Hi ladies! I’m back with a new edition of DC Style Watch. Thank you SO much for all of your feedback last week – let’s see what you think about today’s topic involving those obscure “Black-Tie Optional” invites and your Little Black Dress (also known as your “LBD”).
So, I recently received tickets to attend two events associated with a convention in DC. The first labeled “Salute to Military, Reception & Ball” is at 6pm on a Wednesday night at the W.E. Washington Convention Center. The second, called “Salute to Sports & Entertainment,” is on a Friday night at 7pm, also at the Convention Center.
I looked at the tickets and began to do a mental inventory of my closet to try to decide what to wear. The first event included the word “Ball” in the title, which made me think it was time for me to resuscitate the fabulous Carolina Herrera floor length gown (with a sweep train) that I purchased for a steal from the Off 5th outlet. However, a little voice in the back of my mind was whispering to me that that might be doing too much.
The second event had the word “Ball” conspicuously absent from the title. Since it was being put on by the same convention organizers, that made me think that a semi-formal cocktail dress was in order, although… it was a Friday night event that began even later than the first, so I wasn’t quite sure.
All of the pondering reminded me of a question I received on my Facebook page a couple of months ago. It said, “Hi Coretta! Girl, I need some Gala vs. Black-Tie Optional Advice.”
In response, I discussed with my friend how sometimes the term “Gala” really doesn’t mean “Gala” and “Black-Tie optional” doesn’t always mean break out the ball gown. People are a little loose with their terminology these days and you can end up showing up to someone’s “Gala” in your ball gown, while everyone else is in club gear or in even more informal church clothes.
Maybe it’s the attorney in me, but I’m constantly reading into the context clues like the modus operandi of the host, style of invitation, time of day of the event and the location. I told my friend that she should be good with either a cocktail dress or ball gown at a gala or black-tie optional event, but then I solicited the thoughts of some of my other fabulous friends.
Markette (you may have heard of her, lol) said, “You are absolutely right! I’ve been to many a “Church Gala” and it’s not the same thing as a major company or organization hosting a gala. What I like to do is search for pictures from the previous year’s event to get an idea of what people wore. If it’s the first year, then call up the hostess and ask. I’ve done that, too. Hope this helps!”
My uber stylish DC attorney friend Christine also chimed in: “This is when having a classic black sheath dress comes in handy. You just can’t go wrong! You will never be overdressed or underdressed. Just add fabulous accessories, a simple black clutch purse and black high (and I do mean HIGH) heel shoes (maybe peep toe in the summer months – pedi please! lol) If hair is long – pull it into a bun. If hair is short, just make sure it’s off the face. You’ll look classy, elegant, and dressed to impress for sure! :-)”
In keeping with all of this good advice, I present you with some ways to mix up your accessories with your LBD with help from my Stella & Dot Eboutique:
And, don’t forget that you don’t always have to go for black. Another way to “mix it up” is to try a different color.
What about a little red dress?
Or, a little white dress?
And, if you’re looking for some stylish and affordable high heels, check out the Shoe Dazzle link on the right side of this page or look no further than the image below.
Which style option is yours? Do you like more than one? Leave me a comment with your two cents below.
Isn’t the beauty of the LBD (or LRD or LWD), that you can dress it up or down with accessories, like the ones from Stella & Dot? I love that! You can even make changes to your outfit on the spot if you arrive at the event and it turns out that your dress code thoughts were not the same as the hosts.
Your mission: inventory your closet and see how you can mix up your LBD before your next event. I bet you can make it look like an entirely new dress simply with your accessories. We’ll be watching (with compliments)!
Your jewelry girl,
Coretta, Independent Stylist for Stella & Dot