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.)
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…]
2015 Update: Check out our updated discussion on what to wear to the holiday office party!
Sure, we all know what basics professional women are supposed to have in their closets, but if you’re buying one for the first time or replacing one you’ve worn into the ground, it can be a pain to find exactly the right incarnation in stores. In “The Hunt,” we search the stores for a basic item that every woman should have.
I seem to recall that some readers were dubious about this the last time I posted that a festive blazer was a must-have, but I’m 100% serious here. Velvet is my fabric of choice — the matte fabric is more office-friendly than a metallic blazer, and — should sequins enter the picture, such as the tank I posted this weekend or one of the sequined miniskirts we’re seeing this season — velvet holds up much better than, say, lace. [Read more…]
How do you do black tie on a shoestring budget? Reader J wonders…
I am a law student who will be working at a firm over the summer. I am expected to attend a black tie event, but I don’t know what to wear nor how to find the dress without breaking the bank. I am also hoping to find a dress that is multi-purpose, so that it won’t gather dust in the closet until the next black tie affair comes along.
Congratulations — black tie events can be a lot of fun, and I don’t think we’ve covered them in quite a while (see my advice for what not to wear to a black-tie, as well as how to dress for a black-tie affair at the last minute). Here are my tips:
Are Louboutins appropriate for the office with those sexy red soles? Reader J wonders…
What do think about wearing Louboutins in the office? Is the red sole too sexy?? I have a pair of Simple 85s, which are not high at all. They’re conservative, black kid leather, round toe, surprisingly comfy, but they have this in-your-face scarlet sole. I’ll be working at a bank that has a reputation of being somewhat laidback, but I don’t want to make the wrong impression… Help please?
When I was a first year associate I was completely jealous of another first-year associate who had done some serious shopping during her bar trip — LV bags, Hermes scarves, and Louboutin shoes. She had a classic kitten heel Louboutin, with the trademark red sole. This was before Louboutins were quite as “big” as they are today, so the red sole really stood out, and I thought, looked fabulous. So for my $.02, yes, simple Louboutins are appropriate for the office. [Read more…]