2018 Top Picks for Homecoming and Semi-Formal Party Dresses

As the summer comes to an end, everyone is thinking about back to school. Whether you’re heading back to high school or off to college, Fall and Winter are filled with Homecoming and so many other semi-formal parties and events. If you’re in high school, you’re sure to be on the lookout for a gorgeous Homecoming dress that will stand out in the crowd. If you’re in college (whether you rushed a sorority or not), there are plenty of exchanges and semi-formal cocktail parties to attend. Even if you’re out of school, you’re sure to have a few semi-formal weddings or work parties to attend.

In 2017, there were so many different trends for Homecoming dresses. You’re probably wondering what’s new for 2018. This post is dedicated to helping you find the perfect semi-formal and Homecoming dresses for 2018. I’ll go over all the trends I’ve been seeing and hopefully help you decide on something perfect for your night!

When talking about semi-formal events such as Homecoming, the dress code is normally less dressy than Prom but dressier than a typical party. We’re talking about something that is right in between a casual party dress and a formal gown. Most girls opt for something shorter that is a little more flirty and fun, but I’ll include some longer styles as well, as some schools have a more formal Homecoming dance. Keep in mind, these dresses are all perfect to wear to wedding, work party, or any other event where the dress code is ‘semi-formal’. Without further ado, here are the top trends we’ll seeing for semi-formal party and Homecoming dresses in 2018.

Short and Sweet A-Line Party Dresses

When we think of Homecoming or semi-formal dresses, the classic short A-line party dress immediately comes to mind. This pink strapless A-line party dress retails for just $48 and is a great girly dress for your next semi-formal event. The plunging strapless neckline adds a flirty detail to this dress and takes it up a notch. Pair it with some strappy heels and a clutch!

Melt The Ice Blue Plunging V-Neck Party Dress

This next A-line option for your semi-formal event comes in a cool ice blue color. This is a great classic party dress that will stand out in the crowd. It is simple, yet stunning and retails for $38. You’ll find this and so many other cute party dresses at Lily Boutique. They have a page just of Homecoming dresses, which makes it easy to find something specifically for your dance.

Beaded and Embellished Homecoming Dresses

Mirror Mirror Embellished A-Line Party Dress in Blue Gray

Homecoming is definitely an event where you can add a touch of bling to your look. Dresses adorned with beading and sequins will be all over the place this year! Since Homecoming is an event that is a little bit dressier than your typical party, wearing a dress with beading or embellishments is the perfect way to take your dress up a notch and dress it up a little bit. Embellishments are also a great way to catch the light so you can stand out and shine on the dance floor! This party dress comes in a unique blue gray color and features heavy embellishments at the neckline and empire waist that contrast with the dress and add the perfect touch of shimmer. Wear this dress with delicate silver jewelry and a silver clutch. Even if you don’t win Homecoming Queen, you’ll be the Queen of Style!

Maybe you want something with some shine, but you need a change from all the light and bright colors? There’s nothing like a flattering little black dress, and this one is a step above the rest! The Choose Your Path Black Sequin Pencil Dress has a classic sheath cut and a flirty open back. Black sequins adorn the front panel of the dress, creating a look that is sleek and sultry. This is a really great little black dress for almost any semi-formal cocktail party- or if you’re wanting to plan ahead, New Year’s Eve!

Short and Sexy Mini-dresses

Pop The Champagne Strapless Sequin Dress

While we’re on the subject of sleek and sexy, another trend I’ve been seeing for Homecoming is shorter, more fitted mini dresses. Gone are the days when Homecoming dresses consisted only of an A-line party dress with lots of layers and tulle. If the classic 1980s poofy dance dresses come to mind when you think of Homecoming, think again! Fitted minidresses that are sleek and chic are all over the place now. Whether we like it or not- with celebrities like the Kardashians showing some skin on the red carpet in fitted curve-hugging looks, young ladies are looking for something a little more sleek and a little less ‘foofy’ to wear to Homecoming and semi-formal parties. This fitted dress has a strapless sweetheart neckline and sequins throughout. It would look cute paired with gold or nude strappy heels and some delicate jewelry.

If you’re wanting something a little shorter and sexier, but sequins aren’t your thing, consider this gorgeous yellow lace party dress! It has a fitted cut, semi-sheer mesh panels, and is made almost entirely of lace. I like that this style is sexy and fitted, but the lace keeps it sweet and innocent too. I can see this dress paired with strappy heels for a semi-formal party. Also available in Pink.

Merlot Cutout V-Neck Fitted Dress

Here is another gorgeous fitted mini dress you can wear to Homecoming or any other semi-formal cocktail party. The wine red color is great for a Fall event like Homecoming, and it is also the perfect dress to wear into the Winter months to a Christmas or holiday party. I wanted to include this dress because it is a great example of some of the more simple and chic styles I’m seeing being worn to events.

Linger A Little Longer

Of course, at some schools Homecoming is a much dressier event than semi-formal and the dress code is more similar to black tie- or a slightly less dressy version of Prom. If your school does Homecoming a little fancier, don’t worry! I’ve got some gorgeous midi, high-low, and maxi dresses just for you. First up is the Jewel of Your Heart Embellished Maxi Dress in Burgundy. Once again, this burgundy wine color just screams ‘Fall’. I also like the band of beading and embellishment around the waist because it adds a touch of sparkle and dresses up this look without being too over-the-top or looking too Prom-y. A really popular look for a maxi dress like this is actually to dress it down in a little bit more of a boho style. You can pair it with gold jewelry or a gold headband and even wear it with beaded gold sandals instead of stilettos if you like! Think more hippie-chic festival style than Prom queen and you’ll be a fashion-forward boho glam goddess!

Swan Lake Strapless Gown in Champagne

This next gown is the dressiest look I’ll be showing you. It is appropriate for a formal Homecoming, Prom, or even a wedding. It has an elegant mesh fantasy overlay with an ivory and gold glitter design. The combo of ivory and gold together is to die for! The dress is already stunning and very dressy, so all you need to do is pair it with some gold jewelry and strappy gold heels. You could add a gold headband or boho glam jewelry if you want to dress it down a bit, but this is definitely a “fairytale” look that is a bit more fashion-forward and on-trend than the typical ‘prom dress’ we often see.

We’ve already discussed short and sleek mini dresses that are perfect for cocktail parties. And I’ve also shown you some more formal maxi options for Homecoming. But what do you do when you just don’t know what the dress code will be and how formal you’re supposed to dress? Maybe you’re going to a friend’s Homecoming dance at another school and you’re not familiar with the dress code. Or you’ve seen a mix of short and long dresses worn in the past and you aren’t sure which one to choose? Or maybe you’ve been invited to an event that says “Black Tie” and you have no idea whether people will be wearing short party dresses or long gowns? Here is where my favorite weapon comes into play- the high low dress! A high low dress is one that is a bit shorter in the front and longer in the back. Some people call them ‘mullet dresses’. They can hit at a midi length or all the way to the floor, but they are perfect to wear to events when you don’t know how dressy you’re supposed to be because they are the perfect in-between dress that will not look out of place at either event! This romantic red high low dress looks perfect worn with strappy heels and a clutch.

Selena Chiffon Maxi Dress in Taupe

Here is another great option for a maxi dress or gown that is not quite as formal as a fancy Prom dress. It has a flowy chiffon maxi skirt with a slit up the side that goes all the way to the waist. It opens up to the lining underneath that stops at the mid-thigh. This dress allows you to show a little leg if you want to- or keep it formal. I like that the skirt of this dress has a fashion-forward feel that lends a bit more casual vibe to it. Dresses with unique hemlines and asymmetrical skirts will be big for Homecoming 2018 and beyond. This would also make a unique bridesmaids dress!

Ready For Romance

Above I showed you several dresses that are short, sleek, and sexy- but what if you are a true romantic at heart? If roses, lace, and all things sweet and delicate are more up your alley, you’re going to fall in love <3 with these next few dresses. There’s something to be said about leaving a little mystery and something to the imagination. When everyone else’s hemlines are getting shorter and necklines are getting lower, go against the grain in something sweet, delicate, and classy! For example, consider this gorgeous blue lace dress with embellishments around the waist. Lace might just be the most romantic fabric, and this blue color with some sparkle to it reminds us of a night under the stars. In fact, the dress is aptly named the Midnight Blue Rendezvous Lace Sheath Dress.

Fairy Flutter Burgundy Lace Asymmetrical Hem Midi Dress

If you’re looking for something sweet, delicate, and romantic, you’ll be hard-pressed to find something more fitting than this flowy burgundy midi dress. First of all, the color burgundy red is the epitome of romantic- and once again, it’s perfect for Fall! Secondly, the dress has a flowy romantic cut with an asymmetrical hemline that reminds me of a fairy. The midi length makes it perfect for a semi-formal or more formal black tie event. Finally, it has panels of lace down the skirt that make this dress girly and sweet. Remember, lace is one of the most romantic fabrics! This dress is a jaw-dropper that has that ethereal angelic feel to it, reminiscent of a forest fairy. I can see this paired with beige or gold strappy heels and a clutch (don’t you just love burgundy and gold together in the Fall?).

We just discussed how red/burgundy is the color of romance, but what other color comes to mind when you think of love/romance/Valentine’s Day? Think pink! If you want a girly, sweet, and romantic Homecoming dress, consider this embellished pink party dress. The sweetheart neckline even reminds me of a heart! This flowy chiffon dress has gorgeous bead embellishments at the bust. I can see this being the perfect dress for Homecoming, a Valentine’s Day school dance or party, or even as a unique bridesmaid dress. The blush color combined with the sparkle at the bust is truly stunning and perfect for a girly girl.

Rose Romance Black and Ivory Cutout Midi Dress

What flowers come to mind when you think of love and romance? Roses, of course! If you want a romantic, girly party dress, this rose print dress is to die for! I love that it comes in a black and ivory color which is a unique twist to all the other red or pink rose prints we see so often. The black and ivory actually remind me of old black and white romance films! The classic A-line cut is girly and sweet and the longer midi hemline leaves something to the imagination. This is a great semi-formal party dress for so many events.

While we’re on a rose kick, I thought I would include this pink party dress with fabric rosettes at the bust. Everything about it is girly and sweet, from the combination of blush pink and ivory to the pleated tulle A-line skirt. The best part of this dress is that it is on sale for just $25.95! Yes, you can buy your Homecoming dance dress for less than $30 and this is one you can wear over and over again to different parties and events. It’s also a cute option for bridesmaids as well. I can see this at a romantic summer wedding in a barn or loft space.

Bella Ballerina Ivory and Cream Tulle Dress

If this ivory and cream tulle A-line party dress isn’t girly, romantic, and sweet then I don’t know what is! This is THE dress for the romantic at heart. What girly girl didn’t dream of being a ballerina one day? Even if you can’t dance en pointe, you can still look the part at your next semi-formal event. This lovely look would be beautiful paired with neutral beige strappy heels.

Keep It Simple

Sometimes it’s the simple things in life that make the biggest impact. With Homecoming and semi-formal dresses in the past, there was always a tendency to go overboard with ruffles, tulle, and embellishments. What I’ve been seeing for the past several years is a return back to basics. Classic silhouettes that are super flattering combined with the perfect accessories can create a much more fashion-forward look than going over-the-top with your style. If you’re a minimalist and looking for something chic and classy, you’ll love this modern trend of ‘less is more’ for Homecoming. I’m going to be showing you several dresses that are beautiful yet understated- but will still make a big impression. First up is this classic red A-line party dress. This dress has a gorgeous flattering A-line cut that looks beautiful on so many women. It is simple and stylish- the one thing that really ‘pops’ is the bright red color. Try pairing this dress with strappy gold or beige heels and a clutch.

Above we talked about how a classic A-line cut is chic and sophisticated. This dark navy dress is perfect for so many events, and it also has a twist: the scalloped neckline. I also love the dark navy color which almost works like a neutral- but it has a more refined feel to it than basic black.

Now if you are looking for basic black, there’s nothing wrong with that! This black party dress has a flattering A-line cut that is simple and chic. The off the shoulder cut adds a flirty touch that makes it perfect for Homecoming or a cocktail party. Actually I can’t think of anywhere you couldn’t wear this dress! I love that it’s a great blank canvas that can be accessorized so many different ways. If you want something bright and bold, try pairing this dress with electric blue for a pop of color! Or pair it with a metallic handbag and shoes in silver or gold. The options are endless!

Twist of Fate Chiffon Designer Dress in Baby Blue

Another cute, yet simple option is this strapless chiffon party dress in a pale baby blue color. The color is girly and sweet and will look perfect against that tan you’ve been working on all summer! This would also make a lovely bridesmaids dress. The one thing that stands out about the cut of this dress is the fabric ‘twist’ at the bust. Pair it with strappy beige or gold heels and jewelry. Pale blue and silver always look ethereal together as well!

Great Gatsby/Roaring 20’s- Inspired

Shine All Season Sequin Cocktail Dress

For as long as I can remember, people have been fascinated by the glamour of the Roaring 20s. Ever since Baz Luhrmann’s Great Gatsby movie came out, Roaring 20s-inspired style has been back in a big way at Homecoming, Prom, cocktail parties, New Year’s Eve parties, etc. If you want to get a Roaring 20s inspired look, think beading, fringe, sequins, feathers, and headpieces.  Unless you’re heading to a party or dance where the theme is Roaring 20s, you may not want to go all out, or you’ll look like you’re wearing a costume. It’s a good idea to incorporate elements of the Roaring 20s style you love into your look. A perfect example would be this gorgeous sequin cocktail dress. It has the look and style of the Roaring 20s without looking costume-y. This dress is a gorgeous option for Homecoming or to wear to a New Year’s Eve party. If you want to go full-on Great Gatsby, pair it with a beaded headpiece a la Daisy Buchanan.

Another good option for a 1920s-inspired look is this gold sequin party dress. I love the design of the sequins as well as the looser, shift cut. The shift cut was popular with 1920s flapper dancers because it allowed them to move freely. Put on this sparkly dress and some jazz music and Charleston the night away!

This beaded purple maxi dress is a much looser interpretation of 1920s style, if you’re wanting something that just has a touch of the Roaring 20s. The beading at the bust and the flowy flutter top combine to create a glamorous look. The longer maxi cut makes this the perfect dress to wear to a more formal Homecoming or black tie event. It’s a great look because while it is floor length and dressy, the loose flutter top tones it down and lends a boho glam feel to it. I would pair it with a beaded headband and clutch purse. This is also a bridesmaid dress option that is perfect for a Roaring 20s style wedding.

Go for the gold in this gold sequin cocktail dress. This dress also has a bit of a Roaring 20s feel to it, but is a little more sleek and sexy than loose and flowy. This dress is a gold color and features sequin embellishments throughout the fabric. Wear this dress to Homecoming and you’ll have all eyes on you! It’s also the perfect dress for New Year’s Eve!

I hope you’ve found this guide to trends for 2018 Homecoming and semi-formal party dresses helpful. Hopefully you’ll be able to find just what you’re looking for to wear to your school dance as well as all of your semi-formal parties and events this year. What type of dress are you wearing for Homecoming? Let us know in the comments!

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