What To Wear to a Hollywood Themed Charity Ball or Party?

Hi Deborah,

I’m going to a charity ball, and the theme is The Golden Age of Hollywood. What do I wear so I don’t look like a dated Mother of the Bride or an Aging Prom Queen? Thanks, Liz

Gold sparkly gown | What to Wear to a Hollywood themed charity ball | styled by Fabulous After 40


The Golden Age of Hollywood stretched from the 1930s right up until the late 1950s and was a time of glitz, shimmer, and glamorous movie stars wearing the most beautiful creations to ever grace the silver screen. You are going to have so much fun picking out a dress because the sky’s the limit. Here are a few practical things you will want to keep in mind when choosing what to wear to a Hollywood-themed party:

  • If you want to go all out, then feel free to bedazzle them the way Marilyn Munroe would have in a sparkly, full-length beaded gown. Gold or Silver is most appropriate for an Old Hollywood theme. Just make sure the material you choose is soft and fluid. Stiff sparkly dresses with matching jackets will make you look like the mother of the bride.
  • Satin is another option. Feel free to channel Jean Harlow in a long, slinky satin dress cut on the bias. The only word of caution – flat shiny fabrics show every lump and bump, so shapewear is an absolute must if you go this route.
  • Plunging necklines and Halter tops are also the hallmarks of red carpet style. Off-the-shoulder is very glam too!
  • You can never go wrong with a mermaid-style skirt– total screen Goddess!
  • If you’re looking for arm coverage, try this trick. Sophia Loren wears dresses that have off-the-shoulder necklines and semi-sheer 3/4 length sleeves. There’s the illusion of coverage, but she still looks very Hollywood.

Black sparkly eveing gown | What to wear to a Hollywood themed party female | styled by Fabulous After 40


  •  Steer clear of the aging prom queen look by staying away from cheap fabrics, bright colors, and too much tacky glitz.
  • For an Old Hollywood look you can’t go wrong wearing black the signature color of many stars including Audrey Hepburn. Just be careful it’s not too much black. As we age, black near the face can be draining so if you wear black make sure the dress has some gold or black embellishment up top.
  • Black with gold is best for women with warm (golden) tones and black with silver is best for women with ash (cool) skin and hair.
  • Hair needs to be coiffed and highly stylized.
  • A dash of bright cherry lipstick gives you that movie star magic.
  • Finally, when trying to figure out what to wear to a Hollywood-themed party focus on the dress first, then accent it with big, gorgeous jewelry and accessories to get the “Old Hollywood” glamour look.

Are you ready for your close-up?

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