What to Wear to Homecoming: Trendy & Classic Outfit Ideas

Whether you want a sparkling dress, a formal suit, or a gender-neutral option, these homecoming outfit ideas will help you get a memorable look.

Updated September 26, 2023
teens ready for homecoming

What you wear to your homecoming dance can help make the event a night to remember. Work with your date to coordinate the tone, style, or colors of your outfits. If you're going solo, choose an outfit that makes you feel great or coordinate outfits with a group of friends.

No matter your decision on what to wear to homecoming, stay true to your personal style and walk with confidence in your outfit.

Timeless Homecoming Outfit Ideas for Guys

Your homecoming outfit is a reflection of the refined part of your personality. It should reflect your personal style in a semi-formal or formal way, and might even relate to your school's dance theme. If you're wondering what guys wear to homecoming, there's a long list of suitable options for the event. 

Business Casual Always Works

Teenage friends portraits

Business casual balances your homecoming style. You really can't go wrong with slacks, a button-down shirt, and a tie. It's beyond casual but doesn't quite meet expectations for a formal look, so it's the perfect middle ground for a homecoming dance.

Grays, browns, and blues are all considered neutrals for men's clothing. If you want to add more personal style, opt for a patterned shirt or monochromatic look where your tie and pants match, but your shirt is a contrasting color.

Quick Tip

Pair the outfit with loafers or dress shoes that coordinate with your belt. To coordinate with a date, match either your tie or shirt to her main dress color.

A Suit Without a Tie Looks Effortless

Young man in suit without a tie

A full suit and tie look is more appropriate for formal events such as prom. Tone down this classic dressy look for guys by ditching the tie. Choose a suit with a comfortable fit that doesn't include any special details like coattails or a tuxedo stripe on the pants.

A clean, standard suit jacket and pants outfit paired with a white, colored, or patterned button-down shirt looks great on any guy. While dress shoes are the obvious choice with this look, you could add style by subbing in clean, fashionable sneakers.

Suspenders and a Bow Tie Are Quirky & Cute

Young man wearing suspenders and bow tie

If you love the hipster style or want an unconventional semi-formal look, add suspenders and a bow tie to your homecoming outfit. You'll still need to wear dress pants and a nice button-down shirt to fit the occasion.

When choosing suspenders and a bow tie, look for a matching set that is meant for formal looks. Match these accessories to your date's look for a coordinating couple's outfit.

Try a Sweater With a Tie

portrait of teenage schoolboy in uniform

If your homecoming event is a little more casual, you could opt for a sweater over a button-down shirt with nice slacks. Adding a patterned tie gives the look a fun edge while ditching the tie makes it look more effortless.

When your normal day look is jeans or sweats and a t-shirt, this look is much more formal. If you wear a school uniform on the daily, one of the other suggestions is probably a better choice for your homecoming.

Helpful Hack

If you're going the more casual route but want to add something edgy, a leather or denim jacket looks timeless and sophisticated. 

Tips on What to Wear to Homecoming for Guys

Guys, this is one formal occasion when you definitely want to look every bit as great as your date! When it comes to figuring out guys' outfits for homecoming, there are some tried-and-true rules to help you look the part.

Decide on How Formal You'll Go

Some schools have restrictions on what is appropriate for homecoming, but for the most part, it is expected and appreciated when a guy turns up in semi-formal attire.

Full tuxedos and suits are usually reserved for formal occasions such as prom, while pieces of these formal looks are acceptable for semi-formal occasions. Find out what your homecoming is labeled, formal or semi-formal, to see how formal to dress.

Discuss Dress With Your Date

If you've got a date, talk to them and get a sense of what they are wearing. Usually, the two of you can match a bit, but don't take matching to the extreme. Coordinate your accessories with your date's main outfit color for a sophisticated look.

Be on the Same Level of Glamour

This means that you and your date should match the same level of formalness or lack of formalness. If your date is in a ball gown, it may not be appropriate for you to show up in a sports coat. The reverse is true if she's in a slip dress and you're in a tuxedo.

You and your date probably want to present a united front, and this is one great way to do that without saying a word. Don't be afraid to show off your collective personality with your outfit choices.

Sweet & Stylish Homecoming Outfit Ideas for Girls

Homecoming is a chance to look great and have fun with your friends. Keep fit in mind when choosing an outfit because you'll want to be able to move around comfortably. A stylish look will get you immediate positive reactions, but a great fit ensures you can move around and have a great time all night long.

Cocktail Dresses Are Always Classy 

Teen girl wearing black cocktail dress

Many girls opt for short dresses for homecoming to distinguish this look from the more formal look they might choose for prom. Cocktail dresses come in all different designs and colors and could be strapless, one-shoulder, or even long-sleeved.

Since the dress is short, you can get away with a lot of embellishments on it because the length keeps it semi-formal. Look for laces and silks to make sure the dress feels formal enough, and accessorize with cute heels and blingy accessories.

Skater Dresses Bring the Fun

Teen girl wearing skater dress

Skater-style dresses look similar to figure-skating outfits but have a more formal feel. These dresses are a tad less casual than cocktail dresses, but you can make them look more elegant by choosing jewel tones and elegant fabrics.

Since the neckline is high, your main accessories will be your dress shoes and maybe some fun earrings. If you like the look of a cocktail dress, but really value comfort, the skater dress is a great compromise.

Semi-Formal Separates Are Sweet & Quirky

Girl wearing trendy semi-formal separates

Semi-formal separates for girls are trending. The trick to pulling off this two-piece look for homecoming is choosing luxurious or formal fabrics and accessorizing with expensive-looking items.

A mid-length tulle skirt with a fitted lace or satin shirt is one way to get the look. You might also try an elegant silk skirt with a cozy sweater on top. Another trend is long-sleeve satin crop tops paired with formal skirts in medium or full-lengths. A bold pattern on the top or the skirt with a solid color on the opposite piece of clothing gives you the semi-formal feel.

Quick Tip

Separates are also an opportunity to play with color. If you can't decide which of your favorite shades you want to sport for homecoming, separates allow you to mix and match your style.

Slim Gowns Look Effortlessly Elegant

Portrait of a beautiful girl with long straight blonde hair

Gowns work great for homecoming when they have a slimmer fit and don't include tons of beading and bling. If your homecoming is more formal, look for a dress that has some minor beading around the top or bottom, just not all over.

You can find slim gowns with one sleeve, long sleeves, no sleeves, and strappy sleeves. Choose the style and color that best compliments your skin tone and body type.

Tips on What to Wear to Homecoming for Girls

Homecoming is one of those few chances in high school you get to show off your mature side. Most girls will be wearing super cute outfits, so make your style stand out with a few simple tips.

Consult Your Date

If you're hoping the guy you're going with is left speechless by your outfit, ask for his opinion on your outfit. Keep this info in the back of your mind and see if there's a way to mesh his ideas with yours.

You might also want to coordinate with him, so finding out what style and level of formality they're comfortable with can narrow your options from the start.

Quick Tip

If you're going with a group of friends, try shopping together to make sure you don't all pick the same outfit.

Focus on Accessories

Your outfit is really just a backdrop for you and your accessories. Getting the hair and homecoming makeup looks you want might even get more notice than your outfit.

Choose shoes that match your glamour level, but make sure they're going to be comfortable for the whole evening. Focusing on the small details and accessories you love will help you dance the night away with confidence.

Gender-Neutral Homecoming Outfits Ideas With Personality

If traditional dresses and suits aren't your thing, rock your own personal style at the homecoming dance. Gender-neutral outfits for homecoming focus more on letting your personality shine through while adding details that make the fit uniquely yours for the occasion. 

A Skinny Suit Jacket Is Sleek

Studio portrait of a cheerful white teenager boy in a pink jacket

If you want to look sleek and put together without compromising on the versatility and style of a suit jacket, a skinny cut is the way to go. These look just as dashing in jet black as they do in bold or pastel shades. They pair well with jeans, dress pants, and trousers for a homecoming vibe that lands somewhere between casual and cocktail.

Flashy Jumpsuits Are Fun

young woman wearing Jumpsuit

The jumpsuit trend is here to stay, and it's a fun way to bring some serious style to your homecoming attire. Whether you choose something dripping with color and embellishments or opt for the sleek neutral vibes of something understated, a jumpsuit helps you stand out in the best way.

Try Printed Pants & a Button-Up Shirt

Man covering eyes and raising hand while bending

Prints bring personality to your homecoming outfit and pants are an unexpected place to use them. Pair printed pants, trousers, or jeans with a sleek button-up shirt for a standout homecoming look that's as unique as you are.

Play With Luxe Street Style

Street styled woman enjoying beautiful day

You don't have to wear the traditional garb to have a memorable night at homecoming. Mixing luxe pieces with your eclectic street style creates a unique look. You won't have to worry about anyone wearing the same thing you are because all of your style elements will be carefully curated just for you. 

Pair eye-catching pants or jackets with sporty tops and shoes to get the look. You might also mix vibrant colors, play with different patterns, or repeat luxe materials (like satin or velvet) throughout the ensemble.

Should You Buy or Rent an Outfit?

Gone are the days of stressing over when and how to buy your homecoming attire. Your options for buying and borrowing semi-formal or formal attire are nearly limitless. Everyone deserves the opportunity to feel like they look great, so don't let your budget get you down.

When to Buy Your Homecoming Outfit

You can find semi-formal and formal outfits at any price point, but there are certain times when buying makes more financial sense than renting.

  • You are purchasing separates you can wear with other wardrobe items.
  • You know you'll need this item/outfit again for an occasion with a totally different guest list.
  • You don't care about designers and labels because the style is most important to you.
  • Budget isn't a concern for you.
  • Outfits for your body type or clothing style are difficult to find.

When to Rent Your Homecoming Outfit

Renting an outfit can help you save on costs, but it can also widen your pool of outfits to choose from.

  • You want a designer outfit, but don't have the budget to buy it.
  • You know you'll only wear this outfit one time.
  • You want something no one else in your school will have.
  • Fit is not typically an issue for you.

Where to Shop for Guys

Nearly every department store with a men's or young men's section carries basic dress pants, dress shirts, and ties. Once you know how formal your outfit needs to be and the colors you're going for, a fairly quick shopping trip should help you finish the task.

  • Tuxedo's Online has a great selection of homecoming outfit pieces from funky ties to standard button-down shirts. Ties cost around $15 while a whole suit starts at about $100 to buy.
  • You can either buy or rent whole outfits or pieces from Men's Wearhouse stores or their website. Designer options may cost several hundred dollars, while individual standard pieces such as pants start around $50.
  • Go-to department stores usually have everything you need for the entire ensemble. Try stores like Macy's, Kohl's, and Belk

Where to Shop for Girls

While many department stores carry dresses during homecoming season, girls often find a better selection at specialty stores that sell only formal and semi-formal attire.

  • Rent the Runway is a great retailer where girls can rent designer dresses for all occasions. You choose whether to keep the outfit for four days or eight days, then return it for free without having to worry about dry cleaning.
  • Despite its name, David's Bridal carries a large selection of semi-formal and formal outfit options for all occasions, including homecoming. Styles start as low as $30 for both traditional and trendy looks.
  • Lulus is an online retailer specializing in "affordable" luxury in their selection of formal attire, shoes, and accessories. Dresses start at $25, making this modern, chic retailer truly affordable for any girl.
  • Forever 21 is another online retailer with a selection of trendy women's clothes and accessories at decent prices. They also carry a good range of plus sizes. The selection in their wedding wear department and little black dresses have appropriate options for homecoming.

Dress Your Party Persona

Homecoming attire is often less formal than prom dresses and tuxes, even if you're part of the homecoming court, but more formal than a typical school dance outfit. It's basically the equivalent of an adult cocktail party where the focus is on having fun. Choose an outfit that shows your fun side with a bit of formal flair and you'll be perfectly dressed for an unforgettable night. 

What to Wear to Homecoming: Trendy & Classic Outfit Ideas