What to Wear to A Sweet 16 Party

 In Birthday Party, coming of age party, Party Themes, Sweet Sixteen

Congratulations! Your best friend invited you to her sweet 16. It’s going to be a night of fun memories and dancing. Moreover, this important milestone honors your bestie as she transitions from a teenager into a young woman. While it’s exciting to dress up for this type of extravaganza, adhering to the dress code can get a bit tricky. You don’t want to upset the birthday girl or upstage her. So, what should you wear to her sweet 16?

If you’re combing through your wardrobe in search of the perfect sweet 16 outfit, this blog is for you! Discover the best outfit choices for any type of sweet 16.

Consider the Formality of the Sweet 16

The easiest way to dwindle down dress choices involves taking another glance at the invitation. If the party host wants a specific dress code in place, she will list the nitty gritty details on the invite. The party’s dress code can range from casual and semi-formal, to formal, and black-tie apparel. Once you know the dress code, picking out an outfit becomes smooth sailing. Let’s explain the different sweet 16 dress codes a bit further.


Don’t let this choice fool you into believing you can skimp out on your outfit. A casual sweet 16 party does not mean showing up in jeans and a crop top; you still must dress to impress. So, if you’re racking your head around possible outfit choices, try a nice dress, skirt and nice top, jumpsuit, or romper. The fabrics are light, flowy, and cheerful with that perfect touch of drama. (Remember, you only want drama in your outfits, not with your bestie). Also, look for a nice floral print or add a chunky belt to tie the entire look together.


Picking out an outfit for a semi-formal sweet 16 is awesome because it merges casual and formal elements. You can still wear a jumpsuit or a dress; even better, you don’t need to wear a floor-length dress – at least not for a semi-formal sweet 16.

While a semi-formal dress code can be the trickiest because it can be many different outfits – a cocktail dress is the safest option. Pick out a dress with a short or long hem that has some sparkle, lace, floral print, or beautiful colors. Complete the look with a nice pair of heels or some subtle jewelry.


Pick out a short or long dress with a high neck to fit the dress code. You can sport a long dress or a short dress, assuming the short dress is not higher than knee length. But a special occasion calls for an extraordinary outfit. Break out your favorite black dress that you’ve been itching to wear!

Are dresses not up your alley? Don’t fret – you can wear a jumpsuit, a romper with a skirt instead of shorts, a long skirt, or a pantsuit. Furthermore, stick with tradition and wear other solid colors like navy or green.


Compared to the other dress codes, black-tie sweet 16 parties don’t have a lot of wiggle room. If the sweet 16 invitation says black-tie dress code, you will want a polished and elegant ensemble. Don’t be afraid of overdressing since overdressing for a black-tie event is ridiculously hard. Wear a ballgown, a long dress, or a mermaid-cut dress in alluring shades of black, navy, dark green, or red. Finally, accessorize your look with the right statement jewelry and gorgeous heels to tie the look together.

Look Out for Special Requests

Now that you know the dress code for your friend’s sweet 16, re-read the invitation for any details you might’ve missed. In some instances, the birthday girl may add special requests – such as a theme of the entire sweet 16 or specific color to wear – for guests to follow. If there’s a special request surrounding a party theme or special color, your outfit must coincide with the party. Otherwise, you risk invoking the birthday girl’s wrath. If you cannot find these details, we recommend you double-check with the host.

Check Out the Venue

Once you have more information about any special requests you need to follow, try scoping out the venue. Looking at the venue is a fantastic way to clue you in on the party attire. It also helps to scour through pictures of past events to see how guests dress or even the colors of their outfits.

With outdoor sweet 16 parties, for example, you will want clothes that will keep you warm when the temperature drops. Meanwhile, you will want to have your long dress ready for sweet 16s held in a ballroom. Once you check out the venue, it will be a piece of cake to pick out your outfit!

Monitor the Weather

Poor weather always shakes up the best-laid plans. If you are expecting harsh weather like wind or rain, dress accordingly! For ladies, flowy dresses with cardigans can still look great during storms. Likewise, guys may opt for slacks and button-down shirts paired with blazers. Regardless of what you choose to wear though, make sure your ensemble has enough flexibility so that temperature changes won’t leave you feeling uncomfortable throughout the night!

Tips to Look Your Best for a Sweet 16!

Picking out an outfit for a sweet 16 is not that hard! Once you get the dress code, if there’s a theme, know the weather, and checked out the venue’s website, getting your outfit together won’t be stressful. Here at Knowles Hospitality, we’ve helped parents throughout northern New Jersey celebrate their daughters’ journey to womanhood.

Dial (973) 732-2360 for any information about hosting a sweet 16 celebration with Knowles Hospitality. Our party planning experts are ready to help today!

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