I received the following email from a reader the other day, and thought I would do her one better and turn her question over to my dear friend Billy, who knows how to accessorize like no other. Appropriately, I am boarding a plane later this morning to attend his splashy birthday bash in Dallas this weekend. More on that after the weekend, but first I give you…
FROM BRIDESMAID TO BLACK TIE, BY BILLY FONG
Help, I must attend a function in June for an old friend who is demanding black tie. It’s at the Beverly Hills Hotel, so I guess that seems appropriate, but I am just not a pomp-and-circumstance kind o’ gal. Also, I am feeling the pinch of the recession more than most and must work with what I have in the closet. What do you think of this orange frock? It was actually my bridesmaid dress for my sister’s wedding. Can I finally wear it again and make it work as black-tie appropriate?
Awaiting your reply,
Don’t be distressed. There are oh, so many ways you can take this dress. Perhaps not for this evening, but you could even make this an edgier look by putting a sheer black boat neck shirt underneath and paired with rocker accessories and black high-heeled boots. Since it sounds like you have to make this black-tie event with little investment, here are a few options at various price points, from high to low:
$1,000: Since it may be a little chilly outside of the Beverly Hills Hotel in June you may need some sort of wrap. I would go with a black tuxedo jacket. It needs to be tailored within one inch of your life so that you don’t look boxy (weddings are always a perfect place to meet your own husband). I like this Moschino version ($695) which would have life even as a weekend drinks with girlfriends outfit paired with jeans.
A Kate Spade Dragonfly statement necklace ($275) would complete the look and you could get away with a simple pair of black heels you probably already have in your closet.
$250 – Any girl will instantly feel like a million bucks when she slips on new shoes. Find something that stops traffic and makes your legs look amazing. Since you are wearing a cocktail length-dress, your shoes will be noticed. These Glam Nights Pumps ($59 at Macy’s) may look incredibly uncomfortable, but talk about vamp’ing it up for the evening:
Find a wonderful long and dramatic wrap and have a statement bracelet (the wrap will be enough around your neckline). This silk chiffon wrap is $98:
I like this simple cuff style bracelet ($25 at Banana Republic):
$100 – Go with the summer black-tie garden concept and throw an embellished cardigan over the dress. Lots of things on sale now and discount stores, but here is something to get you started. Find a saucy little clutch with lots of sparkle and shimmer and instantly you look more evening appropriate. I like this gold one, $58, that could do with lots of black, perhaps amethyst jewelry):
Of course, you could just scrap the dress altogether and get a chic tuxedo. This version has a built in shirt that you would wear unbuttoned as far as you want to get noticed.
Well, hopefully this will give you some inspiration to begin shopping. Remember, it’s an adventure, so don’t get stressed. Stay hydrated, hit lots of vintage stores and discount outlets and you will have numerous options. XXX Billy