Do You Wear a Long or Short Dress to a Winter Formal?

Blake Lively doesn't even shiver at the NYC Premiere of

Photo: Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

If you're preparing for an upcoming Winter Formal, get excited because you'll have lots of options to choose from. Decades ago it may have only been appropriate to wear floor-skimming gowns to something with the term "formal" attached to it, but these are modern times, and shorter dresses are now so chic with embellishment and gorgeous detail that they're just as dressy, if not even more so. Especially if you're a bit younger and attending college, you can experiment and be a little more open-minded with what you're wearing. Try going for a dress in a uniquely bold color--it'll get you (and everyone else who witnesses your confident choice) out of that drab, mid-winter funk.

Sparkly Sequin Mini

Kristen Stewart was photographed looking dazzling onstage at the January 2011 People's Choice Awards, wearing a fully sequined, metallic gold, black-belted, sleeveless mini dress. There's undoubtedly a lot of leg showing when wearing such a short dress, but there's no eye-popping cleavage up top and Stewart's hair remains down, adding further coverage and plenty of modesty to the look. Nevertheless, if you're not comfortable, adding black tights to the ensemble isn't a problem. The look is age-appropriate and fresh for the event, and it's important to remember that sequins are much easier to wear on a shorter dress. A full-length gown covered with sparkles from top to bottom tends to be a bit overwhelming.

Winter White Grecian

Going for a soft, Greek goddess look? Actress Kate Hudson looked like an Ice Princess at the SAG Awards in January of 2010 when she rocked a floor-trailing, long-sleeved, pure white backless gown. The sophisticated dress just skims her curves, and the sliver of sparkle by her left hip makes this look more appropriate for a slightly older crowd. With super high heels, this flattering ensemble can add inches to your silhouette. With minimal, metallic silver accessories, and her blond hair in a loose, gathered updo, Hudson looks elegant and ethereal, almost like she's floating on the red carpet. Her light makeup is a major do, since you don't want anything heavy or too bright to distract from the overall look. If you're super petite, all that fabric may be too much for your frame, so keep that in mind.

Embellished Black Strapless

Does your personality have a quirky, adventurous side? Stand out from your friends in an embellished lace mini dress, such as the one actress actress Blake Lively modeled at the New York City premiere of "Sherlock Holmes" in December of 2009. She posed outside like a pro in the middle of winter, wearing a corseted black lace mini dress with a deep-V neckline and sweeping irregular hem. Obvious detailing like this automatically makes the dress look expensive, and keeps it from looking like a nightie you mistook for a dress. Wear the hair soft and loose with a dress like this, and maintain fearlessness--after all, you're far too stunning to be affected by something as insignificant as the cold.

A-Line Perfect

Leave it to none other than classic beauty Anne Hathaway to make a deep blue gown as classy as it gets. She wore a strapless, midnight blue corseted dress with blue sequins trailing from her bust down to her hips to the Golden Globe Awards in January 2009. Against her pale skin the color is striking, and would make a stunning statement at any winter formal or holiday party. With her hair up in a sleek, low ballerina bun, Hathaway is the epitome of understated chic. The flattering A-line shape looks great on just about any body shape, making it a perfect go-to option when you're stressing out over what to wear.

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