Women's Dresses (27949)

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What is a formal or evening dress?

A formal or evening dress is a style of women’s clothing suited to black tie, white tie and even semi-formal occasions. Traditionally, a formal dress was floor length, but modern takes on the style include those designs that are tea length or ankle length, and even some dresses that hit above the knee. Formalwear is usually made from luxury fabrics like silk, chiffon, lace, satin or velvet, and may or may not feature embellishment like beading or embroidery.

A short history . . .

The history of the evening or formal gown is long and storied. Going back centuries, formal gowns were the domain of royalty and aristocrats. Designed for wear at court, women’s dresses were woven from sumptuous and expensive fabrics, embellished with beads, lace and embroidery, and required restrictive undergarments to give them shape. In the 18th century, as societies revolted and a middle class emerged, eveningwear became de rigueur. Over time, the silhouette of the evening or formal dress has featured full and fitted skirts, high and low necklines, various sleeve designs, and different lengths.

What styles are available in women’s formal or evening attire?

The modern definition of women’s formalwear includes quite a few variations on the traditional evening gown. Today we see mermaid, sheath, A-line, fit and flare, empire, trumpet, princess, and maxi silhouettes, to name a few. There are strapless, halter, sleeveless, short sleeved, and long sleeved versions of formal gowns. Many formal and evening dresses are long, hitting the floor, while others are cut at the ankle, mid-calf, knee, or just above the knee. Some have full skirts, while others are much more form fitting, or have a straight drape.

What’s the occasion for an evening or formal gown?

In the past—like a long time ago—the upper classes dressed for dinner, and so women wore evening gowns every night. Today, they are usually reserved for special occasions, like black or white tie events, proms, and weddings. Lucky is the girl who gets the chance to dress in formalwear, as it’s an opportunity to accessorize and groom like you’re going to walk the red carpet.

What goes with an evening or formal dress?

A formal dress calls for formal accessories. No ordinary shoe and bag will do. Style up your evening attire with some fancy heels, a clutch, and elegant jewelry. Don’t forget that special dresses call for special undergarments.

 

Shop formal and evening dresses on sale from top designers like Halston Heritage, Tadashi, Rachel Zoe, Marchesa, and BCBG Max Azria.  

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$200.00 $69.99
from J. Crew
75
$200.00 $49.99
from J. Crew
34
$168.00 $120.68
Not all sizes/colors
45
$79.00 $59.99
from Macy's
12
$315.00 $246.62
Not all sizes/colors
22
$148.00 $88.80
39
$39.50 $15.99
from 6pm.com
21
$32.94 $11.97
Not all colors.
9
$48.00 $38.31
Not all sizes/colors
71
$138.00 $89.95
21
Eyelash Sweater Dress
Anthropologie
$148.00 $29.95
40
$89.00 $65.09
Not all sizes/colors
18
Toute V-Neck Dress
Anthropologie
$158.00 $99.95
19
$348.00 $104.40
71
$168.00 $100.80
29
Plunge Tunic Dress
Anthropologie
$158.00 $79.95
8
$26.94 $14.97
Not all colors.
5
Diane Von Furstenberg Lelani dress
Diane Von Furstenberg
$998.00 $399.00
38
Diane Von Furstenberg Carrie dress
Diane Von Furstenberg
$298.00 $149.00
38
$148.00 $88.80
47
$170.00 $128.01
Not all sizes/colors
7
Alana Dress
Anthropologie
$260.00 $120.00
29
$128.00
18
$39.94 $20.00
7
Diane Von Furstenberg Carrie dress
Diane Von Furstenberg
$498.00 $199.00
35
Sophia Dress
Anthropologie
$280.00 $140.00
31
$88.00
113
Diane Von Furstenberg Ashlie dress
Diane Von Furstenberg
$428.00 $171.00
33
$60.00 $30.00
from 6pm.com
11
$445.00 $344.13
Not all sizes/colors
10
Kinsley Dress
Anthropologie
$220.00 $60.00
37
Diane Von Furstenberg Melilla dress
Diane Von Furstenberg
$748.00 $448.00
32
Diane Von Furstenberg Tyche dress
Diane Von Furstenberg
$998.00 $299.00
31
$134.00 $101.22
Not all sizes/colors
11
Diane Von Furstenberg Carrie dress
Diane Von Furstenberg
$368.00 $184.00
29
Lina Dress
Anthropologie
$200.00 $100.00
23
Asymmetrical Bileu Dress
Anthropologie
$158.00 $79.95
15
$148.00 $99.57
Not all sizes/colors
20
Bellina Dress
Anthropologie
$260.00 $100.00
22
Diane Von Furstenberg Irina dress
Diane Von Furstenberg
$478.00 $286.00
27
$740.00 $296.00
28
$70.00 $35.00
from 6pm.com
9
$445.00 $336.07
Not all sizes/colors
10
Diane Von Furstenberg Carrie dress
Diane Von Furstenberg
$368.00 $184.00
25
Crossback Knit Dress
Anthropologie
$118.00 $59.95
10
$128.00 $76.80
13
$108.00 $64.80
24
Diane Von Furstenberg Hazeline dress
Diane Von Furstenberg
$428.00 $214.00
24
Diane Von Furstenberg Carrie dress
Diane Von Furstenberg
$298.00 $178.00
24
Diane Von Furstenberg Minetta dress
Diane Von Furstenberg
$448.00 $134.00
24
$260.00 $207.99
from Macy's
8
$345.00 $262.82
Not all sizes/colors
5
Jackie Jumpsuit
Anthropologie
$240.00 $120.00
19
$398.00 $298.50
44
$188.00 $112.80
28
$118.00
22
Diane Von Furstenberg Leora dress
Diane Von Furstenberg
$368.00 $184.00
23
Diane Von Furstenberg Calandra dress
Diane Von Furstenberg
$598.00 $358.00
23
Henrietta Dress
Anthropologie
$400.00 $200.00
23
Colleen Dress
Anthropologie
$400.00 $280.00
20
$26.94 $15.97
Not all colors.
3
$148.00 $88.80
28
$88.00 $63.02
Not all sizes/colors
22
Diane Von Furstenberg Melinnda dress
Diane Von Furstenberg
$428.00 $171.00
22
Diane Von Furstenberg Leora dress
Diane Von Furstenberg
$398.00 $199.00
22
Diane Von Furstenberg Letty dress
Diane Von Furstenberg
$528.00 $264.00
22
$198.00 $119.95
15
$368.00 $276.00
58
$68.00 $27.99
from 6pm.com
29
$148.00 $89.99
from J. Crew
7
$138.00 $69.95
10
Bellina Dress
Anthropologie
$260.00 $100.00
17
$349.00
4
$178.00
24
$398.00 $159.00
21
Diane Von Furstenberg Layne dress
Diane Von Furstenberg
$368.00 $184.00
21
Jackie Jumpsuit
Anthropologie
$240.00 $70.00
24
$428.00 $174.98
25
$89.50 $41.99
from LOFT
23
Diane Von Furstenberg Evita dress
Diane Von Furstenberg
$398.00 $159.00
23
$138.00 $41.40
from 6pm.com
15
$69.95 $34.97
Not all colors.
from Gap
9
Cocoon Sweatshirt Dress
Anthropologie
$148.00 $79.95
19
$445.00 $354.63
Not all sizes/colors
8
Diane Von Furstenberg Letty dress
Diane Von Furstenberg
$598.00 $358.00
20