The Floor Report: Black Tie Tips

Black tie party season is in full force in the district and my feeling is that if a man is going to be in a tux  – all handsome in his starched shirt, bow tie, braces, and shiny shoes – let’s not disappoint in mere cocktail attire. You gotta kick it up a notch – well, a few notches if you’re getting dressed with me! 

There are so many fabulous options right now and several that won’t break the bank but will be sure to make you look like a million bucks. 

I always wish to wear color for black tie events, but somehow I always tend to wear black  – mostly because color is more available in the spring and summer OR I take a look in the mirror while getting ready in a colorful dress and feel more like a bridesmaid than the belle of the ball.  My answer to this is to go for metallics.  Beaded texture can be a glam girl’s best friend and there’s no reason to shy away from these stunners.

Chloe & Reese Silk Faille Dress (Saks, $460)

The whole Mad Men phenomenon has swept the nation, and the nation’s capital.  This party dress plays right into that retro feel.  Modernize it with platforms and a patent belt or maybe a textured or colored shoe. So chic.  While the red is nice, I would choose the dress in midnight navy ($460, Ginger Boutique).  It gives it a slightly different richness than black, but still stays a step above cocktail attire. 
I would love to do the red calf hair clutch and shoes with a vampy nail color and long lashes – two of my favorite things in life. 
Jewel tones are always a bold move for fall/winter formality, but this dress from cult fave Alice+Olivia is interesting, balanced, and the magenta is even better from the back!  Pull this look into Spring with a metallic shoe and chandelier earring and you’ll wear this again and again and again. 

Eliza J Scallop Lace Dress (Nordstrom, $158)

Some ladies prefer to wear sleeves  – I have a friend who needs to wear them for religious reasons, another who has a huge scar that she prefers not to show, and some gals just feel the need to tone up and aren’t in the mood to bare arms.  So this option, though a bit conservative is a pretty, perfect, safe bet for any occasion. 

The Floor Report is written by Miss M, a local stylist and retail professionalShe also happens to be one of Belle’s BFFs and the most fashionable person who I know. 


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  1. Jen says:

    Although the color is beautiful, that magenta dress looks so cheap.

    November 30, -0001/Reply
  2. Jen says:

    Although the color is beautiful, that magenta dress looks so cheap.

    November 30, -0001/Reply
  3. Victoria says:

    Ok, so there's not much place in my life super-casual lifestyle for even the simplest party dress, so this question comes from a place of total ignorance: What makes something black tie? With the possible exception of the sequin dress, I would have called all of these cocktail dresses, not black tie. What's the difference?

    October 21, 2010/Reply
  4. Jen says:

    Although the color is beautiful, that magenta dress looks so cheap.

    October 22, 2010/Reply
  5. Kristen says:

    I really like that last dress. Really pretty.

    October 22, 2010/Reply