Are you in middle school and hoping to know what to wear to a dance? You’ve come to the right place! Depending on the theme or purpose of the dance, there are different outfits you may be expected to wear. While you aren’t often required to wear a dress, some of the more formal dances will expect you to wear something with a skirt. If it’s just a casual dance though, it might be more appropriate to wear jeans and a nice top.
Here are just a few ideas for what you can wear to a school dance as a middle school girl. Remember though, keep in mind what’s expected of the dance, and don’t forget to have fun!
1. A Full-length Dress
When people think of attending a dance, they most often imagine wearing a dress. And more specifically, they think of wearing a full-length dress.
However, it’s not entirely necessary to wear a full-length dress to a middle school dance—this style is more reserved for dances in high schools, like prom or homecoming.
This means that, while it will depend on the design of the dress, this kind of dress is usually saved for more formal events.
If you have a full-length dress you would like to wear though, or want an excuse to buy such a dress, certainly feel free to do so. There’s nothing that makes you feel more elegant than wearing a dress that goes all the way down to the floor, especially when you get to twirl and glide around the dance floor in it. Also, the dress will hide your shoes if you want to wear some more comfortable sneakers or decide to take your shoes off and go barefoot.
2. A Shorter Dress
If the dance is a step down from a high school one like prom or homecoming, a shorter dress may be more appropriate. Not only are these easier to wear after the dance since they’re more excepted to wear in public compared to a formal, full-length dress, but they’re also more comfortable to move in.
They help you not overheat on the dance floor, and your legs have more room to move.
You also don’t have to worry about someone stepping on the hem and ripping your dress, which could be a real issue if you spent a lot of money on the said dress.
In fact, unless the dance is specifically labeled as a casual dance, you’ll probably see the majority of other girls wearing a dress with a shorter length—though it depends on the style of dress. The reason is that shorter dresses usually cost less than longer ones, they’re easier to wear, and they can be reused for future dances, church, or on a date.
3. A Two-piece Dress
A two-piece dress is the perfect happy medium between a full-length dress and a shorter dress. While you still get the elegance of the long skirt, you can move around more easily.
You also get the ultimate assurance of reusing the outfit, in that you can switch and alternate the shirt/top and skirt with other outfits. However, some school dance dress codes prohibit two-piece dresses, so read your school’s dance dress code to find out what will and won’t be allowed.
4. A Casual Dress
For most middle school dances, you can expect to wear casual dress. But while it has the name “dress” in it, it doesn’t necessarily mean you have to wear a dress. Casual dress means wearing something you would wear any other day (in theory).
However, since it’s an event you will be attending, consider dressing well—the bare minimum being jeans and a nice top, and at the max an informal dress (maybe even with sneakers).
A good rule to follow is that it’s always better to dress up than to dress down. If you aren’t sure what the requirement is for the dance, it’s safer to dress more formally than to show up and be the only person in jeans.
If you aren’t sure what to expect in this regard (since everyone has a different opinion of what dressing “nice” means), ask your friends, parents, or teachers for ideas. Hopefully, by the time you’ve been to a few dances, you’ll know what to expect and can even help others who won’t know.
5. A Jumpsuit
If you don’t want to wear a dress or skirt to the dance but are still expected to dress nicely, a jumpsuit is a great option. Nowadays, you can get a jumpsuit in all different types—casual, formal, summer, winter, tight, loose, etc.
Just like how you can dress down a jumpsuit, you can dress up one too (with the right design). If you feel that the jumpsuit you have (or are about to buy) isn’t dressy enough, you can simply layer it appropriately, with either the right jacket or blazer, or heels and jewelry. You can dress it down as well with a jean jacket or sneakers.
A jumpsuit is a great choice for any girl who doesn’t want or own a skirt or dress, as it can be very comfortable and still stylish.
Regardless of whether the dance is casual or slightly more dressy, a jumpsuit can fit the requirement while still being easy to wear and appropriate for the theme and expectations of the dance.
6. Something Sparkly
When people usually think of wearing a dress to a school dance, they usually imagine a full-length dress covered in sparkly decorations.
Like with the case with the full-length dress, it’s not required for most—if any—dances. But, if you want an excuse to be decked out in a beautiful dress that catches the lights on it, then feel free to live out your sparkly dreams.
Just because something has sparkles on it, doesn’t mean that it’s automatically formal. However, a sparkly clothing item that does dress up could be considered a more casual outfit, so if you have sparkly pants, they can match with a more plain top to make for a great semi-casual outfit. If the reverse is also true, wear a sparkly top and a more plain pair of pants or skirt to go underneath.
There just must be something about sparkles that automatically makes it more exciting and a step about a casual outfit. So if you have sparkles you want to show off, the perfect time is at a dance!
7. Something Plain
While this is called “something plain,” there aren’t many plain dresses for dances that are out there. Dresses come in all shapes and sizes: multicolor, one color, sparkly, shimmering, matte, silky, loose, form-fitting, etc.
Just because a dress is only in one color, doesn’t make it boring. You can certainly accessorize it with the right hairpiece, jewelry, shoes, or purse, but it’s not necessary. And while a sparkly clothing item usually dresses up an outfit by a level, a “plain” piece doesn’t necessarily dress down an item.
The level of dress a clothing item has all depends on the cut, material, fit, and way it’s accessorized with the rest of the outfit. Depending on how you accessorize, you could have a dress looking plainer than a put-together jumpsuit outfit, or a semi-formal dress bumps up to formal just by what purse or heels you wear with it.
So like with anything you’re trying to choose to wear, just check to see what the theme and dress code will be for the dance. Try out different looks and get the opinion of trusted friends and family to see what will be appropriate for a casual, semi-casual, semi-formal, or formal dance.
8. Different Shoes
One of the most difficult things to consider when trying to find an outfit for a dance is what shoes to wear. While you want to look good for any pictures you take, as well as have shoes that match the rest of the outfit, you also want shoes that you can walk and dance in.
There are many ways to go about this, with either wearing comfortable shoes despite the dress code, or taking your shoes off for the dancing, both of which have pros and cons. Very rarely do you get more dressy shoes that you can also dance and walk in (which, if you do have shoes that fit both requirements, keep them for as long as you can! Those are not easy to find!).
Here are a couple of questions to consider when choosing what shoes to wear:
- If you decide to wear sneakers or boots to the dance, consider the dress code. Is it a formal dance? If so, do you have a long enough dress or skirt where you can hide your shoes? If it’s any other kind of dance, do your shoes match or clash with the rest of the attire?
- Even if you’re wearing sneakers, are they comfortable shoes you’ve already broken into and a pair you’d be okay wearing while you jump around or get stepped on? Would you be horribly upset if you got marks on them?
- If you decide to wear more dressy heels or flats, are you able to comfortably walk in them? If not, would you be more comfortable dancing barefoot, even if you get stepped on or step into spilled drinks or food? Do you feel safe enough in leaving your shoes somewhere where they could be accidentally (or purposefully) taken?
- If you do decide to keep them on while you dance, will you fall or trip in them?
To try and get around this hassle, some might wear heels or nicer shoes for the pictures, and then switch them out for more comfortable shoes to move around in—which is not a bad idea. But if you do decide to do this, just make sure you keep track of your nicer shoes and that you don’t forget them in someone else’s car or at the dance.
If you have dressy shoes that you feel comfortable dancing in, then take care that they don’t break or get too worn out, as you will want to use those shoes for many more dances to come.
9. Match With Your Date
If you’re going to a dance with a date, see if they would be interested in coordinating outfits so that you match at the dance and in pictures.
Send them the name or a picture of the color of your dress or your outfit so that they can find something that matches. If you want to spend time with them before the dance, go to the mall together and pick out what you’ll be wearing to the dance at the same time.
10. Match the Theme of the Dance
If there is a theme to the dance, consider taking part in the fun and participating! Whether you’re going as a friend group or with a date, coordinate outfits so that you’re all matching. Whether the theme is famous couples, country, 20’s, Disney characters, a masquerade, around the world, etc., make this a fun excuse to put together a costume and take great photos with your friends or date.
Some dances will even have a costume contest, so if your group or date is willing, you can go all out in the planning of your costumes. No matter what you do though, make sure to take pictures, so that you can remember the fun you had for years to come.
11. Whatever Makes You Comfortable, Pretty, and Yourself!
Ultimately, whatever you decide to wear to a dance, make sure it’s something that you feel pretty and confident in! You won’t have a good time at the dance if you are adjusting your dress the whole time, your feet hurt from your pretty but uncomfortable shoes, or if you are too worried about what others think of your outfit.
Make sure to follow the school dress code, and then forget the rest and have a great time with your friends and/or date. And while you’re at it, make some new friends on the dance floor! This is a great opportunity to meet new people in a different setting outside of your regular activities.
Take pictures, have fun, and make memories. Wear something that makes you feel beautiful, regardless of if it’s a dress, a jumpsuit, or a pair of jeans.