What to Wear to a Baby Shower (for Every Season)
You’ve got the baby shower invite, selected the most adorable gift and can’t wait to see the glowing mom-to-be. But what do you wear to an event that’s definitely not as fancy as a wedding, yet more dressed up than a birthday party? If you’re having trouble deciding what to wear to a baby shower, don’t worry—we’ve got some simple advice on etiquette, dress codes and outfit ideas to get you started.
Since the dress code for a baby shower can vary widely (think: backyard brunch vs. country club affair), you’ll first need to figure out the level of formality. Need a hint? Look to the invite, says professional planner Emily Butler, co-owner of Karson Butler Events, a bi-coastal event planning firm with their own online store. “A mailed invitation with a patterned liner and calligraphy would lend itself to the shower being more formal than an electronic invitation or email,” she says. “Dress accordingly.”
If it’s an in-person event, the venue can also offer some insight into what to wear to a baby shower as a guest. If you’re not familiar with the location, a little online sleuthing can give you an idea of just how dressy you should get. If all else fails, Butler recommends just asking the host for guidance when you R.S.V.P. For a fancier event, a nice dress or skirt-and-blouse combo are a safe bet. If you prefer pants, opt for dress pants and heels over jeans or leggings. For a casual affair, however (think: at someone’s home or a park), jeans might be totally acceptable with a dressy top or a blazer. “When in doubt… dress one step above what you think it might be. It is always better to be overdressed than underdressed,” Butler says.
In this article:
Our favorite places to buy baby shower guest attire What to wear to a virtual baby shower What to wear to a baby shower in winter What to wear to baby shower in fall What to wear to a baby shower in spring What to wear to a baby shower in summer
Ready to start shopping? Check out our list of the best stores to browse for what to wear to a baby shower as a guest.
ASOS: If you’re on a tight budget (or just want to score a look for less), ASOS is a must-shop. This online retailer is known for their wide variety of styles, representing just about every trend imaginable. Bonus: Many of the pieces from their in-house label, ASOS Design, come in petite, tall and “ASOS Curve” sizes. Their free shipping and returns also ensure you’ll find just the right outfit for you.
J.Crew: For a smart, casual look, J.Crew is known for its modern take on American sportswear staples like the basic button down or pencil skirt. Their dressy options include everything from classic sheaths to fun, patterned skirts.
ModCloth: If vintage-inspired ensembles are more your style, ModCloth is the place to shop for classic silhouettes with a fun and quirky twist. Their unique prints, colorful designs and festive dresses are a great fit for the celebratory nature of a baby shower.
Rent the Runway: Don’t want to invest in an outfit you might only wear once? Rent it instead. Rent the Runway features looks from over 450 designers and brands at a fraction of the retail price. They offer both one-time rentals and monthly plans, so you can choose a single outfit for an event or four for the whole month.
With more and more events happening virtually these days, you’re probably wondering what to wear to a baby shower that’s online. While it might be tempting to dress extra comfy at home, Butler suggests staying away from athleisure. “Put as much effort into planning your outfit for an in-person shower as a virtual shower,” she says. “It not only helps you look and feel your best, but it makes the guest of honor feel special and loved." Since you’ll be seen from the waist up, consider adding a fun touch to your upper body wear, such as a statement necklace, printed top or detailed blouse.
There are also a few pointers to keep in mind specifically for being on camera. Butler suggests avoiding anything too tight or low-cut and checking to see if your top pulls or gapes open while sitting. It’s also a good idea to test your lighting beforehand: Pick a bright spot where you can face a window (instead of being backlit) for the most flattering light. Butler has a few camera-friendly makeup tips as well. “Keep it fresh and light without heavy eyeliner, which can make your eyes look smaller on camera,” she says. She also suggests a little lipstick and blush to bring life to the face and counteract the dullness a computer screen often casts.
Cold weather can definitely make it more challenging to figure out what to wear to a baby shower as a guest (bye, bye summer sheaths!). In that case, layering is key. “I’ll add a denim or leather jacket to a dress for cooler months,” Butler says. A cozy sweater or smart blazer can go far when warming up an outfit as well. If the event seems more casual, pants are always an option too: Search for dressier details like a unique silhouette, fun pattern or more formal fabric to elevate the look.
The juxtaposition of textures makes this outfit interesting, while also keeping you warm and toasty. A cozy cropped sweater is the perfect contrast to the silky feel of this satin skirt. Plus, the leopard print and pleats feel very fashion-forward.
Velvet serves a dual purpose on this stylish dress: It’s totally on trend, and it’ll help keep you warm. We especially love the wrap silhouette that looks great on everyone and the fluttery, boho sleeves.
Buy it: Modcloth Timeless Embrace Velvet Maxi Dress, $119, Modcloth.com
A plaid blazer and slacks is a combo so classic, it’s a no-brainer when deciding what to wear to a baby shower in winter. Update the look with modern touches like an oversized cut on the jacket and a stylish jogger silhouette with a paperbag waist. These dressier details keep the look from leaning too casual.
Dressing for the more transitional seasons can always be a bit tricky. When deciding what to wear to a fall baby shower, you’ll need to prepare for a wide range of weather. “For fall and winter, layers are key, especially if the shower will be outdoors,” Butler suggests. Plan an outfit that will pair well with a blazer, cardigan or light jacket but still look great even if you take it off.
While a blazer and blouse is always a smart choice, you can keep the look from feeling like office attire by choosing a softer, sweater knit jacket with oversized patch pockets. A tie-neck top adds just the right amount of femininity. If the shower is more casual, feel free to rock your favorite skinny jeans and some ankle boots; if you need to dress things up a bit, a pair of cigarette pants and heels will look effortlessly chic.
If the cooler weather makes you wish you could just curl up in your favorite sweater instead, opt for a sweater dress. A cable-knit stitch and slight gathering at the shoulders give this option a more put-together feel. Knee high suede boots really take the look to the next level.
This jumpsuit screams, “I’m the fun aunt!” so everyone in attendance will know exactly where you stand with baby. Trendy details like an X-front wrap, wide leg and blouson sleeve make this a fashion-forward pick, plus the polka dot print is ideal for such a cheery occasion.
Buy it: ASOS Design Jersey X-Front Long Sleeve Jumpsuit, $56, ASOS.com
Spring might just be the easiest season to decide what to wear to a baby shower as a guest (floral dresses and cheerful colors are a given), but that doesn’t mean you can’t benefit from a few outside-the-box ideas. If the shower venue seems a bit too casual to warrant a dress (or if that’s just not your style), a blouse with unexpected details—think: lace sleeves, embroidery or a fun pattern—will dress up a pair of cropped chinos.
No worries if dresses aren’t your thing: a sleek pair of white ankle pants will look just as sophisticated. Pair them with a lace-sleeved top for a feminine touch, no skirt required.
The mixing of a more formal fabric with a super-casual staple feels both totally of the moment and perfectly suited to a smart casual event like a baby shower. We love the idea of pairing a sleek, swishy skirt with classic chambray for a look that’s equal parts classy and comfortable. For an added trendy touch, tie the shirt in the front.
If the baby shower venue seems a bit more formal, this embroidered dress is just the pick for the occasion. The floral motif and ruffled cuffs add just the right amount of fancy without feeling too fussy, while the longer sleeves and high neck will keep you from freezing if the weather is still chilly.
Buy it: ASOS Design Embroidered Pleated Midi Dress, $67, ASOS.com
Hot weather calls for light fabrics like chiffon, linen or cotton. Your best bet when selecting what to wear to a baby shower is an airy sundress or even blousy shorts, especially if the venue is outside. This is the perfect season to play with fun prints or bright hues. “Don’t be afraid of pattern and color,” says Butler. “A shower is a celebration. Dress the part!”
This sunny summer dress perfectly suits such a happy occasion. The lightweight linen fabric feels easy and breezy, as do sweet details like the button front and a tiny, peekaboo cutout at the tie waist.
Buy it: LUSH Printed Button Tie Front Midi Dress, $59, Verishop.com
For a backyard brunch or BBQ in the summer heat, you’ll stay cool in this airy crochet-sleeve blouse and rainbow shorts. The playful pattern is a perfect match for the celebratory mood.
Nothing says summer quite like seersucker stripes. This mini dress puts a festive twist on a classic with delicate covered buttons, a nipped in waist and tied cuff sleeves. Pair it with a straw hat and you’ll be made in the shade.
Buy it: ASOS Design Button Neck Mini Smock Dress, $56, ASOS.com