A new life is on the way, and your dear friend or relative is about to become a mother! What a wonderful thing to celebrate. You will definitely need a good gift paired with a good outfit. But what kind of clothes are right for a baby shower? Baby showers are typically less-formal events, combining the enthusiastic social interaction of a casual party with the more serious undertones of a real occasion. Where exactly the shower will land on the formality scale will depend on several factors, which, luckily, aren’t hard to figure out. Once you have a sense of the event, choosing what to wear is a lot easier.
There are several ways to do some digging so you can anticipate what kind of party this is going to be. First, the invite. A mass email is probably heralding a more casual event, while a snail-mailed invitation with calligraphy on fancy paper and an RSVP request is probably going to be a bit more formal. Another thing you can do is check the location. Obviously, a country club with a dress code is going to require a different outfit than a picnic at a local park. Between these two leads, you should be able to get a decent idea of what is coming and how you can dress to fit the occasion.
If you are still at a loss, like it’s at someone’s very nice suburban home and the invites were handwritten, check in with the mother or other attendees for a rough idea of what others will be wearing so at least you have an educated guess as to what would be appropriate. Remember, the point of doing this isn’t merely to keep yourself from embarrassment but to show your friend you care what she thinks and demonstrate to the other guests your respect for the occasion. Ultimately, you are trying to do your part to make sure the party is a success.
To give a general idea, formal wear will almost certainly include heels or at the least very nice flats. If it looks like it will be on the warmer side, a blouse and women's skirt work really well. If things are looking a little chilly, switch the blouse for a women's turtleneck, go with boots, and maybe add some subtle tights under the skirt. On the other side, more casual outfits could include dresses for surviving the heat, and for chillier evenings, jeans paired with dressy tops are nice combinations. It is still a nice event so you don’t want to be too casual.
This is part of taking yourself into consideration. If you are wearing the perfect outfit but it’s nighttime, the party is outside, and you are freezing, you are not going to have a good time and it will be hard not to bring everyone down. Hopefully, the invite has the time set and the climate doesn’t do anything too unexpected. If you are worried about “weathering” a curveball, there is a solution. In a word: layers.
Layers can save you if you walk from a winter wonderland into a home blasting the heater to keep the new mother-to-be from getting a chill. They can also be helpful if what began as a spring afternoon barbecue is looking like it will last through dinner and into the evening.
Starting with the casual and warm-weather baby shower—maybe an outdoor event in the spring or summer—a good outfit would be, as stated above, a cheerful floral dress or a shirt dress with a pair of cute sandals. Now, this same dress with flats and a cardigan or a women's lightweight jacket could work really well for the same casual event happening at night or in an air-conditioned indoor environment. If you aren’t sure if that single layer will be enough, bring along a pair of tights in your purse, just in case.
As a slightly more formal option, a loose jumpsuit in a unique color or pattern could be a really fun outfit. Pair it with a blazer, and you can consider yourself layered. If a jumpsuit still seems a little too informal, pair that same blazer with a trusty blouse and skirt, and you won’t be out of place. You could also go with a modest dress that could work for a day at the office, but spice it up with some colorful jewelry.
For the casual and cool-weather combination, sweater dresses or jeans are best. A sweater dress with tights and flats would be cute and warm, with an extra jacket if you need it. For the jeans, add a dressy top with a cardigan and you are set. If you need a little more insulation for this outfit, add leggings or tights underneath the jeans and go for a sweater. Both are removable if you find they are a bit too much.
Go a little more formal with a collared shirt under the sweater. Take it a step further by replacing the sweater with a blazer. The most formal would be changing out the jeans for dress pants or tights and a skirt.
These clothing combos matched with their event should set your mind at ease and free you up to enjoy this beautiful occasion.