The style of a girls party dress can determine whether a girl's dress is appropriate to the occasion. Wearing a black velvet dress with a medium-length skirt and lace is not appropriate for an evening summer party, just as a light cotton dress with pastel colored floral prints would be considered incongruous at a Christmas party. If you're on a tight budget, or if the dresses don't get worn very frequently, there are some looks in-between the fancy and the casual which may be serviceable at either of these occasions. A simple, medium-light weight, dark colored dress made of a stretchy fabric could be dressed up or down. Jewelry and accessories like scarves and belts will determine the effect of the dress. Perhaps a fashionable summery hat would lighten up the outfit, or a velvet scarf would dress it up for the fancier occasion.
Dresses can inspire or inhibit some girls party ideas, as well. If you are planning much physical activity at a daytime party, such as outdoor games or dancing, keep this in mind when the setting the style of clothing for the party. Some party ideas for girls could also include swimming and picnics, both of which would be inappropriate in the nicer girls party dresses. For more girls party ideas, try looking in party activity books offered by many publishers or websites.
Sometimes resources such as this may inspire an idea which would have not thought of, even if you don't do exactly what the book or website told you. For example, if one website suggests a specific item as a party favor, you can use a variation on that idea. Party ideas for girls can be difficult to conceive if the girls don't tell you exactly what they want. If possible, try to get a sense of what all the girls are interested in doing.
There are other situations in which the dress style is already dictated by the nature of the event. At a traditional wedding, a girl will need to wear something conservative and not overly eye-catching. Something that will blend well with the crowd, using colors such as whites, off-whites, Earth tones, light pinks, black. Bright magenta may be a little much in a sea of black and white formal dress. However, tastefully utilized, some bold colors can really add to a possibly otherwise stuffy-looking girls party dress. Perhaps a bow or a trim could accent the dress with a striking color. The same goes for any formal event. The rules are lightened up when dealing with daytime parties of most kinds, where the weight and type of the fabric should be the biggest consideration in dictating the girl's wardrobe.
Many designers are putting twists on classic styles. There are some beautiful girls party dress styles offered by sophisticated designers which take vintage dress styles originating in the Victorian era, the '20s, the '40s and other design periods, and reinvigorating them with unusual prints and materials.
Don't think that you have to stick to pink chiffon when picking out a girls party dress with your child! There is a much wider array of styles to choose from than there were a hundred years ago and one can find a dress that is both unique and appropriate.