There is so much fashion to choose from these days that it can be way to confusing for the everyday woman to get a grip on. So, same as the guys I will start with black tie.
Ladies I would always suggest that a full length dress is worn on these occasions.
Quite often a black tie event will be a wedding. Put yourselves in the shoes of the bride and groom. They have spent months planning the perfect day, from the choice of venue down to the invitations. They have chosen this theme for one reason- glamour!
Yes they want their event to feel glamorous, and the photos, which will be their living memories to look great.
Glamour doesn’t have to break the bank. First if you don’t have a floor length dress and don’t want to fork out your hard earned cash on a frock that maybe only worn once, there are options.
My first suggestion is to ask a friend of a similar figure type if they have any gems hiding in the back of their closets. You may be pleasantly surprised on what you might find! Always remember if you are lucky enough to score a dress this way, dry-clean the frock and return promptly with a thank you card, classy!
Another option is to check the Internet.
Many sites have popped up where it is possible to hire a designer gown for a week at a fraction of the retail price. This is fabulous if you want to be on trend with the latest look. The following are three examples of the quality available (all from Sydney, Australia). I would Google designer dress hire in your area for similar web pages.
For a cocktail function you could also try these sites. Never underestimate the power of the LBD. A great jersey wrap little black dress is one of THE most versatile items any woman can own. Just add killer heels, gorgeous bag ( I would suggest one with a strap as you might be juggling bubbles, bags and canapés) and a bit of bling jewellery .
A great thing to do if you are wearing an old faithful is to get a blow-dry or professional make up on the day. If you look fab, you will feel extra confident. People will be so knocked out by your fantastic hair and face, they won’t be looking at the outfit!
The cocktail party can also be about glitz, so don’t be afraid to bring out sparkles( just remember we are not talking the bedazzler!). A knee length or shorter hemline works, as does a great pant suit. (See Fashion Elixir Working the Tux).
For any occasion, I love statement piece jewellery . An interesting neck piece, brooch or bracelet is always a conversation starter. This is an added bonus if you don’t know many others at the party. I guarantee someone will ask you about it. Instant chat!
If you feel uncomfortable with your choice you will be stuck with it all night.
A little extra make up for a special event is great, but you don’t want to look like you are wearing a mask(remember, always blend foundation down past the jawline). Too much make up will only make you look older, the exact opposite effect one is trying to achieve. As I mentioned with the men, all looks should start with good grooming. Clean hair and nails will always be noticed, just a gorgeous spritz of your favourite scent, well cared for shoes and handbag finish the look.
For all occasions I love a bit of vintage. If you are also a fan, it is usually a given you will be an original in the room. One piece is usually enough. Say a beautiful 50’s lamé clutch, a sweet beaded cardigan or a 60’s embroidered “wiggle” dress. I would usually just decide on one piece.
Few can carry off full vintage, without it looking to costumey. If you go down this road, you need to work it AND own it! It is a joy to own an item that you know is a one off, almost like a piece of affordable couture.
So ladies, I hope I have helped navigate these dress codes. There are always more dresses to address, but that is for another day!