Every Eveningwear Trend You'll See on the It Girls This Spring

evening wear trends spring/summer 2023, trends for special occasions, what to wear to go out


Courtesy of Markarian; Imaxtree/Huishan Zhang; Courtesy of Ferragamo; Courtesy of Nensi Dojaka

I'm convinced that all people can be categorized into two camps: those who live for comfort and those who live for dressing up. While there's nothing wrong with either sartorial preference, I'd be lying if I didn't say I leaned toward the latter. It's not that I like to spend every night on the dance floor. Instead, I relish the rare opportunity to show up and out for the evening. And if you clicked into this story, I'm guessing that you, too, cherish the moments you get to be out on the town, donning something dramatic

Fortunately, spring marks the beginning of many more opportunities to dress up again for weddings, baby showers, gala events, and vacations. There's so much to look forward to that no one should have to spend their time stressing about choosing what to wear for a special occasion. So to help you prep for those upcoming events, I've identified eight noteworthy eveningwear trends from the spring/summer 2023 runway collections. No matter what's on your calendar, these trends will ensure you're the belle of the ball all season. 

collage of spring 2023 evening wear trend: saffron red gowns


Courtesy of Schiaparelli; Imaxtree/Ralph Lauren; Courtesy of Christian Siriano; Courtesy of Carolina Herrera

Some trends come in smokin' hot. Such is the case with the wide adoption of the ultra-vibrant saffron red we've seen in recent collections. While one would expect typical ready-to-wear collections to be filled with an assortment of new color trends, we also saw formal eveningwear pieces given a splash of red. It wasn't just about showing a few red gowns, though. Designers added subtle details to elevate the shade for special occasions.

For example, in Schiaparelli's S/S 23 collection, a slinky red dress featured an intricate bubble hem. At the same time, we saw that full-length red gowns were given fun twists through rhinestones, floral appliqués, and cutouts. See Ralph Lauren's, Carolina Herrera's, and Christian Siriano's collections. The collections reminded us that if you're going to put in the effort to get gussied up, you might as well do the most and paint the town red in the process. 

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Now here's a dress that will work for numerous special events. 

The pearl embellishments on the bustier of this dress are so pretty. 

Nothing is quite as elegant as a longline satin gown. 

Rest assured, you'll be the most elegant person in the room in this gown. 

If you style this with the right heels and clutch bag, you'll be just formal enough for any occasion. 

collage of spring 2023 evening wear trend: fringe gowns


Courtesy of Givenchy; Courtesy of Khaite; Imaxtree/Simkhai; Courtesy of Jason Wu

Let's be honest. We all have those obligatory events that we know we must attend but aren't exactly excited about. Maybe your parents are pressuring you to go to your cousin's wedding, you must meet the in-laws for their annual family reunion, or you'd rather be at home in sweatpants. Whatever the case, when you're feeling prickly and are about to enter a thorny situation, why not wear something that reflects the mood? Ahem, fringe. 

We've seen fringe play a prevalent role in collections over the past few seasons, and formalwear is no exception. Designers didn't just embrace fringe—they pushed it far past its former bohemian-inspired roots to make it feel formal. You can see that through how materials that are signature to the going-out look were used to craft gowns. Fringe was made from gold tinsel at Jason Wu and crystal netting at Simkhai. But fringe was also incorporated in unexpected ways. At Khaite, for instance, a black sequin gown had contrasting white fringe peeking out from the bottom. At Givenchy, a white plissé dress looked as if it was almost unraveling at the bottom to create natural fringe. The result was a series of gowns that could have anyone in their feelings. 

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What better way to spice up an otherwise simple black dress than with fringe? 

Whether you're traveling to a far-off destination or attending a spring wedding, this dress will have you covered. 

Searching for a modest dress that's got a fun flair? Look no further than the frock above. 

Consider this your final proof that fringe can be elegant. 

collage of spring 2023 evening wear trend: sheer dresses, naked dresses


Courtesy of Fe Noel; Courtesy of Ferragamo; Courtesy of LaQuan Smith; Imaxtree/Ludovic de Saint Sernin

Call it a prolonged side-effect of celebrities, but the naked dress has cemented itself as a part of the culture. One could argue it's almost lost its edge, as it's become an essential part of the red carpet circuit and the fashion person's going-out starter pack. Of course, to say that this style hasn't evolved since its cultural debut wouldn't be true. Recent runway collections have shown us that designers have pivoted from focusing on more risqué silhouettes (e.g., going-out dresses with micro-hemlines and massive cutouts) to concentrating on textiles instead. That shift is apparent in the oh-so-sheer evening gowns we saw on the spring/summer 2023 runways. 

For instance, at Ferragamo, we saw multiple full-length pastel-hued gowns with ultra-opaque chiffon draping over the body. At LaQuan Smith, we saw a high-neck maxi-length gown with a cape given a sultry edge using a semi-sheer fabric. A forest-green sheer maxi dress made its way down the runway at Fe Noel's New York Fashion Week debut, and a black evening dress was adorned with an anthurium at Ludovic de Saint Sernin. Every iteration of this trend took the "passé" naked dress and pushed it back into relevance again. 

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The ombré element on this dress is breathtaking. 

You can also wear this over jeans if you want to rewear it after your event. 

The high neckline on this gown is the perfect contrast to the sheer material. 

I'd style this underneath a leather moto jacket for a more casual look. 

collage of spring 2023 evening wear trend, drop-waist gowns


Courtesy of Valentino; Courtesy of Ferragamo;  Courtesy of Khaite; Courtesy of Aliette

Some formal events may require a level of decorum that won't let you drop it low to the floor. In such cases, you need a dress that can do that for you—enter, the drop-waist gown. For anyone closely following trends, we've already reported how this silhouette returned in spring/summer 2023 collections. Still, it's worth dropping another hint about this style's prevalence, especially in relation to formalwear pieces. 

There was no shortage of designers who embraced drop-waist dresses. But we didn't just see them copy and paste the pattern for this dress. Instead, they added their signature spin to the silhouette. Valentino gave the classic shape a touch of contemporary whimsy through brightly hued drop-waist skirts. At Khaite, the style was given a cool touch in the form of a dress with a nude bustier top and a contrasting red bubble-hem skirt. We saw more artistic takes on the silhouette in the form of low-slung draped silk skirts and waistbands. (See: Aliette's and Ferragamo's collections.) These dresses reenvisioned this shape so well that they can make one want to break out in dance because they're that good. 

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The color-blocking on this gown exaggerates the drop waist in the best way. 

The great thing about this dress? It's made-to-order based on your measurements to fit your body perfectly. 

Pro tip: Save a little extra cash by renting a gown for that upcoming event through Rent the Runway. 

Be sure to factor in a few extra weeks for this made-to-order gown. 

You'll be their "something blue" in this drop-waist dress. 

collage of spring 2023 evening wear trend glossy pastels, pastel sequin dresses, sequin gowns


Courtesy of Nensi Dojaka; Imaxtree/Genny;  Imaxtree/Simkhai; Imaxtree/Vaillant

With the kickoff of wedding season and other festivities, it can be easy to become intimated by dress codes. And while you should ensure you're adhering to the general vibe of the function, that doesn't mean you can't have a little fun with your look. One trend that can check off all the required boxes for any special occasion is what I'm dubbing glossy pastels. Much like the aforementioned saffron red, pastels in all their forms have played a considerable role in recent spring/summer 2023 collections

And while one may think that pastels for spring are a bit bland, designers took these formally "dull" tints and made them shiny and new (quite literally). Across the board, we saw designers apply mostly sheer sequins to pastel-hued gowns to create a glossy-like look. You can see that method visible in the pastel-pink high-slit gown at Nensi Dojaka, the lemon-yellow ruffled dress at Vaillant, and even the teal cutout jumpsuit at Genny. But my favorite example was how a pastel marble-print gown had appliquéd sheer sequins in Simkhai's collection. It looked like glistening swirl ice cream on a hot day. This trend allows one to fulfill all their cravings in one purchase—it's something that's not abrasive to a bride-to-be and won't break a dress code while still allowing one to embrace their own shine. 

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In case you want to look like you walked straight off the runway. 

You can definitely rewear this dress long after that special occasion. 

Is it just me, or do you want to spend copious amounts of time staring at this dress too? 

collage of spring 2023 evening wear trend: full circle gown


Courtesy of Bibhu Mohapatra; Courtesy of Carolina Herrera; Courtesy of Schiaparelli; Courtesy of Valentino

Unless you are royalty or have a fairy godmother, chances are you don't have an old gown in the back of your closet that you can pull out on a whim for special occasions. In such a moment, there's one style you can rely on to ensure you look and feel your best for the evening: the full circle-skirt gown. Beyond being the defining silhouette for fictional (and real) princesses alike, the formality of this style makes it the ideal choice for white-tie or black-tie affairs. Of course, because this shape has been the go-to look for formal attire for centuries, it can sometimes feel dated. 

Luckily, designers whisked their wands for their spring/summer 2023 collections and effectively made full-circle gowns feel fresher. That magic is apparent in different ways. For example, at Bibhu Mohapatra, a black strapless column gown had a skirt adorned with sequins and a contrasting white full skirt layered over it to create an almost cape-like feel. At Carolina Herrera, a black gown was given a dramatic flare using a semi-sheer full-circle tulle skirt. At the same time, we saw the silhouette given a more subtle, yet still striking, twist through dramatic pleats and velvet floral print. (See: Valentino's and Schiaparelli's collections.) Though each had its own distinct touches, all the designs circled back to what's made this style so popular for so long—its ability to make the wearer feel like royalty, even if they're not. 

Styling can make this the perfect dress for a less formal event. 

Attending a spring wedding? Look no further than this flared dress.

The skirt of this dress is lined with tulle, giving it the perfect flared-out fit. 

collage of spring 2023 evening wear trend: lace dresses


Imaxtree/Christopher Kane; Courtesy of Burberry; Courtesy of Chanel; Courtesy of Theophilio

So much of the spring/summer 2023 collections seemed to be about taking staples of formalwear and giving them a modern twist. Or at least, that's what one could deduct after seeing how much lace was prevalent on the runway. While it's worth mentioning that sheer gowns overall were a standout eveningwear trend, there was enough of a substantial distinction between how designers approached using both textiles that it deserved its own dedicated callout. 

Unlike the oh-so-sheer trend, the focus on using lace was less about creating that smoke-and-mirrors effect where gowns were simultaneously covering and showing the body. Rather, it was simply about creating ultra-pretty pieces. That's visible in the full-length white lace gown with contrasting black silk at Chanel and the wrinkly silk button-front dress with lace trim at Burberry. Even when gowns were slightly skin baring, we saw them balanced out with "frilly" elements. For example, at Christopher Kane, there was a black cutout lace minidress with a bubble hem, and a semi-sheer lace gown was adorned in a pale-yellow hue at Theophilio. Lace in this form was not only lovely but also downright wearable, making it one of the most practical trends of the season. 

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Perfect for a baby shower or brunch with the in-laws. 

Start planning your next date night. 

collage of spring 2023 evening wear trend: slinky black dresses


Imaxtree/Mônot; Courtesy of Versace; Courtesy of Bevza; Courtesy of Saint Laurent

By now, you've hopefully identified at least one eveningwear trend that will work for whatever is on your calendar. But should you still be unsure about what you'll wear to that upcoming special occasion, you'll want to turn the most tried-and-true staple of any going-out arsenal: the black dress. Of course, to adhere to a more formal setting, you'll want to swap the LBD for a slinky black gown. What makes this style distinct from other trends (besides its wide prevalence on the spring/summer 2023 runways) is its appearance compared to other trends.

The gowns look as if the designer took a pair of scissors or a knife and slashed the fabric as a way to play with draping. You can see that most visibly through how a single cutout slices asymmetrically across a black gown at Versace. But other examples include how it looks like scraps of triangle fabric are being held together by a thread to create a gown at Bevza. Fabric looks as if it's been chopped and twisted to create draped bustiers and prominent stomach cutouts at Saint Laurent and Mônot. The ultra-slinky elements of these dresses create an overall effect that feels almost like a dance between perfection and imperfection, classic and contemporary, informality and formality. It's a trend that can make even those who hate dressing up want to slip onto the nearest ballroom floor to take it for a spin. 

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Ease yourself into the slinky-black-dress trend by opting for a dress with thin spaghetti straps. 

The cutouts on this dress will have everyone gawking (in a good way). 

Who wouldn't want to pack this for a destination wedding?