Sandals are not usually considered wintertime footwear, as they expose the feet to the cold. However, for a winter formal event held indoors, dressy sandals may be suitable depending on the specifics of the occasion. Factors like the formality, venue, weather, and attire guidelines should be considered when deciding on wearing sandals to a fancy winter affair.
With an indoor venue and more casual dress code, closed-toe sandals can offer a dressy and elegant option for a winter formal look. Key points in determining if sandals work include:
- Type of event - Sandals are better suited to parties than black-tie galas
- Formality of dress code - The more formal, the less likely sandals are appropriate
- Venue - Indoor and heated spaces are ideal for open-toed shoes
- Weather - If outdoors, cold temperatures make sandals impractical
- Style of sandals - Dressy, sparkly, and closed-toe sandals are best
By evaluating these factors, sandals can definitely be pulled off successfully and stylishly at certain winter formals. With the right embellished pair and a floor-length dress or jumpsuit, sandals can look just as elegant in winter as closed-toe heels.
Can Sandals Work for a Winter Formal Event?
Sandals are not the first shoe that come to mind for formal winter parties. But while open-toed shoes seem counterintuitive in chilly weather, they can absolutely work for certain occasions. In general, sandals pair best at winter events that are:
More casual and festive - Holiday parties, New Year's Eve celebrations, and cocktail parties tend to have flexible dress codes suitable for dress sandals.
Indoors - A heated indoor venue makes open shoes practical in cold weather. Outdoor winter formals require closed-toe shoes.
Not black-tie - Ultra formal black-tie dress codes warrant closed shoes. Less formal occasions allow for sandals.
Weather permitting - Mild weather outdoors opens the door for open-toed shoes at certain winter events.
So while sandals may seem out of place for winter formals at first glance, they can be successfully worked into fancy party outfits with the right approach.
General Guidelines for Wearing Sandals to a Winter Formal
Sandals make sense for certain winter formal events, but they require some styling guidelines to look polished, elegant, and seasonal. Follow these tips when wearing sandals to a fancy winter affair:
- Select a closed-toe style - Open-toed sandals are too informal and impractical in winter. Opt for peep-toe or fully closed-toe styles.
- Prioritize sparkle and shine - Glittery, metallic, or jewel-encrusted sandals offset the casual vibe.
- Strappy is better than simple - Multiple straps create a more formal look than basic slides.
- Match metals carefully - Make sure metal sandal hardware coordinates with other jewelry.
- Carry a wrap - Bring a pretty wrap or fur stole to stay warm at venues that may have cooling spots.
- Wear opaque tights - Coordinate opaque tights with your dress color to add warmth and coverage.
- Lengthen hemlines - Floor-length gowns or midi dresses balance the look of open-toed shoes.
- Play up accessories - Fancy hair clips, cuffs, and statement earrings polish the overall outfit.
Examples of Winter Formal Events Where Sandals May Work
Certain winter formal occasions are better suited to dressy open-toed sandals than others. Here are some popular winter formal events where sandals can potentially make sense:
Festive holiday parties in December often have a smart-casual or cocktail style dress code suitable for dressy sandals. Whether at a private home, restaurant, or hotel, holiday parties tend to be more relaxed and allow for open-toed shoes. Sparkly gold or silver sandals complement a holiday party vibe.
New Year's Eve Parties
Glitzy New Year's Eve parties call for flashy sandals. Whether attending a house party, hotel gala, or nightclub event, strappy sandals covered in sparkle make a perfect shoe choice to ring in the new year.
Winter Wedding Receptions
At winter weddings, sandals are a popular pick for wedding guests' attire. The reception is usually held indoors, and dress codes allow for stylish dress sandals to complement festive party outfits.
For a museum or art gallery fundraiser with a cocktail dress code, closed-toe sandals add elegance. Make sure to bring a wrap in case the venue has areas that are cooler.
Corporate Holiday Parties
Many companies opt for holiday parties at hotels or restaurants in December, with business formal or cocktail attire. Dressy embellished sandals fit right in for these indoor winter work celebrations.
New Year's Day Brunches
After ringing in the new year, daytime brunches on New Year's Day are casual, laid-back occasions ideal for wearing sparkly sandals from the night before.
Guidelines for Styling Sandals at Specific Winter Formals
Sandals work better at certain winter formal events than others. Here are tips for wearing sandals to specific popular winter formals:
Holiday Office Parties
- Stick to closed-toe, ankle strap sandals in metallic or neutral colors
- Avoid over-the-top sparkle or rhinestones to keep look professional
- Pair with a below-the-knee midi dress or dressy pant outfit
- Pass on sandals for ultra formal black-tie winter weddings
- Opt for closed-toe pumps, glittery heels, or velvet booties instead
Outdoor New Year's Eve Parties
- Skip open-toed sandals for outdoor winter NYE parties
- Choose closed-toe shoes you can wear comfortably outside all night
- Take advantage of an indoor venue to wear strappy embellished sandals
- Bring a fur stole or velvet wrap in case the ballroom runs cold
- Mix metals carefully with jewelry to avoid clashing
- Closed, peep-toe sandals work well for wedding receptions at restaurants
- Select neutral sandals that complement your outfit rather than compete
- Wear with opaque tights or stockings to keep legs warm
Tips for Styling Winter Formal Outfits with Sandals
Sandals may not seem like an obvious choice for winter formal attire, but they can be styled in elegant ways. Here are some tips for complementing your fancy party outfit with dressy open-toed shoes:
Choose Floor-Length Hemlines
Balance out open-toed sandals with maxi dresses or floor-length skirts that keep legs covered. A long skirt offsets the exposed toes.
Layer with Opaque Tights
Wearing opaque tights or stockings underneath sandals adds warmth and coverage for winter. Match tights to your dress color.
Drape with a Wrap
Bring a fur stole, velvet wrap, or faux fur shawl to wear over bare shoulders or legs in drafty venues. Elegant wraps polish any winter formal outfit.
Play with Metallics
Metallic shoes and accessories shine at winter formal events. Go for rose gold, silver, or champagne sandals with matching jewelry.
A healthy dose of sparkle dresses up open-toed shoes. Look for sandals with crystal embellishments, glittery straps, or jewel details.
Keep Pedicures Fresh
Well-groomed feet are a must with open-toed shoes. Get a professional winter pedicure with deep moisturizing treatments beforehand.
If outdoor temperatures are very cold, sandals are not practical. Check the weather forecast before finalizing winter formal footwear.
Bring Backup Shoes
If unsure about sandals, pack a spare pair of closed-toe shoes. That way you can change into pumps or booties if needed.
Can you wear sandals to a winter formal event? In many cases, yes - dressy, closed-toe sandals can absolutely work for certain winter affairs. Sparkly, strappy sandals pair perfectly with formal gowns and complement festive attire.
However, sandals are not appropriate for every winter formal event. Factors like the venue, dress code, weather, and style of the sandals themselves need to be evaluated. Outdoor locations and ultra-formal black-tie dress codes warrant closed-toe shoes instead.
With an indoor venue, reasonably mild temperatures, and a cocktail or semi-formal dress code, closed-toe embellished sandals make a stylish shoe choice. Pair glittering gold, rose gold, silver, or jewel-toned sandals with floor-length hems. Add opaque tights and a luxe wrap too.
So while open-toed shoes may seem counterintuitive for winter, they can definitely work for certain festive formal occasions. With the right sandal style and outfit combination, sparkly sandals help create an elegant winter formal ensemble.