Modest Formal Dress: How to Dress Modestly to Formal Parties and Events

Woman wearing a modest black dress with a gold bag

Struggling to find the perfect formal dress for an upcoming party?

Finding stylish but covered up outfits can be one of the toughest challenges when trying to dress modestly.

Some dresses can be beautiful on their own, but others may need just a little bit of extra coverage.

So, often you have to improvise and end up getting a less than ideal dress from the stores as you can’t find a modest one that you like or is stylish enough.

Time to bring an end to your woes. 

So, you can be seriously stylish from top to toe, while keeping modest at the same time.

Modest Formal Dress Options

Maxi Dress

Flowy, floor-grazing dresses are a modest style staple.

So, a glamorous maxi dress is the perfect outfit choice for those who want to dress that keeps them covered up.

This chic and comfy piece comes in many different styles and designs.

So, look out for one that is more sleek, trendy and sophisticated to wear to your formal event.

Don’t forget to dress it up with accessories to really make a style statement.


Jumpsuits are a more comfortable option that still oozes style and sophistication.

It is a modern yet modest piece of clothing that you can wear to formal parties and occasions that will keep you covered from neck to toe.

This is all-in-one, ready to wear outfit that will save you some hassle about having to style and pair many pieces together.

If you want a little extra coverage, opt for a jumpsuit that has long sleeves, or wear a tight-fitting basic long sleeved top underneath.

It can be styled to be both bohemian or classic chic depending on the style you want to go for.

Dress it up with a few accessories and you cannot go wrong with it.

Effortless, chic and fun!

How to Make Revealing Pieces More Modest Yet Formal

Woman wearing a blue dress with bangles and a shawl

If you can’t find a modest and formal dress to your taste, then don’t feel disheartened.

There are plenty of ways you can make a not-so-modest outfit more covered up.

This can be done with by layering your outfit with a number of stylish pieces.

Keep reading as we show you how.

Covering Up Sleeveless Clothing

Wear A Shrug

Who says you have to give up the latest sleeveless trends?

So many formal gowns and dresses can either be strapless or sleeveless.

If you hate the idea of exposing your arms, here are some alternatives to going sleeveless.

A great way to be able to wear them is to find a nice cover up to wear over the outfit to keep those shoulders and arms hidden.

So, why not wear a shrug?

A shrug is a short, cardigan-like garment that is designed to cover the upper part of the back and shoulders.

They can be short sleeved or long, depending on how much you want to cover up.

This piece will hug your body while still maintaining grace and modesty.

Shrugs usually end just at the waistline.

So, it doesn’t take away from the style of your dress and simply adds some extra coverage.

Find one made of lace or silk material for that extra classy look for your formal event.

Wear a Bolero Jacket

A bolero jacket is a formal, delicate dress cover-up that is perfect to be worn over a dress for an evening event.

It is perfect for creating layers to an outfit to make it more modest.

Try and opt for a style and design that doesn’t distract from your dress.

But, if you want to add more dramatic detail to a simpler dress, then choose one that is more detailed instead.

Choose from a three-quarter or full-length sleeve depending on how much coverage you want.

Wear a Shawl

If a shrug isn’t your desired option, why not consider adding a classy shawl to your party ensemble?

This is another great option for those who want just a little bit more exposure without taking away from the style or elegance of the dress.

Choose an intricately embellished shawl that will go well with your dress and will add some extra coverage without making it look informal.

This will offer some extra coverage to your back, shoulders and arms, while also adding a unique style to your outfit.

Drape it over your shoulders to decorate your dress and complete your look while keeping you looking conservative.

Sheer Bodysuit

A sheer bodysuit is a great way to cover up your arms, back and neckline by wearing it underneath your dress.

A bodysuit is pulled together from the front and back and buttoned over the torso to keep it securely in place.

This will create the illusion that the bodysuit’s sleeves are part of the dress without taking away from its style.

This is a great way to make your dress appear more modest.

In addition to this, it is a lot more comfortable than wearing a regular top underneath as you won’t have to tug or smoothen the outer layer as it will stay flat under your dress.

A sheer option is a nice way to add a feminine and delicate touch to the dress.

It conceals the skin slightly so you don’t have to bear it all.

However, if you would like a bit more coverage, you can opt for a bodysuit that is made of thicker material and will cover your arms better.

But, make sure you choose a bodysuit that matches your dress as closely and possible to make it appear natural and like its part of the dress.

Covering Up Short Dresses

Woman wearing a pink skirt with a belt and bootsWear Tights

Reluctant to reveal your legs?

That doesn’t mean you have to play it safe with long outfits.

Amp it up with style and dramatic pieces so you don’t have to bare your legs.

A good way to do this is by wearing tights.

Not only do tights add modesty to a short outfit, but also style.

It can be worn under any dress, so the styling possibilities are endless.

This will give you the ability to wear all your favourite dresses without worrying about being immodest.

But, don’t be scared of coloured tights.

Spice things up with a colourful one that either compliments or contrasts with your dress perfectly.

This will call attention to your legs while keeping them modestly covered up.

A bright pair of tights can really add some excitement to a mundane outfit to make it stand out.

So, try and let the tights do the talking by wearing a neutral coloured outfit if you don’t want too much drama with your look.

But, try and make sure it complements the dress or contrasts it perfectly without competing with it.

However, if you want to keep things simpler, just opt for classic black or grey tights instead.

This will work just as well and offers instant sophistication to an outfit.

Don’t forget to finish off the look with a pair of closed-toe shoes to complete the outfit.

Covering Up Deep Necklines


There are plenty of ways to get make a top or dress with a plunging neckline more conservative, yet still formal and fashionable.

If your dress has a deep neckline, you can tone down the cleavage by wearing a camisole underneath if you want to cover up a bit more.

This is perhaps one of the most popular ways to easily cover up a little extra cleavage.

A high-neck, slightly sheer camisole that matches your dress can keep you covered up while naturally appearing as part of your outfit.

Try and wear a fitted camisole that will hug your figure without creating extra bulk to your look.


If you would rather ditch the long layers, then a bralette can be worn in place of a camisole.

If you want higher front coverage and pretty lace details, then this is the best option for you.

A bralette is a fun alternative to a traditional bra.

However, as they combine both comfort and style, it is best used for layering.

Bralettes come in a variety of styles and designs, so choose the one that suits your dress the best.


A bandeau is a simple, stretchy tube shape garment that is worn around the upper part of the body.

So, this covers the bust to give more coverage to a plunging neckline if it is a little too low for comfort.

However, it doesn’t offer much support so wear it over your bra to use it as a cover-up.

This is especially great for those hot days when you want to wear fewer layers.

They work really well under low- cut dresses, as well as sheer ones without ruining your formal look.

Cover Sheer Clothing

A clothing rack of white and cream sheer dresses

The trend for transparent clothing is calling for many sheer styled dresses on shop floors.

Sheer clothing is thin, transparent clothing made with fabric such as lace, mesh or chiffon.

But, that doesn’t mean you have to shy away from this ultra-feminine and chic style if you love the look of it.

Sheer dresses don’t have to be all about showing skin.

It can be layered to make the dress still appear chic and also modest making it perfect for a formal event.

However, not every material work well with sheer fabrics.

Layering it wrong can take away from the delicate look and ruin it.

So, in order for it to still look sophisticated, sheer clothing has to be layered correctly.

Let us show you how.

Layering a Sheer Skirt

Sheer skirts are ultra-chic and can add a touch of elegance to any formal outfit.

But to keep it modest, wear a sheer skirt over another skirt.

If the skirt is loose and long, wearing another tighter, more opaque skirt underneath will add modesty to the look without taking away from the style.

Layering a Sheer Top

Sheer tops are great if you want to show hints of skin, but not too much.

So, in order to keep covered up, wear a tank top or camisole under the sheer top.

But, make sure it matches the colour of the top without contrasting too much.

As sheer clothing has such light material, a bright or mismatched colour underneath will show more prominently to make your outfit appear even less modest.

This can take away from the style and ruin the purpose of the sheer effect.

So, find a layering piece that matches the sheer top as closely as possible.

But, if you want a little more coverage and don’t want to show hints of skin underneath the top, then opt for a full sleeved piece under your top instead and it will work just as well.


Now you can ooze style and modesty no matter what formal event you have to attend.