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The Best Short Formal Dress | 2023

Last updated on January 11, 2023

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Our Picks For The Top Short Formal Dresses

Show Contents
Our Take
  Top Pick

Knitee Ruffle Deep V-Neck Short Formal Dress

Don't Waste Your Money Seal of Approval

Knitee

Ruffle Deep V-Neck Short Formal Dress

Overall Take

Feminine DetailsThis short formal dress includes ruffles and frills.

  Runner Up

ALICEPUB Customizable Chiffon Halter Short Formal Dress

ALICEPUB

Customizable Chiffon Halter Short Formal Dress

Overall Take

Customization OptionsThis short formal dress can be tailored for specific measurements.

  We Also Like

Romwe Glitter Ruffle Short Sleeve A-Line Short Formal Dress

Romwe

Glitter Ruffle Short Sleeve A-Line Short Formal Dress

Overall Take

Sparkly ChoiceThis short formal dress is glittery and eye-catching.

  Strong Contender

Relipop Spaghetti Strap Ruffle Hem Short Formal Dress

Relipop

Spaghetti Strap Ruffle Hem Short Formal Dress

Overall Take

Stylish and FunThis short formal dress is ready to party.

Guide written by Anam Ahmed
Last updated on January 11, 2023

When it comes to formal events, long dresses aren’t the only option. Short formal dresses are elegant, eye-catching and often much easier to wear than their longer counterparts. Short formal dresses are lightweight, offer more mobility and keep you feeling cool and comfortable.

When choosing a short formal dress, first consider where you’ll be wearing it. Consider how formal the event is. For example, are you going to a wedding at an outdoor location or a black-tie gala in a famous ballroom? This will help you determine how formal the dress needs to be. Also consider the temperature at the event. For example, if it’s an air-conditioned hotel, it’s going to feel much cooler than a reclaimed barn in the summer months. Knowing the temperature will guide you in the type of fabric you should choose for your dress.

When it comes to the shape of the dress, it’s helpful to consider your body type so that you choose a look that flatters your figure. If you have a bigger bust, opt for a dress that provides a lot of structure at the top so you have ample support. For those who have a smaller bust, lower necklines or backless dresses may work well. If you have a straight body shape, go with a short formal dress that accentuates your waist, such as a dress with a fluffy skirt. If you are pear-shaped, opt for a dress with and off-the-shoulder style to accentuate your upper half.

Consider how short the dress is in relation to the length of your torso and legs. On one person, a dress may go to the knees while on someone else the same dress may end at the upper thigh. For many formal occasions, going too short can be seen as a faux pas, so give consideration to what is appropriate at the event you’re going to.

The Best Short Formal Dresses

1
  Top Pick

Knitee Ruffle Deep V-Neck Short Formal Dress

This short formal dress has fun and feminine details like ruffles and frills. It features a deep v-neckline as well as a figure-hugging silhouette. The dress has a split in the side.

Features


Specifications

Brand
Knitee
Model
2
  Runner Up

ALICEPUB Customizable Chiffon Halter Short Formal Dress

This short formal dress has customization options for measurements, colors and other details. It is made from a flowy chiffon material. The dress also has a fully lined built-in bra.

Features


Specifications

Brand
ALICEPUB
Model
3
  We Also Like

Romwe Glitter Ruffle Short Sleeve A-Line Short Formal Dress

This short formal dress is full of sparkles. It is made from a soft and stretchy fabric. The dress is ideal for cocktail parties, weddings, proms and more.

Features


Specifications

Brand
Romwe
Model
4
  Strong Contender

Relipop Spaghetti Strap Ruffle Hem Short Formal Dress

This stylish short formal dress has a fun vibe. It features a boat neck with spaghetti straps, as well as a tie knot at the waist with a simple ruffle. The dress is machine washable.

Features


Specifications

Brand
Relipop
Model
5
  Also Great

XXTAXN Asymmetrical Long Sleeve Split Short Formal Dress

This sophisticated short formal dress has a graceful look. It features a unique one-sleeve design. The dress is made from a soft and stretchy material.

Features


Specifications

Brand
XXTAXN
Model

Our Short Formal Dress Buying Guide

When it comes to formal events, long dresses aren’t the only option. Short formal dresses are elegant, eye-catching and often much easier to wear than their longer counterparts. Short formal dresses are lightweight, offer more mobility and keep you feeling cool and comfortable.

When choosing a short formal dress, first consider where you’ll be wearing it. Consider how formal the event is. For example, are you going to a wedding at an outdoor location or a black-tie gala in a famous ballroom? This will help you determine how formal the dress needs to be. Also consider the temperature at the event. For example, if it’s an air-conditioned hotel, it’s going to feel much cooler than a reclaimed barn in the summer months. Knowing the temperature will guide you in the type of fabric you should choose for your dress.

When it comes to the shape of the dress, it’s helpful to consider your body type so that you choose a look that flatters your figure. If you have a bigger bust, opt for a dress that provides a lot of structure at the top so you have ample support. For those who have a smaller bust, lower necklines or backless dresses may work well. If you have a straight body shape, go with a short formal dress that accentuates your waist, such as a dress with a fluffy skirt. If you are pear-shaped, opt for a dress with and off-the-shoulder style to accentuate your upper half.

Consider how short the dress is in relation to the length of your torso and legs. On one person, a dress may go to the knees while on someone else the same dress may end at the upper thigh. For many formal occasions, going too short can be seen as a faux pas, so give consideration to what is appropriate at the event you’re going to.

DWYM Fun Fact

Can you wear a short formal dress at a semi-formal or casual event? Absolutely. You just have to know how to dress it down the right way. Start with the footwear. Instead of wearing the formal dress with a pair of heels, tone it down by wearing it with flats. Some dresses may even work with tennis shoes. In addition, consider adding a layer to the dress, such as a denim jacket or a casual scarf, which may help to dress down any embellishments the dress has. Some people even wear a layer underneath the dress, such as a plain white t-shirt, to make it look less formal.

The Short Formal Dress Tips and Advice

  • In terms of color, there is so much variety when it comes to short formal dresses. The classic little black dress is iconic and versatile, and is always in style – no matter the venue. A little twist on this style is to go with a similarly dark color, such as navy blue or hunter green. Other dark colors such as burgundy or amethyst also look elegant at formal occasions, especially those held in the evening. For daytime formal occasions, opt for colors on the lighter side, like pastels.
  • Look for short formal dresses with intricate details such as beading, sequins, embroidery and other embellishments. Small elements such as these can elevate a simple dress into an extravagant one.
  • Choosing the right footwear is essential when wearing a short formal dress. From stilettos to wedges to strappy sandals, carefully select the footwear for your outfit because it will be on full display. While with long dresses the shoes are not a focal point, with short dresses the shoes are often at the center of attention.
  • Pay special attention to the care and maintenance instructions of the short formal dress. Many formal dresses, especially those with embellishments, are dry clean only or hand wash only. Some may be able to go in the washing machine, while only a few will be tumble dryer friendly.

About The Author

Anam Ahmed 

Anam Ahmed is a copywriter and essayist based in Toronto. She has been writing on technology, travel, parenting, and business for over 10 years, and works with a number of high-profile organizations. She values finding the best products to make people's lives easier. Anam earned an M.A. from the University of Toronto and a B.A.H. from Queen's University. Learn more at www.anamahmed.ca.