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The M Dash

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What to Wear for Every Special Occasion This Summer

Party-ready picks you’ll actually wear again—and again and again.

By Emma Steinbergs

This past Wednesday, June 12th, was my seventh(!) anniversary of working at M.M. It feels like just yesterday that I was an early twenty-something commuting from the apartment I shared with four other girls into my new workplace, where I spent hours memorizing the names of products like the Foster pants, the Didion top, and the Etsuko dress. But a lot has changed in the years since 2017: My (extremely regrettable) bangs grew out, I went from having four roommates to two to eventually just one (otherwise known as my boyfriend), I stopped living off of takeout dumplings (from Vanessa’s, if you’re wondering)—and my relationship to my M.M. clothes changed in ways I never could have predicted.

Since my first day, M.M. has been synonymous with impeccable tailoring, functional fabrics, and thoughtful design details. Our design ethos remains the same—but ultimately, the clothing we made back in our early days was geared toward a relatively traditional workplace (think: consulting firms and law offices). Some of the first items I bought were pencil skirts and tie-front blouses—how times have changed! While I’ve held onto a handful of these pieces, my closet looks a lot different than it did pre-2020, and I’m happy to say that I can now wear the vast majority of my M.M. for work, the weekend, and everything in between.

Lately, I’ve been having a lot of fun styling everyday items in fresh, fancy ways. It turns out that odor-resistant dress I just wore with sneakers makes a sensational plus-one for sweltering wedding weekends. Don’t get me wrong: I love to indulge in a hyper-on-trend party dress every few years, but in the end, it’s much more satisfying (and responsible) to invest in pieces I can celebrate in now and keep wearing later.

In case your calendar is as packed as mine is this summer, I decided to whittle down a list of seven of my favorite special occasion outfits—using pieces you can repurpose for everyday wear. Scroll to see my recommendations, according to which type of event you might be attending.

Shop all the looks from this story here.

Look #1

For a Wedding

I’m at that age where I attend a minimum of three weddings per year, and I’ve learned a thing or two through much trial and error. Here are my non-negotiables when looking for a wedding guest dress: (1) It’s comfortable enough that I can eat as much as I want, then stay on the dance floor until the lights turn on. (2) I probably won’t see anyone else wearing it (no Reformation dresses for me). The Priya dress is all that and more—with an elegant cowl neck, a forgiving bias cut, and our lightweight-but-not-clingy Eco Save Wave fabric. Bonus: It’s treated with an odor-resistant finish called Polygiene, so you’ll stay smelling fresh, even if you break a sweat while cutting a rug. Here, I’ve accessorized it with the silver Ella sandals, sculptural earrings, and a kind of impractical but super cute beaded bag I found on Etsy. I love the dress’s punchy coral color so much that I also complemented it with a matching red lip.

Look #2

For Date Night

When we first launched the Monte dress a couple of months ago, I viewed it as chic but fairly conservative. It wasn’t until I finally tried it on that I realized it might be one of the sexiest dresses at M.M. right now. Made from jersey pima cotton, it’s as lightweight and breathable as a T-shirt, but thanks to the side ties that wrap around the waist, it forms a silhouette that’s both customizable and super flattering. To zhush it up, I paired it with square-toed sandals I got from Miista a few years ago (similar: Ella sandals) and added a pop of color via a reddish-brown, croc-embossed purse (similar: Coperni) plus a vintage Gucci scarf (similar: Etsy) that I recently scored in Rome.

Look #3

For a Nice Dinner on Vacation

When I’m traveling, I like my wardrobe to reflect the vibe of my destination—but refuse to buy anything I can’t immediately envision in my regular day to day. The Martina dress, another one of our Eco Soft Wave styles, features a vibrant yet tranquil blue that makes you feel fabulous whether you’re dining seaside in Italy or grabbing drinks with a friend after work. Here, I’ve styled it as I might on vacation—with flat sandals from Ancient Greek, a raffia bag (similar: Jenni Kayne), and my go-to bold gold hoops.

Look #4

For a Graduation Party

The thing about grad parties is that they usually take place in the afternoon and often involve a lawn of some sort. In other words, you’ll want to keep both sun and grass in mind when planning your outfit. To complicate things even further, there’s usually no dress code, so people show up in everything from lowkey jeans to stunning maxi dresses. To ensure you’re neither too dressed down nor too dressed up, I recommend a midi-length style that has an easy fit and breathable material. Made from our Eco 365Knit, the A-line Carol dress fits the bill and goes well with flat sandals (like this pair from Vagabond), which won’t get stuck in the grass. Try tying a cardigan around your shoulders for some extra styling flair.

Still need a gift? Grab a gift card, and let your giftee know that they’ll receive 20% off when they book a “New Grad Starter Pack” appointment

Look #5

For a Work Party

Work parties can also be a little iffy when it comes to dress code, so if you want to play it safe, go with the Pepper dress—basically, a glamorous version of your best button-down. It’s crafted from our insanely sumptuous silk charmeuse, features a beautifully flowy skirt, and comes in our dune color (a warm shade of gray). To play up silk charmeuse’s shine, I completed the look with silver Ella sandals and the glitzy Martine earrings.

Look #6

For a Business Dinner

If you’re attending a professional event that’s less celebratory and more schmoozy, I’d recommend sticking with work essentials—but you can style them in a way that makes them decidedly evening-y. In the summer, opt for navy instead of black; the silk charmeuse Didion top tucked into the wool twill Horton pants forms an elegant silhouette and a monochromatic palette that’s slightly varied in texture. Incorporate metallic accessories like a silver necklace and matching heels for some non-flashy shine.

Look #7

For a Birthday Party

I admittedly only wear my Carr jumpsuit for special occasions or nights on the town, but like a black dress, it’s a savvy purchase since I turn to it time and time again. Made from our drapey Everyday Satin, it has the ideal amount of slouch and a subtle sheen. Plus, the jumpsuit silhouette is a fun, unexpected alternative to a party dress. I wore it on my birthday this year, and it was a hit.

Shop all the looks from this story here.

Written By

Emma Steinbergs

Emma is M.M.LaFleur's Brand Manager. She previously worked as an M.M. stylist and still loves thinking through styling challenges and solutions for customers.

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