How to dress for formal winter events
Published on January 14th, 2014 | by Lauren M.G. Burt
An invite to attend a wedding or gala brings excitement. Formal events this week include the Variety Black Tie event Thursday and the Ballet Des Moines Black and White Masquerade Saturday. The Bravo gala event will be here soon, on Feb. 1. Important formal affairs promise a celebration with friends, the enjoyment of unique cuisine and spirits, and a heavy dose of socializing. For many, the most stressful part of attending such an event is the first step — determining what to wear for the big occasion.
Black Tie: This type of event is formal — always.
For women, a tea- or floor-length gown is best. Don’t embrace the word “black” as the mandatory color for the dress. While black is classic and always works, try deep reds, bold greens and royal blues and purples. Accessories should be dramatic but choose one statement piece; a bold necklace shouldn’t be paired with bold earrings and bold bracelets. Finish the look with a sleek evening bag like a compact clutch. Keep in mind that a black tie affair is not the place for tight, short or buxom looks. Strive for elegant and appropriate. For men, the black tie ensemble should be a classic tuxedo. A nice dark suit works, especially for younger men, but a tux is truly the best bet for a formal affair. Whether the tux is owned or rented, be sure it fits well and wear a real tie. A clip-on tie is a no-no.
Cocktail Attire: Appropriate for after 5 o’clock and is often considered “semi-formal.” Think of an elegant party dress with fun accessories. The quintessential LBD (little black dress) is a semi-formal staple. Women can also wear dressy separates in rich fabrics like brocade, velvet or sequins. Men should wear dark suits with thoughtful details like cufflinks and stylish shoes.
Winter Wedding: Check the invitation to decipher the type of attire, venue and the time of day. A good rule to know: Any event or wedding after 5 o’clock in the evening means more formal. Women can wear dark winter colors like mauve, navy and emerald. Outfits in winter white are not appropriate nor are vibrant summer colors like corals and neons. Men should stick with handsome suits. Only an afternoon wedding would call for a jacket and slacks.
For a special occasion — when in doubt — dress up. A tuxedo or gown is strictly black tie but when hesitant, put on a dress or throw on a jacket. Be sure to check the time, venue and requested attire. If an event calls for a costume, don’t be a bore and not dress accordingly. By accepting an invite to a theme or costume party, you must dress the part. Talk to friends who are also attending to see what they are wearing. Respect the special event by dressing properly and wear what makes you feel your very best to celebrate, socialize and dance the night away.