If you’re lucky enough to receive an invitation to a red carpet event, it’s an excellent opportunity to network, impress the right people, and gain exposure. After all, everybody who’s anybody will be there!

But what do you wear? Preparing your outfit for a red carpet debut is a big deal. You want to look chic, elegant, and unique. So how do you create the perfect look that makes you stand out to the right people?

Don’t worry; we’ve got you covered. We’ve put together this handy guide to help you figure out what to wear to a red carpet event.

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Follow the Dress Code

what wear red carpet code

First things first. Check the dress code! Anything goes nowadays when it comes to red carpet fashion, so make sure you plan your outfit appropriately.

Most red carpets require formal wear such as floor-length gowns and tuxedos. However, some events are more relaxed and allow edgier experimental looks. Overall, you want to choose a look that is both formal and reflective of your personal style.

Also, the dress code can depend on the type of industry hosting the red carpet event. Many people believe that a red carpet event is only for celebrities, but that is simply not true. Whether it’s a Hollywood, corporate, or hospitality event, make sure you double-check the invite.

Evening Gowns

what wear red carpet gown

what wear red carpet evening gown

If your red carpet event has a black tie dress code, an evening gown is the way to go. Since most red carpets are formal or black tie, elegance is key. Evening gowns are floor-length and come in various cuts, colors, and silhouettes.

Although formal, the possibilities are endless when choosing an evening gown. Go with a sweeping floor-length ball gown or a slinky silk mermaid silhouette. Whatever you choose, make sure you feel comfortable and confident while wearing it.

Renting a black tie dress is an excellent option if you don’t want to break the bank. Plenty of places offer designer brand rentals at a fraction of the cost. In addition, renting your red carpet outfit is much more sustainable than shopping new!

Cocktail Dresses

what wear red carpet cocktail dress

Cocktail dresses are an excellent option if the red carpet event is semi-formal. Cocktail dresses are fun because you can play with shorter hemlines and express yourself with creative silhouettes.

Choose a satin midi dress with a daring leg slit, or keep it classic with an a-line knee-length look. Cocktail dresses use many different types of fabrics, so choose something breathable and high-quality.

As with formal wear, plenty of companies offer sustainable alternatives to buying a brand new cocktail dress. You can rent cocktail dresses from places like Rent the Runway or Nuuly. It’s a fun way to try something new!

Tailored Suits and Tuxedos

what wear red carpet tuxedo


If dresses aren’t your thing, you can always go with a tailored suit or tux. Everyone looks good in a sharp jacket and some slim-fitting pants. First, decide if you will wear a tuxedo or a more relaxed suit.

If it’s a black tie evening event, choose a dark, neutral-colored tuxedo to look extra sleek. Black is always a safe option. You can add some color with your tie, waistcoat, or button-up shirt. Suit jackets in rich jewel tones are trendy right now if you prefer something more lively.

Daytime red carpet events are usually less formal, so a suit will work just fine. In that case, lighter colors and fabrics are acceptable. You can’t go wrong with linen or cotton in shades of beige, gray, or blue.


what wear red carpet jumpsuit

A jumpsuit is a playful option for informal red carpet events that allow for more modern or casual attire. A sleek jumpsuit gives you an edgy look that is flattering and easy to wear.

When choosing a jumpsuit for the red carpet, go with one that is elegant and sophisticated. Satin, silk, and other luxurious fabrics are excellent options. In addition, make sure the cut and detailing are flattering to your figure. After all, jumpsuits are supposed to be comfortable!

A jumpsuit is a classy all-in-one outfit that is easy to accessorize. Add a piece of statement jewelry, high heels, and a fun clutch to create a chic, eye-catching look that will turn heads.

Choose the Right Accessories

what wear red carpet accessories

Once you have your outfit planned, it’s time to choose your accessories. Choose wisely. Your jewelry, bag, and shoes can make or break your outfit.

We recommend going with pieces that don’t draw attention away from your dress or suit. There’s a difference between statement jewelry and over-accessorizing. Remember, less is more!

Choose one or two pieces to avoid looking too busy. For example, accessorizing with a simple diamond necklace or some sustainable heels can compliment your outfit instead of drawing away from it.

What Not to Wear

For a red carpet event, you want to dress to impress. Although everyone has a unique style, there are some general rules about what not to wear to a red carpet event.

When dressing for the red carpet, avoid wearing:

  • Your favorite sweatpants. Sure, athleisure wear is having a moment. However, leggings and sweatshirts on the red carpet will inevitably look sloppy.

  • Sheer fabrics. Always test your look to ensure it withstands the red carpet's bright lights. Camera flashes and harsh lighting can reveal certain parts that you’d rather keep private. We all want to turn heads, but not for this reason!

  • A shapeless outfit. Wearing a billowing gown may be tempting, but make sure your outfit has some structure. What may flow beautifully in motion will look drab and frumpy in a photo.

  • Something that will make you blend in. The red carpet is your moment to shine. Go big or go home!

Have fun!

what wear red carpet fun

Getting ready for your red carpet event is both nerve-wracking and exhilarating. Through all the preparation, it’s essential to have fun. Make your red carpet event a night to remember by choosing an outfit that is comfortable, chic, and totally “you.”

And remember, the most important thing to wear on the red carpet is your smile!

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About the Author: Liz Flynn

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