How many black tie events do we attend a year? The main events that women dress up for in black tie are proms, weddings, maybe one or two charity balls per year or 20-year anniversaries. All of these events are important and tend to be a woman’s moment to shine. And while I LOVE the runway trends and fashion’s latest, runways rarely have great ideas for black tie dressing, however I think the red carpet has great concepts for women to be inspired for the special events in their lives.
When choosing the dress, there are several categories to think about. First, color. What colors do you love and feel amazing in? For me personally, I LOVE red. Deep reds, tomatoes reds, blue reds, all reds. That’s my go-to for fancy events, if I am not
rocking black or white. I think solid colors are great for dress-up occasions. Prints can tend to look messy in photographs later unless they are graphic and large. Prints can also date the dress or look.
Also when deciding on a dress, think about fabric. Satin, silk, crepe de chine are among my favorites. Cotton can be great for summer. Wool is only good for the dead of winter and if you’re gonna be outside for the majority of the evening. Lace, sequin and beading can be good too, as long as they are good quality. If you are on a budget I think it’s best to avoid these bedazzlements because they can look super cheap when made in a massive factory, which will be the case on any dress under $250.
Silhouette is the other big determining factor when choosing your fancy time dress. If you are a sexy hourglass figure, go for something corseted, or with a waist, it will show off your hot curves and give your breasts the support they need. If you are of the lanky variety or petite sizing, I love a simple 1920s inspired Chanel-like slip gown cut on the bias. It’s great for athletic bodies too.
If you are pregnant, or like to hide your belly (like me), the grecian and empire waist 70’s style dresses are gorgeous for a black tie event.
I also like to mix it up and wear a streamlined tuxedo with a pussy cat bow to fancy events every now and again. If you are the kind of woman who feels more confident in trousers (hello- the Celine girl!), get a custom tux made for your body. You will have the tux for the rest of your life and will wear it many a time. It’s a lot cheaper to change your underpinnings
(button down, scarf, etc) and shoes, then to buy a new dress for each upscale occasion.
Next thing to consider is the shoes. Now for formal events I really only like two types of shoes, a sandal or a peep toe. Something about the formality of the event to me says show toe. Pumps and closed-toe shoes are very daytime and/or work like. The sandal form or peep toe style is up to you and your comfortability with your feet. The other point to really take into account when you are choosing your shoe is how much time you are gonna be on your feet.
I think about if I am gonna just be walking from my car or taxi to the dinner to sit down, whether I am gonna be up and around greeting guests or dancing all night before I pick a heel height. And if I am wearing a super huge train and skirt (like I did at my second wedding), then I opt for a chic flat sandal that still looks dressy but allows me to be on my feet all night and easily navigate a massive dress.
For jewelry, I love a simple necklace OR earrings depending on the neckline of your dress or suit. This is the time to bust out fancy family heirlooms if you’ve got them. I love showstopper drop earrings with a high neck dress or suit. If you have an exposed collar bone on your dress, a necklace frames the face beautifully.
Last, but not least, is the ever-important hair and makeup look. As I said above, I get so bored with the typical overdone, hot rolled hair do with smokey eye or red lip number. It’s all about keeping it simple. For fancy events, I love to slick my hair back into a simple ballerina bun. Or, I add a fun fashion hat on clean, straight hair.
This is about sporting a look that makes YOU feel gorgeous and confident. This is NOT about trying to recreate what Angelina Jolie did last year at the Oscars. And the same goes for your makeup look. Do a glam-ed up version of the makeup you feel your best in! I love to add eyeliner on the inner rim of my lashes in a turquoise blue to spice up my everyday brown eye makeup. Or I add some super high gloss to my everyday lip color.
Many of times I have decided I didn’t want to do my own makeup and I headed to a makeup counter or had a professional makeup artist come to my house before the event. Every single time I have put my makeup in someone else’s hands I regretted it. It’s not because I didn’t like the person or their style of makeup. It was that after the fact, looking at pictures from the event, or even when I looked in the mirror after the makeup was on, I didn’t look like me.
All-in-all, when you are watching all of the award shows this season, I recommend you think about what silhouettes of dresses you might like to try for your next dressed up event, which colors you like for your own coloring and keep your eye out for new hair and makeup ideas. Happy Hunting!