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Birthday Outfit

How an individual approaches their birthday varies from person to person. Obviously, child birthdays are big deals, marking milestones in growth and maturity. For adults, birthdays can be a celebration of life, a chance to treat yourself, just another day, or an unwelcome reminder that aging is inevitable. I find that my birthday has a different feel each year, which makes sense.

How you think about your birthday when turning 21 is going to be vastly different than when you turn 42. Some years, I like to make a big deal, and others, I’ve been content with a solo hike and a slice of cheesecake. This year, I’ve decided to let my husband take me on a dinner date and have brunch with family. And like all upcoming occasions, there’s the age-old question — “What am I going to wear?” Here are a few outfit combinations for any birthday girl’s big or small plans.

For those of you out there that have successfully expanded your birthday into a week and, in some cases, a month, I salute you! You obviously know your worth and are confident enough to have others acknowledge that as well. So, if you’ve lined up multiple celebrations, you’ll need multiple looks. Feel free to experiment with the options below for one or all of your events.

For the standard cocktail party, why not gear up on the glitz with a sequin or metallic dress? I recommend really going for it and style a shiny frock with strappy heeled sandals, a clutch, and a wrap. Or, if you are so inclined, you can subvert the sparkly style and pair your party dress with more rugged pieces, like boots and a denim or leather jacket.

If sequin doesn’t speak to you, then turn toward elegance in a chic little black dress. Whether a simple shift or a flirtier a-lined ruffly number, the right black dress can make you stand out at your celebration in a good way. Some black dresses can look a bit shoddy, so be sure to lint brush thoroughly before the party starts. Look for a dress in a celebratory fabric like silk, crepe, or a high-quality jersey. For a minimalist look, consider a long-sleeved, midi piece that leans toward a body-conscious fit if you’re comfortable with that type of silhouette. A black dress is a great canvas for jewelry, so feel free to bust out a statement pendant, hoops, or rings, but not all three. Choose two so as not to overwhelm your look.

If your big day is a more casual, laid-back affair, such as dinner and drinks, you can still be a bit dressy. Go for a trouser and shirt combination, instead of a dress. Be sure to pick pants that are fun, like a faux leather or patterned pair, and wear them with a silky blouse. Add a heel and a cardigan, and some standout pieces of jewelry so you don’t look like you’ve just come from the office, even if you have.

For a romantic date night birthday, don’t be afraid to dress a bit more provocatively than you normally would. I’m not suggesting wearing anything you’re not comfortable in or that provocative means skin-barring. Sure, there are a lot of mini dresses with cutouts and sheer bits you can wear for an amorous birthday evening. Heck, you don’t even have to get dressed; they don’t call it the birthday suit for nothing. But if you want to play into the mood of your party-for-two, try layering a silk or lace camisole under an oversize cardigan. Or have a peek-a-boo moment with a cold-shoulder style sweater and a miniskirt, or a low-backed top and high-waisted trousers.

If you’re planning on a specific activity, you’ll want to be mindful of your physical needs and dress accordingly. If you’re throwing axes, closed-toed flats. If you’re bowling, I’d recommend staying away from a mini dress. Sort out the practical bits and then think about the outfit. You can dress on theme, say a polo for putt-putt, or in the teams’ colors for a sporting event. If you’re more comfortable in a version of your everyday uniform, go for it, but try to elevate it a bit. If jeans and a t-shirt are your go-to look, throw on a blazer or leather jacket to dress it up. Sweater and leggings are your daily outfit? Then consider a faux-leather or velvet leggings with a chunky cable-knit.

For my upcoming birthday ensembles, I’m focusing on a particular type of garment—the jumpsuit. I’ll be sporting a floral zip-front resort-style jumpsuit with cork wedges for my dinner date. Then a slouchy knitwear one-piece with a crocheted bralette and square-heeled bootie for brunch with the family.

Regardless of the plans for your b-day, you want to look your best. Whether you’re having a big party or just a quiet meal at home, if you’re celebrating with others, all eyes will be on you, and while you may not be the most exuberant of folks, your birthday outfit should put forth the best version of yourself whether you’re turning 28 or 68.