away’ and ‘scaring your date away’.

Edgy look:

This look definitely calls for a winged eyeliner. Don’t be afraid to try a burgundy or hot pink lip. As always, do the brows, contour, and pick out an eye shadow to compliment your bold lips and eyeliner.  

Always bring extra make up in your clutch for touch-ups!

4. Jewelry

For jewelry it is always safe to match your category of make up. Choosing correct jewelry is veeeeeeery important. Some may say its the most important. Needless to say, picking jewelry can make or break your outfit so listen up. 

Not-so-natural natural: 

Simple, simple, simple. A dainty necklace, skinny stacked bracelets, and diamond studs is all you need to seal this look. With a busy dress goody jewelry is just too much for the eye. This jewelry will really compliment your dress and pull everything together.


You played it chill with your dress and now its time to have a little fun! There is noting more cute than a chunky necklace with a solid color dress. You could even play with colors depending on the color of your dress and shoes. If you are not into the chunky necklace look, try a cuff bracelet or dramatic dangly earrings!


Think silver, think geometric. With a hard-core necklace, bracelet, or earrings you are sure to get compliments and girls begging for the exact latitude and longitude of where you bought that from. Find an outrageous and original piece and work it!


The main point of going to a formal is to have a blast and feel beautiful in the skin you are in! As long as you feel beautiful and confident you have picked the perfect attire. A smile is a girls best accessory! WORK IT!


Sydney Sanders is a student at the University of Arkansas though she calls Kansas City, Missouri her home. Sydney is studying visual design and plans to minor in marketing. She comes from a family of five- six if you count her fluffy white pooch, Charlie. When she isn't spending her days ingulfed in Netflix, homework, pinning apartment DIY's on Pinterest, and giving her girlfriends guy advice, Sydney likes to laugh. I'm not talking occasional giggles either! I'm talking crying, rolling on the floor, knee-slapping, snorting, really ugly laughing. She enjoys people and music of all kinds. She is the kind of girl who looks for fun everywhere she goes! Sydney is always ready for an adventure.