6 Creative Tips for Styling a Party Dress

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6 Creative Tips for Styling a Party Dress

A party dress, whether a little black number or a satin frock, can be turned into a spectacular outfit when styled effectively. In some cases, styling involves no more than adding one or two subtle accessories, while in others there is a blank canvas begging for splashes of colour. As a rule of thumb, plain party dresses look better than embellished ones when accessories are added. For example, adding a sparkly or chunky necklace to a dress with a detailed neckline would make the outfit too busy; adding a necklace to a dress with a plunge neckline would detract from the design. The secret to styling a party dress successfully lies in finding the right balance between the dress and the accessories.

When styling a party dress, consider the effect created by accessories such as a necklace, bracelets and bangles, earrings, shoes, a belt, a handbag, a wrap or jacket, and hair accessories. Use the tips below to find the best combination of accessories for a particular dress. Accessories can give a dress a whole new look: breathing life into a tired dress or adding sparkle to a new one. Accessories can be found at jewellery, clothing, and department stores or online from sites like eBay.

1. Accentuate the Dress Without Overpowering the Outfit

Jewellery and accessories should focus the attention on the best features of both the dress and the wearer. Many beautiful dresses have been ruined by the addition of the wrong style or type of accessory, or simply by adding too much to the dress. 

How to Wear a Necklace with a Party Dress

Not all party dresses look good with necklaces. For example, a necklace may become lost in the fabric of a halterneck dress, and wearing a necklace with a dress with a plunging neckline tends to ruin the effect created by the bare decolletage. The neckline of the dress further influences the type of necklace that should be worn with it. The table below can be used as a guideline when choosing the right necklace for a party dress.

Type of Necklace


Neckline Style


Fits snugly around the middle of the neck


Boat neck



Falls at the base of the neck



Princess Length

17 to 19 inches long

Falls just below the throat

Most common length


All neckline types except high necklines

Add pendant to wear with V-neck

Matinee Length

20 to 24 inches long

Falls to top of the bust

Avoid plunging neckline

Wear above or below, not on, the neckline

Opera Length

28 to 34 inches long

Falls below the bust

Can be doubled to turn into multi-strand necklace

High necklines

In addition to the neckline of the dress, consider which features should be accentuated by the necklace. Older women with wrinkles or folds at their throats should avoid chokers as this type of necklace draws attention to these. Wide necks can be balanced by adding graduated necklaces that are thin around the neck and larger below the collarbone.Women with long, thin necks should avoid V-shaped necklaces unless they want to accentuate their necks. To draw attention away from the length of the neck, they should opt for a triple stranded necklace and wear the shortest strand at the base of the throat.

How to Wear a Bracelet or Bangle with a Party Dress

A bracelet or bangle can be used to add sparkle or to make a statement. Delicate items give a party dress an elegant, sophisticated look, while chunky bracelets can be used to add colour and make a statement. In addition, delicate jewellery is generally considered to be more formal, while over-sized or costume jewellery is used to create a chic look in casual settings.

How to Wear Earrings with a Party Dress

Choose earrings that flatter the shape of the wearer’s face. Dangly earrings tend to elongate a round face, while they can make a long, narrow face look longer. Drop earrings tend to make the wearer’s face look shorter and rounder. These accessories are hidden by the hair easily, so consider the wearer’s hairstyle before spending time and money hunting for the perfect pair of earrings.

Moreover, the earrings should be appropriate to the occasion. Chandelier earrings are considered dressy, and look good with lower cut or strapless dresses. Drop and stud earrings work well for any occasion and with any neckline, but are the best choice for dresses with high necklines. Long dangly earrings work best with lower cut necklines.

How to Wear Jewellery with a Party Dress

Jewellery should be balanced for the best effect. Instead of wearing a necklace, earrings, a bracelet, and ring, opt for just one or two quality or statement pieces. Overdoing it tends to make the wearer look overdressed or simply overwhelms the outfit. Where the neckline of a party dress is not suited to a necklace, wear earrings and a bracelet instead. Statement jewellery can be matched with shoes or other accessories. While tradition prescribes that metals should not be mixed, the wearer should experiment with combinations of silver and gold jewellery if desired to find a match that looks good.

2. Wear a Great Pair of Shoes

Choose shoes that complement or contrast with the party dress. For example, when wearing a little black dress, choose shoes that stand out and set the colour theme for the outfit. They should be flattering as they will be the focal point of the ensemble, and other accessories can be matched to the colour chosen. If the party dress is patterned or sparkly, choose shoes that complement it by opting for a similar colour and style. Delicate shoes, like strappy sandals, add elegance to an outfit, while chunkier shoes create a more casual look.

3. Add a Belt

Add a belt to a party dress to show off the wearer’s curves, to accentuate a small waist, or to add colour and sparkle. For example, add a gold belt to a black dress as an accent, or choose one in a colour that complements shoes or other accessories. Use a belt that complements and blends with the pattern of the dress to add definition without calling attention to the waist or stomach.

4. Find the Right Bag

A handbag in a contrasting colour maintains the colour theme established by shoes and accessories. Smaller clutch bags are more elegant than oversized designs, and an interesting clasp can add to the outfit. Be careful to balance the bag with the jewellery chosen. For example, do not choose an overly large bag when everything else about the outfit is delicate and avoid a large clasp on a clutch bag when wearing a chunky ring. However, do use a bag to add texture or sparkle, for example opt for a sequinned bag with a plain dress and subtle accessories.

5. Wrap Up Warm

Jackets and wraps should not be neglected as they add definition to an outfit with the benefit of keeping the wearer warm. Choose a wrap with a hint of a sparkle with a plain dress and accessories, or a short jacket to call attention to the hips. Although this layer will probably be removed as soon as the wearer arrives at the party, it allows her to make an entrance and unveil her perfectly styled party dress once she has settled in.

6. Incorporate Hair Accessories

Choose a hairstyle and hair accessories that complement the party dress. Hair should be worn up to show off a bare neckline and to avoid competition with the neckline of the dress. However, long hair worn down can be used to balance a strapless party dress, while an intricate braid can add interest to a plain outfit. Alternatively, add interesting hair accessories, such as a beaded, feather, or crystal fascinator, or a decorative headband to a simple outfit. Again, these accessories should not compete with the jewellery chosen.

Finding Party Dresses and Accessories on eBay

Finding the perfect party dress and styling accessories on eBay is easy. Type a keyword or search phrase (for example "crystal choker") into the search bar that can be found on every page to see the listings available from eBay sellers. Use the advanced search feature to see more or fewer listings.

Learn About the Seller

Take a moment to learn about the product and the seller before buying on eBay. The item listing page contains all the information that you need to shop with confidence. This includes details such as the item description, the seller’s feedback and contact information, bidding and buying options, the seller’s accepted payment methods, and the terms of the seller’s returns policy. If you have any questions about a listing, use the "Ask a question" link to contact the seller.

eBay’s seller feedback feature allows you to see what other buyers have to say about a seller’s products and customer service before you buy. Click on the number next to the seller’s username to access the detailed seller rating information. This includes details about the seller’s communication, whether buyers found the postage and packaging costs acceptable, how long the seller took to ship the item, and the accuracy of the item description.


Styling a party dress is a simple process once the effect of accessories is understood. Jewellery, such as a necklace, bracelet, earrings, or ring, can be used to add sparkle and accentuate the beauty of the party dress. Shoes can act as a focal point or complement the outfit and should be chosen with care. Where the cut and style of the dress allows, a belt can be used to add colour or an accent, or to cinch the waist and show off the wearer’s curves.

A bag can be used to add colour or texture, and a decorative clasp can replace a statement ring. The bag’s size should be appropriate to the occasion, with larger bags giving an outfit a more casual feel. A small clutch bag adds an elegant touch to a party dress. A wrap or jacket keeps the wearer warm while drawing attention to the shoulders or waist. Finally, choose the right hairstyle to complement the party dress and add an interesting accessory for extra oomph. Keep balance in mind to avoid overdoing it. eBay sellers offer a wide range of party dresses and accessories for all tastes and occasions.

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