Ever caught yourself staring at your wardrobe wondering what to wear for an interview, a corporate meeting or a business cocktail event? Learn how to put together a formal look for women in a few easy steps! Explore elegant style options with classic outfits and accessories from top fashion brands like Allen Solly, AND, Marks & Spencers, FabIndia and Pantaloons handpicked to create the perfect formal look for you.
Our outfits are an extension of our personality. For most of us, our dressing styles have been drawn from movies, media, friends and family, and the latest fashion trends. Nowadays, we have a type and a style of outfit tailored to themes, occasions, and even day-to-day events. However, the one category that seems to blissfully rest in the grey area is formal wear. Countless Hollywood movies have shown women sporting chic blouses, dresses, shirts and skirts to office, leaving many of us in India inspired to amp up our office-going wardrobe.
We’re here to show you how to put together a formal look for women in India with some great outfit suggestions inclusive of accessories from your favorite brands like Myntra, AND, FabIndia, Marks & Spencer and more.
A formal attire for women can be classified into Indian formal wear and western formal wear. In this page, we will be diving into both categories exploring the perfect formal look for women who are comfortable sporting either styles.
Indian Formal Attire for Women
Being an iconic Indian look, sarees are a perfectly accepted professional attire nationally. Sarees that are draped the standard way with the pallu over the left shoulder give a classic formal look for women to wear to office, or any other formal occasion. When styled well, sarees have the ability to put up a tough competition against even the most sophisticated western formal wear. When choosing colours for sarees, solid, pastel colours with minimal designs are ideal as opposed to large, bright embellishments or prints. Using fabrics like silk cotton, chanderis and kota silk and avoiding overly stylish or designer necklines and blouse designs ensure comfort for yourself and make a good Indian formal wear for office as well. For a modern formal look, you can pair a saree with a sleeveless formal blouse.
The Chennai Silks Beige Supernet Woven Design Kota Saree features pastel shades of orange, brown and gold paired with minimalistic designs. Paired with a simple yet classic traditional blouse and neckline, this is one formal attire you can comfortably wear to work. Made with a breathable material that is also easy to wash, this saree from The Chennai Silks is priced at Rs. 2079* and is available to purchase on Myntra.
The MIMOSA Black Linen Blend Woven Design Kanjeevaram Saree sports a more grand look and helps you make a bold statement on formal occasions like business cocktail parties, large family gatherings/dinner parties etc. Featuring a solid black body, its orange border with simple yet detailed prints help this saree stand out among the rest. Priced at Rs. 1844*, get your hands on this MIMOSA Saree on Myntra.
2. Salwar Sets
Salwar sets are also a comfortable outfit that help in creating a formal look for women. The two piece outfit can be mixed and matched to create a plethora of gorgeous color and pattern combinations. It can also be worn along with kameez, churidar, palazzo pants, or leggings. Styled with a dupatta and the right accessories, salwars make a formal or office-going attire. Like with sarees, while choosing salwar sets avoid blaring, bright colours or sophisticated prints. Instead go for subtler solid colours with minimalistic yet elegant designs that will provide a clean, compact look for any formal occasion. For a formal wear for office, choose salwar tops that are preferably knee length and of comfortable material.
BIBA Women’s Salwar Suit Set features a dark purple body with simple floral designs on the neck and the border. Paired with palazzo pants of a similar design scheme this chic salwar suit set is ideal for daily office wear. Moreover, the full-sleeve and the knee-length design contribute further to its formal look. Priced between Rs. 2297-3278* depending on size, this BIBA Salwar Suit Set can be bought on Amazon.
Kurtas provide a similar style vibe to salwar sets but allow for more formal design varieties. Kurtas can be paired with leggings, trousers, jeggings, formal pants which together emanate a formal look for girls and older women. Kurtas have the versatility to vary in lengths and yet look stylish and elegant all the time. For a formal look for women, avoid pairing short kurtas with tight leggings. Choose colours of a neutral shade – light browns, off whites and ochres are great colours to start with. Avoid plunging necklines and figure-hugging kurtas. Instead go for ones that are made of a lightweight breathable material and one that you can comfortable move around in.
FabIndia’s Cotton Rollup Sleeves Short Kurta is a perfect example of a formal shirt design on a traditional Indian kurta. Featuring a neutral beige/gold colour with buttoned design below a chinese collar and 3/4th sleeves that can be rolled and buttoned up, this kurta is also of a decent length to be paired with formal black trousers. Priced at Rs. 999* ramp up your formal wardrobe with this short kurta from FabIndia.
ZIYAA’s Magenta & Black Yoke Design Kurta offers a unique elegance for those who prefer a slightly longer kurta length and like to experiment with richer colours. The geometric designs on this kurta add to the formal look for women. This long kurta can be worn with dark leggings, trousers or designer pants of a similar colour scheme. Priced at Rs. 878* this ZIYAA kurta is available to purchase on Myntra.
Indian formal wear is never complete without pairing it with the right accessories. Complement your sarees, salwar sets and kurtas with these gorgeous accessories:
CATWALK Shimmer Textured Slip-On Block Heels are the perfect formal footwear for sarees and kurtas of dark brown, beige or gold shades. Featuring a simple design, minimal heel and a bit of shine, these heels are ergonomically designed to ensure maximum comfort and efficiency along with your outfit. Priced at Rs. 998, find them online or at your nearest Lifestyle Store.
For a more open and design, GINGER Colourblocked Ankle Length Heels sport an thinner, more elegant heel with ankle straps designed to secure your feet in place while offering a stylish classic look. Pair these sandals with kurtas and sarees of a similar colour scheme and watch your outfit come to life. Priced at Rs. 1424* you can find these sandals also online or at a Lifestyle Store near you.
The last thing needed to complete a formal look for women is a matching handbag or tote that allows you to carry all your regular handbag essentials while looking chic and stylish on the outside. While choosing a handbag, go for solid colours and clean cut designs. Stay away from frills or handbags that have too much bling. A handbag needs to be large enough to serve its purpose but not too large that it overpowers the outfit. For sarees and long kurtas, clutches are also a suitable formal accessory.
SALLY SCULL Tote Bag from Hidesign is a great formal handbag option for short kurta outfits that sport modern designs. Pair this tan handbag with almost any colour along the black, white and brown colour schemes. Featuring a clean and compact design and a beautiful yet not overpowering embossed design on the front, get your hands on this formal tote for Rs. 8395* online or at your nearest Hidesign store.
For those who like wearing shades of pink, pair your pink Indian formals with this gorgeous Woman Marks Solid Clutch. Its subtle pastel shade of light pink allows it go well with whites, browns and cream coloured tones while its clean minimal design accentuates the formal look. Priced at Rs. 419* this Woman Marks clutch is available to buy on Myntra.
Western Formal Attire for Women
1. Solid Shirts and Trousers
While creating a western formal look for women, you can never go wrong with the old-school solid shirts and trousers. This iconic work-wear is the embodiment of the phrase “less is more” and truly works up until this day. White shirts and trousers are considered wardrobe essentials for women and are a definite must have formal wear for office or other formal occasions. The classic shirt and trouser combo is great for those who are keen to try out western formal wear for the first time. This is one outfit that will never run out of style.
ALLEN SOLLY Solid Long Sleeves Formal Shirt is a plain, modest and elegant white shirt that can be paired with ALLEN SOLLEY’s Solid Formal Trousers or formal textured pants of any colour. The advantage of white shirts is that they can be paired with pretty much any colour. But having said that, don’t be afraid to experiment full-sleeved formal shirts of other colours. A lavender, beige, burgundy, baby pink and grey are great color tones for a formal occasion.
For trousers, checkered or plaid trousers are perfect if you’re going for a smart chic look. Avoid trousers of really bright colours and textures. Tan, beige, cream, and grey are some colour choices that will help enhance the formal look for women. Choose those trousers that are not too tight, nor too loose but fit just well on all areas of the waist down to the legs. Ensure that they are also comfortable to walk and sit in.
So if you’re ever unsure of what to wear for an interview, throw on a solid shirt and formal trousers from ALLEN SOLLY. The formal shirt is priced at Rs. 1599* and can be purchased online or at a Lifestyle Store near you. The formal trousers are priced at Rs. 1999* and is also available to purchase online or at your nearest Lifestyle store.
2. Formal Blouses
Formal blouses form a significant part of western formal wear for women. Unlike men who have limited options with their formal wear, formal blouses are a great addition to any woman’s wardrobe. Blouses are capable of providing a modest, smart-casual look and are suitable for daily office wear. When selecting a formal blouse, go for solid colours, pastel shades and blouses with round necks or collars. Plaid, checked, striped or geometric patterns are also great choices for a formal look for women.
FableStreets’ White Solid Top for Women is a perfect example of a formal blouse for a minimalist. You can wear it over or tucked into a pencil skirt, trousers or formal pants. Pair it with some simple nude make up and you’re good to go! Priced at Rs. 1137* buy this elegant formal blouse from FableStreet online on Myntra.
Experiment with designs and colours with this Black and Grey Checked A-line skirt also from FableStreet. Featuring a sleeveless, collared blouse with a plaid design, it’s unique dark grey tones enhance the texture of the blouse when paired with classic black formal trousers while the tie-like design attached with the collar contributes further to its formal look. Priced at Rs. 1795* this FableStreet blouse can also be found online on Myntra.
Blazers without a doubt are a fantastic option for a formal look for women. While originally worn by men, blazers have now become a fashion statement for western formal wear among women as well.
Van Heusen’s Solid Single-Breasted Formal Blazer is a classic black formal blazer that can be worn over any light coloured full sleeved shirt. Pair it with a formal skirt or black pants for a fully formal look for occasions like corporate meetings, interviews, official media events etc. Priced at Rs. 3599* get this Van Heusen wardrobe essential online or at your nearest Lifestyle store.
For those women who are brave enough, experiment with this Solid Red Two-Piece Blazer and Trouser Suit from AND. Sporting a rich color tone and texture, this outfit has the ability to make heads turn. Further, pair the blazer with a black or tan singlet underneath for a crisp confident look. Priced at Rs. 2999* pick up this red formal suit from AND or at a Lifestyle Store near you.
Formal skirts emanate class and confidence and can be easily paired with solid full-sleeved shirts as well as blouses. Skirts make a great formal wear for office and high-functioning corporate events. It’s advisable to choose skirts that are knee length or below the knee for a formal look. In terms of colour, avoid bright skirts with popping colours or sparkly embellished designs. Instead, go for colours that are neutral such as beige, tan, and black for a formal look.
Choose to keep it simple and plain like this Rs. 1399* Solid Black Skirt from Marks & Spencers or experiment with stripes and other minimalistic patterns. The Annabelle by Pantaloons Black Pencil Skirt is also a smart high waisted knee length skirt comes in a plain black version and a striped version which can easily be paired with any contrasting full sleeved shirt or blouse. However, in order for the stripes to stand out, make sure you wear it with only solid pastel coloured tops. Priced between Rs.570-649* purchase this formal skirt by Pantaloons on Amazon or at a Pantaloons store near you.
Experiment with grey and tan shades as well like this Beige Solid Straight Knee-Length Skirt from FableStreet. Featuring a slimming design and pockets on either side, this skirt can be paired with plaid blouses and striped full-sleeved shirts for a classy, formal look. Priced at Rs. 1676* get this skirt from FableStreet only on Myntra.
Another fantastic addition to your western formal wear wardrobe, formal dresses are those outfits that effortlessly make you look your confident best in one piece of clothing. While choosing dresses, avoid those with prominent designs or bling that may draw unnecessary attention. Like skirts and blouses, go for neutral shades like beige, cream, light pink, off-white, tan or darker colour schemes like burgundy, black, dark brown greys and purples. Don’t be afraid to experiment with striped and plaid patterns as they have the ability to spruce up a formal look in a unique way.
Athena’s Burgundy and Black Sheath Dress for Women is a classic example of a beautiful amalgamation of two dark tones – burgundy and black in a one piece dress. Featuring a sleek elegant design from head to toe, this dress paired with the right accessories and make up will be ideal formal wear for office, cocktail parties, official corporate meetings etc. Priced at Rs. 1399* this dress from Athena is available to purchase on Myntra.
Another style of formal dress that is gaining popularity among the younger generation are shirt-style dresses.
This Lucero Black and White Striped Shirt Dress features all the elements of a formal striped full-sleeved button up shirt but lengthened in the form of a dress. Pair this dress with a minimalistic black handbag and small-heeled sandals and you’ve got yourself a formal and smart-casual attire to wear to work, interviews, and other formal occasions. Priced at Rs. 799* purchase this shirt-dress from Lucero only on Myntra.
Complement your western formal wear with these accessories designed to take your formal outfits to the next level.
When choosing shoes for western formal wear, go for closed-toe shoes over open sandals. Choose solid colours that complement the shade and design of your outfit and a heel height that is comfortable for you to walk in.
If you’re on a budget, RGK’s Women’s Bellies is a great choice that goes with any western formal attire for women. It comes in solid colors like black, beige, red and while and features a minimal wedge heel ensuring maximum comfort and efficiency. Priced between Rs. 401-801* these RGK’s bellies are available to purchase on Amazon.
On the other hand, Clarks Women’s Beige Solid Leather Pumps offers a slightly sleeker and more elegant look. With a 5.5 inch stiletto heel and a simple pleat-like design on the front, this closed-toe shoe goes perfectly with formal skirts or dresses. Priced at Rs. 2499* find these Clarks Pumps on Myntra.
Nothing completes a western formal look for women better than a stylish watch. Some of the best branded watches for women offer a design style that adds a classy touch to any western formal outfit.
Keep it simple with the Titan Youth Analog Black Dial Women’s Watch. Featuring a classy black round watch face and a stainless steel link bracelet, the versatility of this design makes it a suitable accessory for any western formal wear. Priced at Rs. 2795* get your hands on this watch online on Amazon or a Titan store near you.
Wearing Indian formal wear? An ideal watch for such attire would be the Fossil Analog Rose Gold Dial Women’s Watch. Featuring studded crystals along the circular watchfact and the link strap, this watch will add the just the right amount of bling to an Indian formal wear outfit without overpowering the formal look. Pair it with sarees, salwar sets and kurtas and watch your outfit come alive. Priced at Rs. 6395* get this beautiful rose gold analog watch from Fossil only on Amazon.
Now that you have seen how easy it is to put together a formal look for women, jazz up your wardrobe with outfits and accessories from some of the best fashion brands in the country. ZestMoney’s no-cost EMI option even helps you afford those expensive branded fashion accessories that you have always dreamed of. Enjoy your favorite fashion goods now while paying for it later in monthly installments.
|1.||Chennai Silks Beige Supernet Woven Design Kota Sare|
|2.||MIMOSA Black Linen Blend Woven Design Kanjeevaram Saree|
|3.||BIBA Women’s Salwar Suit Set|
|4.||FabIndia’s Cotton Rollup Sleeves Short Kurta|
|5.||ZIYAA’s Magenta & Black Yoke Design Kurta|
|6.||CATWALK Shimmer Textured Slip-On Block Heels|
|7.||GINGER Colourblocked Ankle Length Heels|
|8.||SALLY SCULL Tote Bag from Hidesign|
|9.||Woman Marks Solid Clutch|
|10.||ALLEN SOLLY Solid Long Sleeves Formal Shirt|
|11.||ALLEN SOLLY Solid Long Sleeves Formal Shirt|
|12.||ALLEN SOLLEY’s Solid Formal Trousers|
|13.||FableStreets’ White Solid Top for Women|
|14.||Black and Grey Checked A-Line formal blouse|
|15.||Van Heusen’s Solid Single-Breasted Formal Blazer|
|16.||Solid Red Two-Piece Blazer and Trouser Suit from AND|
|17.||Solid Black Skirt from Marks & Spencers|
|18.||Annabelle by Pantaloons Black Pencil Skirt|
|19.||Beige Solid Straight Knee-Length Skirt from FableStreet|
|20.||Athena’s Burgundy and Black Sheath Dress for Women|
|21.||This Lucero Black and White Striped Shirt Dress|
|22.||RGK’s Women’s Bellies|
|23.||Clarks Women’s Beige Solid Leather Pumps|
|24.||Titan Youth Analog Black Dial Women’s Watch|
|25.||Fossil Analog Rose Gold Dial Women’s Watch|
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