faux fur coat outfit

Runway Inspired Outfit Ideas for a Classy Occasion

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How exciting you’ve scored yourself an invitation to a classy occasion! Now all you need is an outfit. While it can sometimes be intimidating having to fit in with a classy dress code — it doesn’t have to be expensive. If we have a big party to go to, there’s always a little bit of pressure to buy brand new clothing. But that doesn’t have to be the case! It can be a tiring cycle as we usually only wear those things once. So I want to give you a few ideas that are still very elegant, but are based on staples that most women already have in their wardrobe. And not the same old cocktail dresses either!

To make it a little more interesting, here are some looks from the runway for inspiration. The runway is the pinnacle of creativity and glamour and truthfully, not always wearable for the average lifestyle, but we can transfer the same ideas into our own wardrobes.  

Some of these ideas may be a little bold, but how many chances do you get to dress up? So have fun with it. Give them a try!

Outfits for a Classy Occasion

A Blazer

Do we always need to wear a dress for an event or a classy occasion? Certainly not! If anything, a woman in a perfectly tailored suit, like the iconic Le Smoking look, is pure elegance.  

We’ve all got a beloved blazer in our wardrobe. Match the color of it to your smartest trousers for a sleek look. And pair with:

1. Pussy bow blouse

The power of one single bow! It adds so much drama and class to an outfit. Variations of this combo are seen every fashion season. Below are some of the best examples.

You can go big with the bow, like the below Saint Laurent look. Or more demure, as master of classic Ralph Lauren likes to do. Black & white is the fool-proof safe option, but feel free to experiment!

2. Ruffle blouse or blouse with long sleeves

Same as with the pussy bow blouse above, ruffles elevate the glamour in an outfit. The cuffs of the blouse should extend out from the bottom of the blazer cuff. You could even try this with a men’s shirt to get the long sleeves! 

3. White button-down shirt + blazer + men’s tie/butterfly bow tie

Follow the lead of Ralph Lauren with a fun twist on masculine & feminine with an elegant interpretation of black tie. As a bonus, you’ll be comfortable and stylish all night long.

To ensure the outfit doesn’t look costumey, make sure your blazer and pants are of the highest quality and fit you perfectly. Or you could even pair it with a pencil skirt! 

A Smart Trouser

Find a tailored pair of pants that you wear when you want to impress. The ideal pair look incredible on you and your confidence will be sky-high! Even better if they’re in a satin or shiny fabric. Now let’s transform it so you can wear it to a classy occasion! Just add:

1. Vest/waistcoat

Vests are so inexpensive, and there’s plenty of choices online. At the moment, the three-piece suit is making an appearance everywhere on the runway. However, they’re timeless.

As soon as you add a waistcoat to an outfit, you exude old-world Dickens British classiness. And you can personalize it in many ways to suit the occasion. Style it with a turtleneck underneath or even an oversized blazer — it all looks good! 

2. Statement jewelry 

Wear an all-monochrome outfit, and then add a burst of color with statement earrings or other jewelry. It’s an understated look but could be perfect for a classy occasion if you don’t want to stand out too much. 

Try chandelier earrings or drop earrings with big, bold shapes. The key is to keep everything else neutral other than the statement piece. Below is an exaggerated example fresh from the Fendi Spring 2021 Couture runway. A lot of respect if you want to match these and go this big!

Related: How to Look Classy & Expensive

Gloves 

This practical accessory from “way back when” has made a comeback with a vengeance. A very big part of Christian Dior’s New Look and worn by Audrey Hepburn (need I say more!), they are the quickest way to inject class & elegance into any outfit. 

Now in the modern age, it’s all about opera gloves — oh, the drama! If you’re not feeling quite so bold, you can always choose a dainty lace glove that ends at the wrists—a perfect accessory for a classy occasion. 

To guarantee you don’t look tacky or costumey, make sure the gloves are high quality. No faux leather. The best and most affordable destinations for glove shopping are thrift shops. You can find some bargains! 

Do you have a dress that you’ve worn many times? Add some gloves,  and it becomes new again!

White Button-Up Shirt

The versatility of a high-quality white shirt — it’s endless! With this look, again you can try it with a men’s shirt. The more oversized you go, the more drama. So it’s up to you!

White button-up shirt + high waist satin skirt + gloves

Below is the outfit from the Valentino Spring 2021 Couture runway show. At its foundation, it’s a simple shirt + skirt combo.  

The key to using this idea for a classy occasion is premium quality clothing. Floor-length skirts are always elegant and best in a silk or satin fabric. If you want to be especially show-stopping, wear the gloves as well! 

a classy occasion
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Related: 8 Classy Accessories To Improve Your Outfit

The Coat

This last piece of advice is more for a relaxed outing. Sometimes we don’t always have a special occasion to attend, yet we still wish to look elegant and fashionable. For times like these, you can’t look past a coat. You can always dress it up with a pointed heeled boot.

These classic shapes: The belted coat, the statement coat, and the long coat are classy in their own right. And depending on how exaggerated you wish to go with the silhouette, they can be very glamorous as well. 

We don’t get many chances for dressing up these days — so have fun with it. Take a break from the cocktail dresses and try something a little out of the box for a truly show stopping look for your next classy occasion!

Up Next: 7 Tips for Buying Expensive (or Expensive Looking Pieces) Without Breaking the Bank

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runway inspired classy occasion outfits
Carolyn Arentson
Carolyn is the founder and creator behind My Chic Obsession. When she's not dreaming up new content, you can find her watching a funny tv show with her husband, raising her two boys, or planning her next trip to Paris.