Formalwear Fantasies

featured image

It seems like there are a plethora of formal engagements in the lives of every Gossip Girl. Balls, galas, private parties, and regattas are everyday occurrences. Therefore, Serena, Blair and the gang have wonderful formal wardrobes filled with hundreds of ball gowns, cocktail dresses and everything in between. So, why has formal fashion become such a staple on young adult shows like Gossip Girl?

There are many answers, including garnering the show attention from fashion bloggers and having access to high end designer apparel. Yet, taking into account the actual story of the show, something bad always seems to happen at every fictional fancy event on television, from Ross saying “Rachel” in his wedding to Emily on Friends, to Fitz being shot at his Birthday Gala on Scandal. The $#!+ always hits the fan when everyone is dressed to the nines and everyone in the fictional world is there to watch. Yet, chances are, this isn’t anyone’s real life experience. Formal events may be exciting and fun, but each party likely isn’t fraught with chaos and disaster.

Looking for the style without all the drama? Here are some cues to realistically take on the formalwear of the television world.

white dresszuhair murad

Going for the goddess look? Serena Van Der Woodsen of Gossip Girl has a million designer dresses in that high school closet of hers. Yet, one versatile maxi dress, like this option, allows you to feel like you’ve always got a different dress on with a few tweaks, such as adding a jacket, or switching jewelry and hair.


Fancy dresses are likewise important when you’re a huge country star, like Rayna James or Juliette Barnes from Nashville. With a different short, sparkly dress for every performance and party, these country ladies seem to have a more realistic reason for the expansive wardrobe, as they are on tour and perform regularly. But it doesn’t take a superstar’s bank account to grab a mini dress like this. Often times, sparkly dresses can seem a little young, like there should be a corsage on your wrist. Take a look at this option, paired with simple Steve Madden heels to tone it down to an off-stage look that doesn’t have ‘prom’ written all over it.

black dress

Looking for a more practical approach to dressing nice? Most people have few occasions in their lives that require a truly formal dress. If you are looking for a nice dress for a regular night out, look no further than Lorelai Gilmore for inspiration. Lorelai from the popular series Gilmore Girls is always a master of both fashion and comfort. She constantly rocks fun yet appropriate styles to her mother’s dreaded Friday night dinners. She always looks very nice and put together, sans ball gowns and sparkles. Lorelai often favors jersey knit dresses with knee high boots for a put together (yet not at all stuffy) look for her evenings out. (Not to mention a jersey dress will be the most comfortable piece in your wardrobe, outside of your sweats.) Try BCBG for innumerable similar jersey dresses, such as this one.

Looking to television for formalwear inspiration isn’t a bad thing. Chances are you can’t snatch up every new dress to hit the runway (or have that many occasions, either). So look at the styles, have fun, but remember that the price tag doesn’t have to scream Gossip Girl for you to look good. And we can all hope no one has that much television-style drama at their formal events.