The dreaded occasionwear dress code

Jumpsuit: £104, Phase Eight. Bag: £79, Marks & Spencer. Shoes: Topshop (old). Photographs: Christopher O’Donnell

Occasionwear, the word that fills me with dread every summer. Fascinators, florals, taffeta and chartreuse spring to mind – none of which are really my thing.

And to be honest, Phase Eight tends to fall into this category with me…but after trying this jumpsuit – I might have changed my mind.

I’ve always been more of a jumpsuit kind of girl, anyway. And this, for me, is the perfect occasionwear outfit – a little more cool than flounce and I think it just might be the most flattering all in one I’ve ever tried on.

There are no right or wrongs when it comes to occasion dressing (in my opinion) and here are a few tips I’d give as a stylist:

DO look for separates. I sometimes think we’ve been conditioned to think that occasionwear must mean dresses. but a beautiful blouse and trousers/skirt could do just as well (a friend wore a trouser suit to my wedding and she looked fabulous).

You DON’T have to leave your comfort zone, if you don’t want to. Whilst full on black or white is still frowned upon at weddings (not in my circles), if it’s not in your nature to do bright colour, don’t feel pressured to do so. Monochrome with a dash of colour in your accessories is more than enough of a nod to the occasionwear dress code.

DO look for fun accessories to jazz up something you might already have. You don’t have to have something new for every event. Nine times out of ten, I wear an old dress but spruced with some recent shoe purchases.

Skyscraper heels optional….(these are old velvet favourites from Topshop).

Jumpsuit: £104, Phase Eight. Bag: £79, Marks & Spencer. Shoes: Topshop (old).

I’ve rounded up a few shoppable bits below, for a less formal approach to formal wear…


  1. I love that jumpsuit on you, how easy is it to get in and out of?
    I think separates are the way to go, I have a wedding next year, and am planning on wearing a navy and cream print skirt, with a navy crepe top, navy cream jacket and maybe a pink handbag. There is more than a year to go, so this outfit is bound to change several times….

      1. Thing is, at best I’m trying to talk myself out of buying something new for next year’s wedding. At worst if I do fall for some must have outfit, I’m hoping it’ll be in the sales (but must be able to be dressed down as well as up).

  2. Wow – Alex you look stunning! What a body – this couldn’t suit you more – will never overlook a jumpsuit again having seen this!

  3. I feel the same every time someone in my circle announces a wedding or a formal event, ahhhh! You look fantastic on that jumpsuit and velvet heels Alex ♥ My perfect outfit is a pair wide leg flowy pants with a nice blouse and some killer accessories. Happy Monday!

    Saida | She talks Glam

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