Ask Belle: High School Reunion

Oct 18, 2012

Hi Belle–

What do you think is most appropriate for my ten year high school reunion? I feel like a black wrap dress is best. The campaign season has not been kind on my waist line, so I am really trying to focus on black or anything slimming!

What are your thoughts?

Thanks! Steph

I think we can do better than a basic black wrap dress. 

Most high school reunions bridge the gap between daytime attire and evening attire, so unless the invite specifically says cocktail attire, keep it on the refined end of daytime wear.  Instead look for a dress that will look sharp and stylish without looking like you’re trying to hard.  You want to give the impression that you just pulled this dress out of your closet and that you dress this well every day.

The first dress would be my alternative suggestion for a black wrap dress.  This printed jersey dress by French Connection ($128) with a belted waist is slimming and comfortable but not boring.  You could wear it with black tights and shoes like the photo or with a black flat boot for a more casual affair.

The second dress is by DAY Birger et Mikkelsen and is on sale at The Outnet for $96 (limited sizes).  This basic dress has a pleated waist band to help camouflage a bit if weight gain, and the split sleeve makes the dress far more interesting than a basic sheath.  Also, a split sleeve is a great way to add interest and sex appeal to a dress without showing much skin.

The third dress is a basic silk shift from Tibi ($375).  This dress looks great on a wide range of body types, and I love the bold color.  Pair it with a cool pair of high heels and a chunky bracelet or a long statement necklace to finish off the look.

Lastly, if you need to wear cocktail, I would choose something similar to this lace Milly dress.   No sequins, no satin, just an elegant dress with a bit of playfulness to it.  Want it in black?  If you’re a size 4, CUSP has it on sale for $219.

The best advice I can give you about dressing for a reunion, esp. if you haven’t seen these people in a decade, is to spend the time and money on your hair and makeup, not the outfit.  You can wear a basic dress that fits well, nice shoes and a decent clutch, and if the hair and makeup looks to die for, you’ll be ahead of the game. 

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  1. Anonymous says:

    For Steph:

    I'm not sure what your waistline looks like when you say the campaign season hasn't been kind. I'm going to assume that it's not something you want to show off and may even want a little help in hiding. I apologize if I am mis-reading your write-up. Of the options that Belle posted, I don't like 2 or 3 as an option. They will look somewhat bulky or baggy and no real shape definition, unless you belt it and I'm not sure you want to if the campaign season has been unkind to your waistline. Sometimes I think shapeless or boxy styles are unflattering, even on super skinny women. While I love the flirtiness of option 4, be careful of the horizontal stripes, which can make women look wider. I would try that one on to see how you look in it. There could be enough playfulness in the dress so the stripes wouldn't be a problem. I think option 1 is fantastic. Wrap dresses tend to be great for hiding a little excess around the waist and gives definition in a flattering way. There's a reason that DVF wrap-dresses flew off the shelves; that style is so flattering on many types of body shapes. Good luck!

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