Pants

Dressy Jumpsuits: Where & How To Wear Them

If you have a formal event to attend and you’re shopping around for a fancy dress, think about this. How about wearing a dressy jumpsuit, instead? Dressy jumpsuits can be just as lovely and glamorous as cocktail dresses. Plus, they’re comfy and modern too. 

These days they’re more popular than ever, yet many gals are still confused about where it is appropriate to wear a formal jumpsuit and how to style one, so here’s a rundown.

Dressy Jumpsuits - burgundy, white, navy

Wear a Dressy Jumpsuit to a

  • Cocktail party
  • Wedding
  • Special Occasion Birthday Party
  • Fancy Restaurant/Date
  • Formal Charity function
  • Holiday Party (Including Company party)
  • Vacation/Cruise
  • Dressy Wedding/Baby Shower
  • Red carpet type occasion

I’ve listed a lot of places where it’s fine to wear a dressy jumpsuit (which may surprise you), but here’s the key. If you are going to wear a dressy jumpsuit to one of the functions above, be mindful of the type of jumpsuit you choose and how you style it. Here are some tips on wearing a dressy jumpsuit to look classy and appropriate for these special occasions.


1. Choose a Sleek, Tailored Jumpsuit

A formal occasion calls for a more tailored jumpsuit. Whether you choose a slim-cropped style or a more soft, flowy wide-leg jumpsuit, it needs to be well cut and provide structure and shape. This is especially important at 40+ when our bodies tend to be a little softer and rounder. Be sure your jumpsuit nips in at the waist. This looks more formal and feminine. Many necklines will work, but A V-neck is always very flattering.

2. Fit is Key

Jumpsuits can be tricky. If you don’t get the right fit, you can look shorter, wider, or just plain sloppy. Your jumpsuit needs to fits perfectly if you are going to wear it to a formal event- not too tight like a catsuit or not too long in the crotch or hanging down in the bum. Petite gals have to be careful they don’t look swamped in fabric. A slim cropped style helps with this. Make sure the legs don’t bunch up at the ankles.

dressy pink jumpsuit for wedding shower

3. Solid Colors are Best

Black is a trendy color for dressy jumpsuits for two reasons: it’s formal and slimming. Other solid neutrals like navy, white, blush, and burgundy always look classy. Depending on the event or time of year, a solid brightly colored can work too. Prints don’t look formal, so save those print jumpsuits for more casual events.

black jumpsuit with gorgeous accessories- ruby earrings, burgundy pumps, black clutch purse

4. Accessories Matter

The right bag and proper jewelry have a huge impact on creating a polished, formal look.  Try a dressy clutch for best results or a small, structured bag. Stay away from soft bags with boho style or heavy looking daytime bags.

Jumpsuits can look a little plain without accessories for dressy events. Don’t be afraid to choose a bold piece to stand out in, such as a cuff bracelet, chunky necklace, or chandelier earrings. Be careful you don’t overdo it and look gaudy. Gold, silver, and gemstones look sophisticated worn with formal jumpsuits, while colored costume jewelry is more casual.

5. High Heels, Please!

A gorgeous pair of sleek high heels will really dress up your jumpsuit and make you look tall, slim, and elegant. Sexy heels look fabulous with wide-leg evening jumpsuits. You can wear heels or very dressy flats with ankle cropped slim leg jumpsuits. An evening shoe with some embellishment always looks formal.

5. Check Your Hair and Make-Up

When you are wearing a formal jumpsuit, make sure your hair looks special too. Wearing it up looks beautiful, but you can wear it down too. Just be sure you spend some time to style it. You don’t want your hair to make you look like you just walked off the beach. Makeup should be classic or sexy. Red lips look great with a formal black jumpsuit, and you may want to throw on a touch of bronzer if you find black washes you out.

7. Wear a Jacket

If you want extra style points, try adding an evening jacket to your jumpsuit or drape one around your shoulders. This creates a very chic, polished look and helps when the air conditioning is blowing and your jumpsuit is sleeveless. Take it on and off and on as needed during the evening.

8. A Cropped Jumpsuit can be Dressy

The newest type of jumpsuit is a cropped flare jumpsuit, and it can be dressing depending on the material how you accessorize it.

Here are a few dressy jumpsuits that are trending right now:

White Jumpsuit

Dress white jumpsuit with crystal embellishment at neckline

If you like a super feminine touch, you’ll love this, or one of the many evening jumpsuits out there in all white. This one has a fabulously beaded neckline, which makes it formal. White looks especially good in warm climates. If you can’t wear heels but need height, a pair of dressy wedges can work with a wide-leg pantsuit.

Lace Jumpsuit

Formal Black jumpsuit with Lace Bodice

Lace always adds a formal element to anything, and such is the case with this jumpsuit. This feminine lace top jumpsuit would be perfect for a formal evening event, including Christmas or New Year’s.

Off The Shoulder Jumpsuit

Dressy off the shoulder coral jumpsuit

If the event you are attending is in summer or has a festive party theme, then a bold, colorful jumpsuit like this can make an exciting style statement. This exotic off the shoulder coral jumpsuit is glamorous, sexy, and a real head turner!

Purple Jumpsuit

Dressy purple jumpsuit with dressy accessories

Purple is always a regal color, and this eggplant shade is understated and classy. The boat neckline is especially great for gals with wider hips and small shoulders who want to even things out up top by creating more of an hourglass silhouette. See how this gorgeous statement necklace really kicks things up a notch? When you wear a major necklace like this, keep your earrings simple not to look gaudy.

Halter Jumpsuit

Dressy Blue Halter Jumpsuit with foraml accessories

This navy halter jumpsuit has a sexy vibe. It would better suit a cocktail party or trip to Las Vegas than a wedding, where more coverage is appropriate.

Red Carpet Events

Check out these stars in their dressy jumpsuits on the red carpet!

dressy black jumpsuit Muriel Hemmingway
Muriel Hemmingway looks fab in a gorgeous skinny leg jumpsuit with chiffon sleeves. Chiffon sleeves are a clever way to cover the arms but not weigh down your look.

elegant pink jumpsuit Ellen Pompeo
Ellen Pompeo looks peachy in this pretty blush jumpsuit, which suits her coloring. However, the jumpsuit is too baggy in the crotch, and it appears she didn’t have time to hem her pant legs. Oops…

dressy white jumpsuit - Felicity Huffman
Felicity Huffman chose an ivory jumpsuit for this dressy occasion. She’s in her 50’s. I like the way she belted her jumpsuit, but the hem of her pants is a mess too. This jumpsuit must be borrowed for the night!

black jumpsuit jennifer aniston

Jennifer Aniston has worn a lot of jumpsuits in the last few years. She looks tanned, relaxed, and fab in her black, full leg jumpsuit with a 70’s retro feel. These are just a few ideas on how to wear a jumpsuit.

What about you? Would you wear a dressy jumpsuit to a party? For bigger gals, plus size jumpsuits are here. Did you see the cropped jumpsuit I just bought?

Join the Conversation

49 thoughts on “Dressy Jumpsuits: Where & How To Wear Them

  1. I found your blog on pinterest! I am looking for a jumpsuit to wear to a function and the mauve jumpsuit with sleeves and tie really stood out to me. The jumpsuit was paired with beige shoes and accessories. Where might I find the jumpsuit?

    1. Hi Monica, So sorry but that was a DVF jumpsuit that sold out quickly. I would check out Nordstrom for others. They have a great selection of cute jumpsuits.

  2. Hi Deborah, My son’s graduation is coming up as money is tight I have a midi black+cream polka dot dress and would appreciate your advice on accessories +shoes I was considering nude shoes +bag 70

    1. Hi Kathleen, nude or black shoes would look great. And if you have a red bag that would make it pop. If not, a nude or black bag would be nice. Have fun!

  3. Hi Deborah-

    I just started following you, and was happy to see your post on jumpsuits being dressy enough for a wedding. I have a Cache jumpsuit that I have debated wearing to an evening wedding, it black polyester halter style with a fitted waist and open leg palazzo pant with a bold cream Asian graphic print. The wedding is near Indio, CA and expected to be hot. I confirmed it is not a black tie affair, no jackets or ties for the guys. I am having doubts about this look and hoped to dress it up more with shoes and either gold or silver jewelry.

    Hoping you can provide some ideas about whether I should go for it, or stick with a dress, my legs are one of my best attributes so either option would be flattering! Your thoughts on shoes and accessories if the jumpsuit seems appropriate, would be great!

    Thank you for the wonderful style tips, they are so helpful, as I love fashion, but striking the right balance with polish and grace things I focus more on now that I’ve reached the fabulous age of 50.

    1. Hi Suzanna, No jackets for the guys sounds pretty laid back, so it might work and it is at night. However, there are few things I wonder about…I’m not sure what you mean by open leg palazzo pant. Do you mean there are long slits in the legs. That with the halter style might make it too sexy for a wedding especially since the jumpsuit also has a bold print. Solid colors, especially dark like mine are more formal than a print. Any idea what the bride is wearing? Sexy or sweet dress? Also, is the ceremony in a church or same location as the reception? Is the reception at a city dinner club, hotel grand ballroom, or smaller more rural hall? Three very different types of dress. Also what did the invitation look like? The style of the invite will give clues as to what to wear. For example formal invitation, gold and black embossed fancy script font (black tie conservative-long gown or cocktail attire) vs pretty floral invite on textured recycled stock in a natural color with more handwritten font (casual wedding- nice dress) – Two very diffferent weddings. Think more about all these things and I bet you will know. In the end if you are not sure, I would not wear it because the last thing you want to do is to be secretly worrying if you look o.k. or if you are dressy enough. (It’s always better to be a little overdressed than underdressed.) Finally, it’s the bride’s day so make sure she is really the focus of attention. Cheers, Deborah

  4. Thank you for this morale booster as a 5″2 lady of Asian origin and not reed thin either, I purchased a burgundy sleeveless jumpsuit on impulse.. was not sure whether I would be able to carry it off for an evening event… this article motivates me to take the plunge :)

      1. Thanks Deborah for shining the light on jumpsuits. I have a couple of them but never wore any because I just wasn’t sure ….. however, after reading your piece on them I’ve had a change of heart. I ‘ll wear them. Thanks a million.

  5. I love the look and would like to own one. What keeps me from buying one is the hassle of removing it if I need to use the restroom, and at 4’11 I tend to drown in fabric. I do own a pair of palazzo pants and i love love love how comfortable it is. If they come up with jumpsuits for petite people, I might give it a go.

  6. Hi, I have a family wedding at the end of May. I have been looking at a navy/cream jumpsuit….bottom navy top cream. It is sleeveless and I would like to be able to cover my arms. It is a jumpsuit. Can you suggest something I would really like to dress it up as this will be a very fancy wedding. I do not look so great in dresses so a jumpsuit suits me better.

    1. Hi Marie,
      It sounds very modern with the navy and cream colorblocking so I would stick to a wrap that is simple, and sleek, nothing frilly, heavy, or embellished. An all one color sheer cream wrap would be nice.

  7. I love the look of the jumpsuit but at only 5’2″, I have a really hard time finding one that fits well. I would love to see pictures of a nice jumpsuit that will suit a petite woman.

  8. I really like the elegant look of the jumpsuit but I always wonder how easy it would be when using the ladies room in a restaurant when the stalls are somewhat small. Could you tell me how one would get in and out of a jumpsuit?

    1. Roll up the legs and remove the top by sliding your arms out…..and lower down and grab the fabric….take care of business and you are all set

  9. I’ve always loved the idea of jumpsuits, but even though I’m “only” 5’7″ I have a super long torso and rather large breasts. I remember trying to wear jumpsuits in my teens and ending up with “camel toe” and a “wedgie.” I guess the tall model types have them custom made. I can never find one piece swimsuits either.

    Signed,
    A Frustrated 45yo

  10. I just hit my mid 40’s and I love the jumpsuit trend, especially DVF’s, but cannot afford to drop $598 on one outfit. Are there websites, stores, or designers that are comparable in style but more affordable? Don’t want to be cheap, but I’m looking for one around $150.

  11. I’ve just turned 56 and I have a couple of jumpsuits. My favorite “go to” is a black strapless with palazzo style pants. I get a lot of compliments when I wear it and the best part of all is a few accessories and you’re totally dressed, yet feel as though you’re wearing jammies.

  12. I love the look of these on talk people – not feeling confident at 5’2!!! I also agree with the comment on length – a few of the photos seem to me to have gone from elegant to daggy because the length drags on the floor – not a classy look for anyone in my humble opinion.

    1. Hi Lisa, I think a lot of these stars get loaned things last minute and they go as is. A jumpsuit should be long, but not dragging on the floor- just a touch from the floor is good if the jumpsuit has wide legs to give you that sweeping effect like a maxi dress. Cheers, Deborah

  13. At 52, I wore a pants suit for my daughters evening Bridal Shower. It was great. I bought another one that I wore for the engagement party! They are the best! Now, I just wear them whenever I want to really “do me”!

  14. I actually planned on purchasing a black jumpsuit for the holidays within this next week. They can look very elegant, and finding the perfect one which can be dressed up or down is my mission right now! I think I will need to wear really good body support underneath, and it will be a pain when I need to use the ladies room, but it may be worth it. I am really liking the jumpsuit, plus I like to stay “current” in fashion!.

  15. I’m 56, and also tall and fairly slim (though a bit squidgy). I used to wear jumpsuits in the early 80s, and see they’re back in fashion. I’ve seen a couple online that I absolutely loved, but thought I may be too old – but they weren’t tight fitting or low cut, or anything else, so WHY do I hesitate?

    Thanks for the post. Did you end up buying one for yourself? I think I’m going to buy one from Revolve. It’s by Wilt, and is a comfy slub cotton, with a drawstring waist to give it shape… What the heck…

  16. I’m in my 50’s and would definitely wear a jumpsuit if it looked good. A black smart type with chunky jewellery would look fab.

  17. Hi. I’m 57, slightly overweight, and just purchased a FABULOUS chocolate brown knit jumpsuit that looks dynamine on me. Age is relative ladies.

  18. I love the look of a jumpsuit. We are seeing them ALL over the South of France right now. I am 5’10”, so they don’t fit me (most French women are quite a bit shorter!) but I am hoping to find one when I come to the US this summer!

    1. Hi Megan,
      Thanks for writing in and giving me an update from the South of France!! We are just entering warm weather back east so should start seeing them around too.
      Anyone out in LA or the South seeing them???
      Please send photos! This is definitely a new trend~

  19. I just turned 40 and am only 5’4 and bought a fabulous black jersey knit jumpsuit. The pants are long and wide legged and the top is like a sleeveless wrap. I have pulled this off at weddings and parties and feel so comfortable in it. I usually wear it it with cage high heels and a simple long necklace. it is a fun trend!

  20. Deborah, yes I’m definitely with you – love the long dresses. We’ve just seen a lot around in our Summer (I’m an Aussie) & am looking forward to them being around for a long time yet. Had to laugh at the ladies room dilemma comment re the jumpsuit & yes I do recall – what a business that was.

  21. Hi Lucy,
    Love all the different opinions! You are right, it is not for everyone, so it is interesting to hear the pros and cons!
    Something like a jumpsuit might just take the right gal with the right attitude to pull it off.
    We are still seeing lots of long dresses for Spring (like last Spring). That might be an easier alternative than going with a jumpsuit.

  22. Nah not for me, at almost 45 I think I’ll pass. If I can remember wearing it the first time around I’m definitely too old to be wearing it the second time around. Leave it for the teens & twentysomethings I think, maybe early thirties at a push. A bit too try hard for me but hey that’s just my opinion.

  23. Hi Deborah, I just wanted to let you know how much I appreciate all the tips and advice you give you make us feel very confident navigating our mature years. I trust your advice and often recommend your site to my friends who are amazed on how knowledgeable I seem to be. LOL
    Thanks again keep up the good work we NEED you!

  24. Like you, Deborah, I had a favorite jumpsuit in the 80’s. Mine was actually animal print — really, it was amazing (and even understated for animal print). I wore it until it had holes! I would consider one again (I especially love the one here with the cowl neck but I wish it came in chocolate brown instead of black) — somehow I’m just not sure I want to (let me be frank) have to take the whole thing off to use the ladies room — maybe just too much trouble, but I’m open. I can safely say, however, that I am so not a fan of the rompers — I’ll leave those to the teenagers!

    1. Hi Ginger,
      My favorite jumpsuit was a crisp, white, shiny cotton one with a fitted waistband that I bought in Hawaii. It had white zippers all over it. I also remember a lilac one when I was about 19 that was more flowy and dressy.
      Too bad there’s so much black out there now. Chocolate brown is so much softer, and navy would be better for me than black. Black seems to wash me out these days.
      As for those rompers, I totally agree. I was looking at some and thought they’d look really silly on a grown up gal!
      Cheers, Deborah

  25. The black is the most versatile and can add inches to the more petite. The fun part is putting a fabulous belt w/ texture or metallic that changes the look instantly. I’m tall, so I find the challenging part is the torso length and the rise. Not so comfy. But love the elegance and ease of it overall.

    1. Thanks for your suggestion Leslie,
      I love the way accessories can magically change an outfit. Great jewelry can transform too as well as gorgeous shoes. That’s where you can bring some personality in.

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