How do you dress for a work-related black tie — on a budget? Whether you have a formal holiday office party coming up, or you’ve been invited to a charity black tie on behalf of work, you now probably have two primary questions: a) how to dress in a formal dress and still maintain a professional demeanor, and b) how to do it without breaking the bank. We’ve talked about what not to wear to a black-tie event for work before, as well as how to do black tie on a budget, but not for a while, so I thought we’d discuss. (We also recently did a style guide for the more low-key, weeknight holiday office party. Ladies, what are your best tips for doing black tie on a budget? Any amazing scores to share?
Here’s a fun question: what to wear to an holiday office party? We have six ideas below, all great whether it’s for your holiday company party, your SO’s office party, or some other holiday networking party. (We talked about holiday office party etiquette a few days ago!) As a general rule, pick two from the categories below and mix with regular workwear, unless you are 100% sure cocktail attire (or black tie!) is appropriate. A good clue: if the party is on a workday and all employees are invited (not just management types), take our suggestions here. As always, I suggest young businesswomen avoid showing cleavage, as well as what I’ll call “unexpected” skin (think cutout dresses, etc). Even bare arms may not be appropriate — know your office!) You should also be wary of anything requiring a special bra.
We’re shared some of our top picks for your holiday office party below. (Note that the pictures are clickable, and if you’re uncomfortable clicking a mystery link you can mouse over both the picture and the text link to see the destination.)
I’ve written before about my love of blow-outs (including how to make a blow-out last for multiple days!), but here’s what I don’t love about blow-outs: the Question. You know the one: “How do you want your hair blown out?”
“Um…. the normal way. With a brush and blowdryer and stuff.” (I say this because I once asked for a blowout and got a flat-iron instead because that was all they offered, and I was too crunched for time to go elsewhere.)
“Yes, but straight? Wavy? Glamorous?”
“Ummmm… straight, I guess.”
I always feel a bit dumb for not knowing the answer to this question, and I suppose if I started a Pinterest board, or ripped magazine pages out, I could go to the salon and confidently say, “Give me X.” But I somehow always forget that this is an issue until I’m in the seat.
So I was THRILLED when I heard about Sassoon’s new service: a blow and style menu that not only names popular styles and makes it easier to differentiate among them, it puts even more options right in my hands, right when I need them: when I’m at the salon.
When is the right time to wear pearls? We’ve talked about how to buy pearls, but Reader C sent in a super short email wondering when to wear them…
One of my favorite jewelry pieces is my strand of Mikimoto pearls that I got for my 30th birthday. They were an investment piece, and they get so much wear that I’m glad I did invest in a quality piece. That said, there are a ton of price ranges (and there’s nothing wrong with faux pearls) so there’s something for everyone. For my $.02, when to wear pearls depends on the kind of pearls we’re talking about: [Read more…]
Is it ok to wear a red gown to a professional black tie event? The event will be in the evening with dinner.
Hmmn. We’ve talked about what not to wear to a black tie event, how to do black tie on a budget, and whether cocktail dresses are appropriate for black tie events — but never what colors are appropriate. To be honest, my gut reaction here was “If you are the honoree or the hostess of the event, knock yourself out. Otherwise, step away from the red dress.” But after some Googling, it seems like a red dress is becoming more and more popular — even Tim Gunn says “absolutely” to bright colors at evening affairs.
Still, for my $.02, I would stick to dresses in muted colors for professional events — a dark plum or an emerald, or a navy — and leave brighter colors to details like your clutch, or your bag. [Read more…]
With Thanksgiving out of the way, it is officially holiday party season — which means that it’s time to perfect your desk-to-dinner shuffle, if you haven’t already. For me, separates have always been the way to go — that way you don’t have to change your entire wardrobe before you go out after work, and you only need to carry one or two additional pieces with you to the office. Maybe it’s just me, but separates always feel more “true” to me — more like a “dressed up, sparkly version of me” and less like “Kat’s pretending to be a glamorous jet-setting party-goer!” [Read more…]