How to make formal dresses more modest

Written by cynthia measom
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How to make formal dresses more modest
Make an otherwise perfect formal gown less revealing. (beautiful feminine dress image by dim@dim from

Selecting the perfect formal dress for a special occasion can be difficult process. Many styles prove too revealing once you try them on. Perhaps the gown is strapless, has a plunging neckline, low or open back or displays thin spaghetti straps. Yet, if you really like the colour and style of the dress, you can make it more modest without altering the gown.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • Camisole
  • Bolero jacket, shawl or wrap
  • Large pendant necklace

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  1. 1

    Wear a camisole that coordinates with the fabric and colour of the formal gown, if the gown features a plunging neckline or a low or open back. Look for a cami that is constructed of the same or similar fabric as the gown for best results.

  2. 2

    Wear a bolero jacket, shawl, wrap or shrug over formal dresses that are strapless or show too much cleavage, shoulder or back for your comfort. Pick these items in a coordinating colour or similar fabric for the best look.

    How to make formal dresses more modest
    Add a coordinating wrap to your dress as a cover-up (east dance image by amlet from
  3. 3

    Wear your hair down, instead of in an up-do. If you have hair that is longer than shoulder-length, this can help cover up some of the bare shoulder area and make your gown appear more modest.

    How to make formal dresses more modest
    Long hair can help conceal bare areas. (Bridesmaid image by Tracy Martinez from

Tips and warnings

  • If you or someone you know has sewing abilities, you may be able to add a band of material to the top of your strapless or spaghetti-strapped formal gown to make it less revealing. The style and material of the gown will dictate whether or not this can be done.
  • Display a large, yet tasteful, eye-catching necklace with a pendant to draw attention upward and away from a deep neckline.
  • Some wraps or shawls can be restricting. Consider this if you are going to engage in any dancing at the event you will attend.

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