How to Pair a Jacket with Your Formal Gown

Your formal gown takes center stage, but a jacket or other outer garment may need a supporting role if the evening promises to be chilly. Wraps and shawls usually work, or you can opt for a jacket or coat.

Color. A jacket color that exactly matches your gown may be impossible to find, and it is not necessarily the answer. Going with a coat that is in the same color family as your gown and accessories can work, as long as the color adds to the overall harmony of the hues.

Style. A style that matches your dress style is the way to go for picking a cut. Classic coat styles work best to keep up a formal look for your entire ensemble, while a modern cut can work with a super-chic, modern gown. Keep it simple in any event, not fussing up the look with excessive zippers, pockets, belts or embellishments.

Length. The length of your jacket can make or break your outfit. The rule of thumb for coats for cocktail dresses and shorter skirts is to keep the cut near the hemline. A coat that is about one inch longer than the hem can work, as long as it doesn’t go too long and make you look like a flasher. Full-length gowns work best with jackets cropped at the waist or longer coats that flow with the silhouette of the dress.

Even if you only need to wear your jacket or coat for a few minutes, these tips can make those minutes full of style.

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