Happy Wednesday! I’m about to hit “publish” on this post and then start flying around the house like a madwoman trying to pack for our Florida trip tomorrow. We’ll be there for the next couple of weeks and I could not be MORE excited. This feels like the official end of a lonnggg winter and beginning of spring! 🙌🏼
Today’s topic: birthday party outfits! Whenever I do my Instagram Q&A’s I often get asked “what do I wear for my birthday dinner?!” or “what does one wear going out to a club for a friend’s birthday these days?!” so today I will do a very broad, all-encompassing post with some *hopefully* helpful places to start! (Whether it’s YOUR birthday or someone else!)
So…that all being said–if you’re looking for a birthday party outfit–you’ve come to the right place!
“What to wear to a birthday party” is a topic that we deal with all year round, so the aim of this post is to be “evergreen” and something you can refer back to whether it’s spring, summer, winter or fall.
Also (is this just me?) it seems the older I get, the more confusing this topic becomes. 😂 Maybe it’s the stage of life I’m in right now (say, how I went into 2020 wearing tiny dresses and tall heels going out all the time and then came out the other side in 2022 with a baby, a different body, a new lifestyle and new priorities. Hm. No wonder why this is hard!)
Because I rarely know what to wear, I have fallen back on some tried and true outfit “starters” that have never steered me wrong. These are timeless go-to’s (and I’m sharing the YEARS old photos of me wearing some of them to prove it!)
What are the rules for birthday party outfits?
The good news is–there are no rules! 😉 You should always wear what makes you feel good! I do, however, think there are a couple go-to wardrobe staples and/or outfit formulas that you can turn to time and time again when it comes to getting dressed for a birthday party–whether that’s a backyard BBQ, a swanky dinner, a cocktail party, pool party, or anything in between! So, let’s get into it shall we?
Whether you’re putting an outfit together for a friend’s birthday, a family party, or your OWN birthday celebration, I hope this guide helps you pull together an ensemble that makes you feel like a million bucks!
What To Wear To A Birthday Dinner: Wardrobe Staples
A little black dress (or black jumpsuit!)
The most foolproof outfit idea of them all, for any occasion: A LBD or LBJ (little black jumpsuit, that is!) OR what about a little black two-piece top and skirt!? Whether it’s a slip dress, mini dress, a short romper, or a full-length jumpsuit–a black one-piece outfit that is easy to dress up and dress down is always a winner, especially for a birthday dinner! (Whether you’re the birthday girl or an attendee!) Pair it with a sleek or fun heel (more on that below) for something like a cocktail party or even a black tie event, or dress it down with flat sandals or a pair of white sneakers for something more casual. This is also a good rule of thumb for what to wear to a bachelorette party! Black is ALWAYS a great idea, no matter the occasion, no matter the season.
Shop more little black dresses and jumpsuit birthday outfits ideas here:
Whether you’re going to a dinner party at someone’s home or a night out at a restaurant, it’s hard to mess up with jeans! A great pair of jeans can achieve that “perfectly undone” look every time–whether it’s a laid-back or dressed-up dinner, brunch, lunch, whatever! Jeans are always flattering, versatile, and can be paired with more polished pieces for an eye-catching birthday outfit. In the warmer months, you don’t need much other than a cute bodysuit or a sweater tank and a pair of heels to dress up your jeans–in the colder months, just layer on your favorite jacket and you’re good to go!
Shop my favorite pairs of jeans right here:
A fun blouse
I love a fun party top–it’s one the best wardrobe staples you can invest in and a nice blouse is always something I always feel good wearing! I also love blouses with exaggerated sleeves (like this one from Abercrombie!), low cut or square-cut necklines. (Reformation has so many good ones!)
They add a lot of visual interest and shape and you don’t need much else but a simple pair of jeans (like these white jeans!) or jean shorts to pair them with. (Because minimal effort when getting dressed is always a good thing. 😉) You can find a cute party blouse to suit almost any occasion–from country club casual to beach chic to a clubby vibe. (Not that I’m frequenting a lot of clubs these days, but you never know what your friends will come up with for their birthday parties!)
Shop fun flowy, cropped, and puff sleeve blouses here:
Speaking of wardrobe essentials, a few key leather pieces have really become my go-to’s when it comes to any occasion, but your leather wardrobe staples are especially perfect for birthday dinners!
A few favorites: my moto jacket (also love this one from Quince that is a steal of a price) that I wear with everything from jeans to cocktail dresses. Faux leather pants that are easy to dress up with heels for a fancy night out or dress down for pizza with friends by swapping for sneakers. My leather mini skirt from Sezane also gets a ton of use for both dressy and casual occasions. (Have been wearing it so much for winter date nights recently!)
Shop favorite leather wardrobe staples here:
Maxi dress and floral dress
I love maxi dresses–whether they be solid, floral dresses, whatever! They’re never too casual or too dressed-up, so you can be ready to go anywhere with a change of simple accessories! However you’re celebrating a birthday–from wine tasting to dinner to a concert–there are very few occasions where a maxi dress isn’t suitable! In the winter, style it with tall boots (and tights underneath!) along with a moto jacket layered under your winter coat. In the summer, all you need is a simple sandal! (I love this Maxi and wear it all year round!)
Shop more favorite maxi dresses here:
At my wise old age of almost 35, I have [enthusiastically] accepted that my days of walking in 6 inch heels are behind me. However, I do love a good (low) heel for a special day like a birthday party!
There are only a few heels in my wardrobe these days, and they are: The Loeffler Randall bow heels (Camelia, Penny, and Emelia–I own all three kinds and adore them all, although the Emelia are the lowest and therefore the most comfortable) If you’re looking for booties for chillier weather, I LOVE my gold Sezane Lea boots. Both are more “statement” heels and are the perfect finishing touches for your birthday dinner outfit.
If you’re looking for a minimalist, go with everything sandal, I have owned and loved these block heel sandals from amazon for a couple years now and still love them! And for a super chic cap-toe (Chanel-inspired) pump–I love these. (They’re a different pair than I own, mine are VERY old, but they’re identical!)
Shop all my favorite heels here:
Adore this Michelle blazer from Sezane. A great year-round wardrobe staple!
Another wardrobe staple that is perfect to pull out for a birthday dinner is the blazer! They’re one of the most flexible pieces of clothing in my closet. Like heels, they immediately put a chic and refined spin on any outfit. I love layering a slinky camisole underneath so you can show up with a polished look, but shed the blazer as the night goes on and the party heats up! Another look I love is just wearing the blazer buttoned with nothing underneath! It’s super chic but sexy at the same time! Everlane and Madewell always make great blazers, too.
Shop more blazers here:
More Birthday Dinner Outfit Ideas
1. Jeans + Cami (budget-friendly version here) + Structured jacket + cap toe heels for any occasion year round
This is my go-to outfit formula ANY time of year. If I’m ever in a situation where I don’t know what to wear–there’s a good chance I’m pulling together some form of this outfit. A birthday dinner is no exception–it’s a great goldilocks outfit. Not too casual, not too dressy–just right! You can also modify it for the time of year–more layers, less layers, play with white jeans instead of blue jeans–a blazer, a Moto jacket–open toed heels instead of close-toed. It always works! (P.S. low cap-toe heels have been one of the best wardrobe purchases I’ve ever made. They make everything chic!)
2. Floral Dress + Sneakers for a casual birthday party
I am a big fan of combining a feminine dress with casual, classic white sneakers. It says “special occasion” while still being casual, attainable and unfussy. (Plus, it’s a great outfit of choice if you’re going to be walking or on your feet for a long period of time–such as a concert, or if you’re patio hopping in the summer, or on vacation!) One of my favorite places to find great dresses is Reformation (that’s who makes the one I’m wearing!) so I highly recommend looking there if you’re shopping around for a new one!
To make this dress a whole look, the Eda D’orsay sneakers are a must for me. They’re a classic sneaker totally reinvented with a trendy cut-out. It somehow makes them look like a cross between a flat and a sneaker—your go-to sneaker, but better! For added warmth you can layer on a denim jacket to this look (my two favorites reviewed in this post!)
3. A floral maxi dress + booties for fall/winter or with nude heels for spring/summer:
Like I said above, I love a good maxi, and a flowy maxi with a pair of neutral shoes is something I love to wear year round! Whether you’re paring with booties or sandals, it’s a great go-to for lots of different kinds of birthday celebrations! (I love both the dresses I’m wearing above: floral maxi + smocked Amazon maxi)
5. Leather skirt with tights + a chunky sweater or floral top for a winter birthday party
This is a fun trendy birthday dinner party look that is perfect for chillier weather. You can balance out the shorter leather mini with your favorite chunky sweater, or go with a totally different vibe and pair it with a feminine top like this one. (I reach for this top so much, it’s perfect for a girls night or date night!) For extra warmth, you will LOVE these faux sheer fleece-lined tights (pictured on the right. They aren’t actually sheer–they’re amazing!) Or for some added pattern you can go with subtle polka dot tights, which is always so cute!
6. Summersalt bikini top + high waisted bottoms + cover up for a birthday pool party outfit:
My favorite birthday celebrations are ones that take place at the pool or the beach. 😎 If you want a fun swimsuit you can feel confident and fun in, I have some reccos for you: this Summersalts triangle top + high waisted bottoms, and their wrap and backflip ruffle one-pieces. I LOVE these swimsuits and they’re always the first ones I grab for because they’re both stylish, comfortable, and supportive! For more swimwear reccos, head to this post!
CHEERS! I hope this helps give you a great starting point for putting together the perfect birthday outfit!
For more styling tips and outfit ideas, head over to the style section right over here!