Designing formal wear

Updated: Feb 9

We take a look at what it really takes to design and create formal or evening wear and discuss the process from A to Z.




There are a few basic stages of designing that usually take place when designing evening wear, even though the designer may make it look real easy – it can be a pretty long and tiresome road. Design elements are a fundamental requirement of creating successful evening wear. Fashion designers study space, lines, shapes, texture, colour, form, light, colour, patterns, techniques, juxtaposition, repetition for years, making connections of what works with other elements of the human body such as skin tone, body shape, curves and personal style.


Education in the field

Fashion designers usually have some kind of educational background of fashion styles and colours. They spend years researching the various styles, cuts, materials and patterns and how the match perfectly with each unique body. Styles and trends are constantly changing so fashion designers also need to adapt to styles that are coming and going as well as creating outfits that are classic and can outlive a few trend phases.


Research and development

The designer goes through a few phases of development; however, it always starts with the same thing – research and idea conception. In other words, the brainstorming phase – mood boards, inspirational styles, colour palettes and all the rest. It also includes speaking to the client and listening to each preference, concern and idea; this is the stage where the designer needs as much information from the client, such as personal preference and style, skin tone and body shape. During this stage your measurements are taken ensuring that the garment will fit you comfortably. Gathering this data will allow the designer to create a dress that is of a colour that suits your skin tone, flatters your body shape, express your individual style and fits your budget.


Production begins

As soon as the idea of the dress has been established, the designer will move on to the development phase which is where the abstract ideas and concepts are represented in some way – whether that be a similar/mock-up dress, accessories, material samples or a sketch of the dress. The designer starts to create the pattern of the garment and often makes mock-up versions on paper or scrap material. The final pattern is then traced onto the final fabric that has been selected. In this stage the mock-up is sometimes tried on by the client to double check that the outfit will be worn to its absolute full potential.


Finish off the garment

Once the size, fit, cut, style and material has been fully established, the designer begins to create the final garment. Precision is taken with every stitch and every thread. Evening wear has to be created with extra precaution as it needs to look absolutely marvellous for several hours which also means it needs to be just as comfortable and easy to wear. Fittings are essential whilst the designer is developing the dress as to optimise the most comfortable and most flattering fit for the client.


Often there are alterations or some kind of adjustments that need to be made, however, the final garment is one that will last you for a long time, not only with regards to material and quality but also in the sense that its style will not go out of date any time soon. The garment will be comfortable and easy to wear, flatter your body shape and skin tone as well as express your personal style. Relax, go out in style and confidence, knowing that you are looking your absolute best, then you can really allow your inner beauty to shine through.




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