How to Make a Bodycon Dress Look Formal

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Bodycon dresses might seem like something you should save for casual gatherings or parties. However, with the proper styling, you can also turn this gorgeous dress into a staple outfit for formal occasions. I’m listing different ways how to make a bodycon dress look formal.

How to Make a Bodycon Dress Look Formal

Layering is the key to making a bodycon dress look formal. To make it look more polished, match it with a long coat, a short coat, or a top with long sleeves. Accessorize to finish the look with heels, flats, boots, a belt, and simple earrings or a necklace.

Graphic illustration of various images that shows different ideas on how to make a bodycon dress look formal

One of the great things about the best bodycon dresses is that you can wear bodycon for different occasions, like casual events and seasons as long as they are styled correctly. To help you flaunt your curves, I provide the ultimate guide to turning your bodycon dress into formal attire.

Add a Short Jacket

The simplest way to make your bodycon dress look formal is to throw in a short jacket and wear closed-toe shoes. This ensemble screams work to weekend vibes right away.

Try a Blazer and Boots

A dress with a low neckline and thin straps can seem too revealing for a formal gathering. This combination is perfect if you have a white maxi bodycon dress, a dark-colored loose blazer, and knee-high boots.

Add a structured nude clutch and gold bangle bracelets to complete the ensemble. The bodycon dress and boots give a slightly laidback effect, while the bodycon and handbag give the outfit a more polished look.

Wear a Leather Jacket and Low-Heel Pump Shoes

You can pair your earth-toned bodycon dresses with a black leather jacket if you want an edgier yet formal look. A striking leather jacket can also hide your navel while wearing a bodycon dress. Round up the ensemble with pointed-toe and low-heel pumps, which give you just enough height.

Use a Blazer, Belt, and Loafers

Do you want to show up to work with a new outfit, and you have a dinner date later? Save time on changing clothes because you can make your bodycon look equally tailored and sexy.

A woman wearing a black bodycon dress with her right hand on her hips

A long white tunic bodycon dress is instantly made more stylish when worn over a black blazer. Make it even more polished with a black statement belt, which can also cinch the waist. Then, opt for simple black loafers.

Add Long Layers

Long layers are both stylish and functional. A coat or cardigan can protect your body from the weather while making your bodycon dresses look formal in seconds.

Wear a Coat, Belt, and Heels

The Business of Fashion and Thrive Global conducted a study on the effects of workwear on mental health, creativity, and productivity. They found that 66% consider their work clothes to represent their true personality. Meanwhile, 49% of women feel self-conscious about repeating outfits at the office.

If you feel like using an office coat seems repetitive, add some hues to your black bodycon dresses with a long beige coat and nude heels. You can use a wide leather belt as a statement piece to draw attention to your waist.

Pair with Long Sleeves

A long-sleeved top can cover your sleeveless, backless, or strapless bodycon dresses. Moreover, it can provide an ultra-feminine touch to your sultry bodycon.

Try a Duster and Flats

Layer a black sheer duster over a black spaghetti strap bodycon. Use a silver chain belt to draw attention to your waist, and let the duster fall gracefully over your hips. Flats in fiery red or hot pink can provide an extra accent.

Use a Shrug

Do you have a backless bodycon with a solid print or pattern? Pair your striped or floral bodycon with a black shrug for coverage.

The shrug can also help make your arms look slimmer and more elongated. Make your beautiful legs look sleeker with a pair of ankle strap heels.

A woman pulling her black bodycon dress to down to her knees

Reminders When Styling Formal Bodycon Dresses

Wearing and styling a bodycon for a formal occasion can be tricky at first. However, with these reminders, you can find the right balance and get a renewed formal wardrobe.

  • Layer according to your body shape: A bodycon dress clings tightly to the curves, so it’s crucial to know your body shape so you can style the dress appropriately. Whether you have a pear-shaped or petite body, there’s a body part you may want to emphasize or conceal.
  • Choose complementing accessories: Opt for simple statement pieces such as a pendant necklace or hoop earrings. A statement necklace can draw attention away from the sections you want to cover.
  • Use formal bags and shoes: Most formal dresses go well with a patterned clutch, leather purse, or satchel bag.
  • Wear shoes that help boost posture: Boots, flats, and closed-toe heels are safe choices for looking classy and fashionable. Heels can also help you stand taller and keep your back straight to make your buttocks look rounder and firmer.

Make sure to wear the best undergarments with your bodycon dress. With the right underwear, you can avoid panty lines while wearing a bodycon dress.

Related Questions

Can I Wear Bodycon Dresses to Work?

Yes, you can make your bodycon dress work appropriate if you style it within your company’s dress code. Make sure to pair it with office clothing essentials such as blazers or coats. With the outfit ideas mentioned above, you can make your bodycon a staple in your work wardrobe.

What Bra Do You Wear for Bodycon Dresses?

It would be much preferable to wear the right adhesive bra or a seamless bra under a bodycon dress. This kind of figure-hugging dress requires a smooth-finished bra without any lines poking through. However, the bra should still offer support and lift for your breasts.

How Can I Hide Love Handles in a Formal Bodycon Outfit?

Using the best bodycon shapewear is the best way to conceal love handles when wearing a bodycon. You may also consider using dark or slimming colors or dresses with vertical stripes. Proper layering can also help you look slimmer while wearing a bodycon dress.

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Styling a bodycon dress is a great way to add a little spice to your typical formal clothes. Whether for a gala, a work meeting, or a wedding, you can follow the dress code while standing out. I hope these styling tips can help you make the most of your favorite bodycon.


Allena is the Founder and Editor of The Better Fit, a platform dedicated to empowering women with practical advice on bras and fitness, inspired by her own revelation of the widespread issue of incorrect bra sizing. Her expertise and tips have been recognized by major publications such as Cosmopolitan, Better Homes & Gardens, Insider, and NBC, making her a trusted voice in women's wellness and lifestyle.