Tips for Nailing Your Proposal Outfit

We're giving you the fashion playbook so you have one less thing to stress about.
Ashley Kiely - The Knot Contributing Writer.
Ashley Kiely
Ashley Kiely - The Knot Contributing Writer.
Ashley Kiely
The Knot Contributor
  • Ashley contributes fashion and lifestyle wedding content to The Knot.
  • Ashley is a freelance editor, writer and brand consultant.
  • Before going freelance, Ashley was the Fashion Editor for PeopleStyle magazine.
Updated Dec 19, 2021

So, you've decided you're going to pop the question—exciting! After you find the engagement ring or special accessory, choose a date and location and decide what you want to say to your significant other, all that's left to do is select the perfect proposal outfit. Deciding on your engagement outfit is an important piece of the puzzle and ensures you'll look and feel your best for this special moment.

There are so many romantic ways to execute a marriage proposal, but no matter how, when or where you plan to pop the q, you should have a proposal ensemble that'll make you feel comfortable and like your best self. On top of that, you'll want an outfit that photographs well for all your engagement photo ideas.

Here's how to create a picture-perfect proposal outfit that'll have you ready to say, "Will you marry me?" with confidence.

Wear Something With Pockets

Arguably one of the most important things to remember when deciding on your engagement outfit is to wear something that will conceal the ring box or whatever accessory you plan on gifting your future spouse (if you plan on going that route!). Before you reveal the sparkling diamond ring, fancy gold watch or ruby cuff links to your partner, you'll need to carry them to your proposal location. That means you'll need a place to tuck it away in your attire so that it's easily accessible (but still safe at the same time). While you can certainly put it into the pocket of a trouser or a dress, ring boxes and other jewelry cases tend to be bulky, so make sure to try on your look with the box hidden ahead of time to see if it looks discrete. A blazer, jacket or coat are all great options, as they tend to have more spacious pockets. Of course, you can always conceal it in an accessory—like a backpack or beach bag—if your proposal location makes it tricky to wear an outfit with pockets. Just be sure to keep it close to you and away from your significant other.

Dress for the Location

Your chosen outfit should fit the vibe of where you plan to pop the question so you don't give your soon-to-be fiancé or fiancée any inkling of your surprise proposal. While a blazer and trousers or a cocktail dress are nice outfits for a classy dinner proposal, they're likely to draw suspicion from your partner if you're wearing fancy attire for a walk in the park. Instead, opt for something that fits the casual, outdoor vibe. If you've come up with a proposal idea that'll have you reaching for the ring box during a specific activity, like a hike or beach trip, dress accordingly. You can wear your best workout clothes for a day on the mountain and your favorite swimsuit with a coverup or a T-shirt for the surf and sand. Remember, dress for the location where you'll be proposing to keep your partner unaware of what you have planned.

Choose Comfortable Clothing

You want to look and feel your best on your proposal day. While style is important, you should also feel comfortable—especially because your nerves are sure to be running high. To be as relaxed as possible on what can be a stressful day, you should try on your proposal outfit ahead of time to make sure everything is fitting well and feels good to move around in. If your proposal plans include getting down on one knee, check that you can easily do that in your chosen attire. Fitted pants or dark wash jeans that are easy to kneel in are great options for both men and women. For ladies, we also love an effortless maxi dress, as it'll provide more coverage when you drop down to one knee. You can practice kneeling in front of a mirror to see how smoothly your proposal outfit allows you to move and what it'll look like to a camera lens, just in case you get some rouge snaps taken (or professional ones, of course). You're going to have a lot on your mind that day and an outfit that's distracting you will keep you from being present in the moment.

Select Weather Appropriate Layers

You don't want the feeling of being too hot or too cold to take away from this major life moment. Dressing in layers will help when you're not quite sure what the weather will end up doing on proposal day. If there's a chance the day will be chilly, consider adding a blazer or jacket to your outfit that you can easily remove if you get too warm. For a hot day, don't overdress. Instead, opt for a short-sleeve button-down or a solid color T-shirt. A blouse is another lovely option, as is a flowy midi to maxi-length skirt or dress. Wear pieces in lighter colors and fabrics to beat the heat.

Opt for Solid Colors

You're likely going to be photographed either during or after your proposal and busy patterns can distract from the moment, so look for pieces in solid colors or very subtle prints. Neutral colors like white, black, grey and khaki are usually always a safe bet, but that doesn't mean they're your only choices. Light blue, navy, burgundy and deep greens are also great options as long as you steer clear of any bold prints, graphics and slogans that'll take the attention away from your love story.

Prepare to Be Photo-Ready

Whether you've hired a photographer for a professional photoshoot, enlisted a friend to take pictures from afar or plan to snap some selfies to post on social media immediately after, you'll want to be photo-ready for your proposal. It's important to choose pieces that'll photograph well—you should wear clothing that you can move around in, but that also fits you well, instead of baggy styles or too-tight looks. And opt for solid colors and very subtle prints over bold patterns and graphics.

Although grooming is not part of your outfit, it does contribute to your overall look, and it plays a big part in the quality of your photos (not to mention it'll make you feel even more confident). Get the haircut, trim the beard, splurge on professional makeup and cross off any other maintenance ahead of proposal day so you can look your best. We also suggest booking a manicure for both men and women. Cleaning up your nails ahead of proposing is sometimes overlooked, but even if you're not wearing the diamond ring, your hands will likely be photographed and you'll want them looking pristine for those close-up shots.

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