How to Choose the Perfect Shawl for an Evening Business Gala?

March 7, 2024

When you are invited to an evening business gala, you immediately start planning your outfit. More often than not, the dress code for these events is formal. As you consider your options, you will invariably land on the quintessential evening wear: the little black dress. Elegant, timeless, and universally flattering, the black dress is the perfect choice for such an event. But the question then arises, how do you style it? A shawl can be the elegant touch that elevates your dress to new heights.

Selecting the Right Type of Shawl

When you step into the world of shawls, you will be met with an array of options. Different materials, sizes, shapes, and styles can make choosing the right shawl a daunting task. However, understanding the types of shawls available can make the process easier.

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When it comes to formal events, silk and cashmere shawls are usually the best options. They are elegant and luxurious, adding a touch of sophistication to your attire. Silk shawls, being lightweight and breathable, make for a perfect accessory during the summer months, while cashmere shawls provide ample warmth for winter galas.

Understanding the occasion is also essential. For evening business galas, a dressy shawl is more appropriate than a casual one. Look for beaded or fringed shawls that add a touch of glamour without overshadowing your dress.

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Choosing the Right Color

While the color black always works well with evening dresses, it’s not the only option. Depending on the color of your dress and the theme of the event, different colored shawls can create a striking ensemble.

A black shawl is a failsafe option. It’s versatile and, regardless of the style or color of your dress, it will never look out of place. If you’re wearing a black dress, however, you might want to consider a different color for your shawl to create some contrast.

If you’re looking to make a bold statement, consider a shawl in a contrasting color. For example, a red shawl against a black dress can make for an eye-catching look. On the other hand, a shawl in a similar but slightly lighter or darker shade can create a subtle and elegant effect.

Considering the Shawl’s Size and Shape

The size and shape of the shawl can significantly affect how it drapes over your shoulders. Oversized shawls can act as a statement piece, while smaller shawls can provide a more understated elegance.

Rectangular shawls are the most common. They’re versatile and can be draped in many ways, offering a variety of looks. However, if you’re wearing a dress with intricate detailing on the back, a triangular shawl might be a better option as it allows some of the dress to be visible.

When considering the shawl’s size, keep in mind the proportions of your dress. If your dress is voluminous, a large shawl might overwhelm your frame, while a smaller shawl may not provide enough coverage if you’re wearing a strapless or backless dress.

Coordinating with Your Dress and Accessories

Choosing a shawl is not just about the shawl itself, but how it complements your dress and accessories.

If your dress is embellished or patterned, opt for a simpler shawl to avoid clashing. On the other hand, if your dress is on the simpler side, a shawl with beadwork or fringe can add some interest to your outfit.

When coordinating your shawl with your accessories, consider the color and style. For example, if you’re donning a silver necklace, a shawl with silver beadwork might tie your look together beautifully.

Following the Dress Code

Finally, keep the event’s dress code in mind. For black-tie events, a formal shawl is appropriate, while for semi-formal events, you could opt for a less formal shawl.

Remember, the focus should always be on you, not just the shawl. The shawl is there to enhance your beauty and elegance, not to take the spotlight.

Choosing the perfect shawl for an evening business gala doesn’t have to be daunting. With these tips in mind, you can select a shawl that complements your dress, highlights your personal style, and ensures you are event-ready.

Mastering the Art of Shawl Wearing

Once you’ve found that perfect shawl, it’s time to master the art of wearing it. Shawls are versatile accessories and can be worn in a variety of ways to suit your personal style and the style of your dress.

In a black tie event, you might want to keep it traditional by draping the shawl over your shoulders and letting it fall naturally. This traditional style is sophisticated and can add a touch of class to your gala dress. If you’re wearing a strapless dress, consider wrapping the shawl around your arms to keep warm and maintain the integrity of your dress’ silhouette.

On the other hand, if the dress code for the gala event is more relaxed, you could be a bit more adventurous. One stylish way to wear a shawl is to fold it in a triangle and drape it over your shoulders, letting the ends hang down in front. This style works well with beaded or fringed shawls, as it allows these details to be on full display.

For a more modern look, you can create an infinity scarf by tying the ends of a rectangular shawl together. This style gives a chic and contemporary spin to your evening dress.

Remember, the key to wearing a shawl is balance. You don’t want it to overpower your dress or your overall look. Instead, aim for a harmonious blend that showcases your dress, the shawl, and your personal style in equal measure.

Perfecting Your Gala Look

Pulling everything together for a gala event can be challenging. However, with some careful thought and consideration, you can create a stunning look that will turn heads.

Your shawl should complement, not compete with your evening dress. Similarly, it should work well with your accessories, whether you’re wearing a simple pendant or a dazzling necklace. If you’re choosing a shawl with a pattern, make sure it doesn’t clash with your jewelry or your dress.

While the focus is often on the dress and the shawl, don’t forget about your footwear. Your shoes should not only pair well with your dress but also with your chosen shawl. For formal events, opt for a pair of elegant heels. If the event is black or white tie, you might want to go for a pair of stiletto heels or pumps, in neutral colors like black, nude, or silver.

Finally, remember that a shawl is not just a practical piece to keep you warm. It’s a fashion statement. It speaks volumes about your personal style and your understanding of the dress codes.


Choosing the perfect shawl for an evening business gala is all about understanding the event, knowing your personal style, and considering how the shawl will work with your dress and accessories. Whether you’re attending a black tie event or a semi-formal gala, there’s a shawl that’s perfect for you. The key is to select a shawl that complements your dress, suits the occasion, and most importantly, makes you feel confident and beautiful. With free delivery offered by many retailers, shopping for that perfect shawl has never been easier. So, embrace the versatility of shawls wraps and add a touch of sophistication to your gala wear.

Choosing the right shawl can enhance a simple black dress, making it ready for a floor-length evening affair. On the other hand, it can tone down an elaborately beaded cocktail dress, making it suitable for a less formal event. Remember, while fashions may change, the art of dressing elegantly for a gala is timeless.