The definition of formal wear has changed over the years. It has, in a sense, become more relaxed and focused on comfort and personal style. In the past, formal attire meant restrictive long gloves and dresses with corsets underneath for the ladies and a three-piece suit for the gents.

With modernity on your side, it’s easier now more than ever to transform a casual outfit to formal in as just a few minutes.

Of course, it is most ideal to have a few days or, at the very least, a few hours to get ready for a formal event. However, there will be times when you will be needed to appear formal very quickly, like an unexpected event. You’ll be thankful later if you read these tips on how to look casual to formal in minutes.

Before Everything Else

You don’t have to spend a lot of money to pull off this look. In fact, the items that will be mentioned here may already be things you already own. If you haven’t already, make it a point to quickly scan the inside of your closet to be updated on what clothing items you own.

If you find clothes that you no longer wear, you can choose to donate them or sell them online. You can make money off of things you’re no longer using and you free valuable closet space that way. The cash you earned can be used to add investment pieces or added to your savings.

Wear Heels

One of the best ways to elevate a boring, uneventful outfit is to wear heels. There’s a reason they are a mainstay item in most formal wear outfits. Heels just make everything classy even when you’re wearing a pair of denim.

Suit It Up

The great thing about outerwear like blazers and dinner jackets is that it can make an outfit look more put together. It can also protect the wearer from the cold. You can choose to wear any colored blazer or suit to your like, but sticking to basic colors like black, dark blue, or gray is ideal.

Solid Neutrals Are Your Friend

Most people have this perception that solid neutrals are more formal than, say, bold prints and patterns. This is true in most cases, and you can take advantage of this by using clothing that is in this color scheme.

Black is a popular and timeless choice, but you can also go for gray, white, cream, beige, or navy blue if you’re looking for options. You can definitely add some pops of color here and there according to the accessories available to you as well.

Skirt It Up

In an ideal world, you should have a workplace locker or extra cabinets where you can stash emergency clothes. It will surely come in handy for you or for others who are in need of a quick change of clothes for a pop-up event. Backup clothes can include an extra set or work clothes like slacks, a white button-up shirt, blazer, skirt, and an extra pair of reliable heels.

If you have access to these things and if you’re debating whether to wear the slacks or the skirt, you can opt for either. A skirt would be a refreshing piece for you especially if you’ve been wearing suits and pants regularly. Additionally, a skirt would be more appropriate in some circumstances.

Stay Safe or Innovate

There are events that you can get away with not necessarily being formal but stylish and put together. Of course, there are huge, once-in-a-lifetime events that have proper dress codes you should follow.

For the latter, as an invited guest, you are bound to your duty to follow protocol because it is important to the invitees.

For the former, you can always make do with what you have and innovate from there. If unexpected events happen often due to the nature of your work, then you should be more prepared than most by having ready outfits to go when that happens.

It can just be a couple of dresses if you want a no-fuss style that can easily be paired with heels or something more hip and trendy according to your taste.

What is your favorite flexible outfit that can both be casual and formal? Sound off in the comments below.

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© Ruchie Verma.

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12 Thoughts to “How to Look Casual to Formal in Minutes”

  1. Very easy and relevant style tips for formal wear. Solid neutrals are my go to as well when it comes to formal wear. 🙂 I avoid prints especially for presentations and meetings!

  2. I liked your subtle ideas dear, you made it all look so easy and your advice indeed is ban on

  3. I find shift dresses to suit any occasion. Just a change of shoes can help

  4. Frankly speaking, I am not a big fan of high heels and all. But those who love and go with fashion, it would be helpful for them.

  5. Sharvari

    Blazers and trench coats are a great formal wear staple. Solid colours are easier to style with in multiple ways. Yes i agree heels can add oomph to any outfit but i think ballet flats and brogues can work really well with formal

  6. Blazers and solid neutral colors do work for me. Good tips

  7. These are some smart hacks that can help us transform from casual to formal and chic within minutes.

  8. I used to keep a party wear in my office cupboard, when I was working. Because we used to have so many office parties after work hours. Its always good to be prepared and carry a little makeup along.

  9. Nimmy

    Excellent ideas! I’m seriously looking for a job now and I’m taking down these tips

  10. The points are so valid . These days the definition of being formal has really changed. All the points are helpful.

  11. Papri Ganguly

    my wardrobe is filled with formals and office wears, will definitely try out your tips and tricks to make them a bit casual

  12. I agree that high heels elevate a formal look like nothing else. They are a great style statement.

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