#FashionFriday: A Formal Affair, Winter Wedding Inspiration

Wedding ready! Photo cred: Anita Ferrer

Wedding ready! Photo cred: Anita Ferrer

It often surprises my friends to learn this about me, but I have a secret Peter Pan complex. I’m terrified of “growing up” in the traditional sense of the word — job, spouse, baby, burbs. And though it’s nice to know that the cookie-cutter version of that narrative doesn’t have to be the model anymore, the pressures of fitting into that mold are still embedded into movies and TV, fodder for conversation at family gatherings, and splattered aggressively across Facebook feeds.

Thankfully, there are plenty of small milestones along the way to help us ease into young adult life. Tonight, I’m taking a new step along that journey. I’m attending a friend’s wedding. That may sound uneventful and silly, but it feels like a significant step to me. Sure, I’ve attended weddings before — aunts, uncles, cousins, even distant older family acquaintances — but never the happy union of two close friends. It’s a reminder that things really are moving forward. No matter how much I’d like to freeze these days of total freedom, those around me are in motion, full-steam ahead.

My (probably unnecessary) deep analysis of the situation aside, I also had a bigger problem to deal with leading up to this wedding — dressing for a black tie affair in the midst of winter’s frigid grasp. When I think of wedding-appropriate dresses, I imagine gorgeous flowing chiffon gowns and delicate silk cocktail dresses, neither of which feels particularly appropriate when it’s 20 degrees outside. But there are ways to keep it chic and sexy without looking wacky and out of season.

Stick to the Classic Color Palette

A really bright color in the middle of winter may seem like a novel and festive idea, but it’s inappropriate. During spring/summer the majority of lady guests will be sporting bright hues, but in the winter you’ll be seriously outnumbered, which draws attention to you and away from the lovely bride. If you don’t want to stick to standard winter colors like black, navy, or grey opt for a darker hue of a favorite color; a deep red, gorgeous burgundy, or forest green piece are super chic alternatives to their bright counterparts.

Experiment with Texture

I’m a big fan of mixing prints and textures, but that can be a little loud, especially if you’re attending a more traditional wedding. In the wintertime, I would lean more towards picking a dress with an interesting texture. As you can see from my photo, I decided to opt for a dress that is 100% beaded. In the spring or summer, it would feel way too heavy, but it’s perfect for winter and totally festive without being over the top. If heavy beading isn’t your thing, try a dress made of dark, intricate lace or crafted from an intriguing fabric — I’ve seen some beautiful plaid-patterned felt gowns that feel very modern yet maintain an aura of elegance, Michelle Obama totally pulled it off.

Ditch the Pumps

If you’re going to a stuffy, formal affair, this one may be a no-go. I personally hate pumps. I think they were sent by an evil force to destroy women’s ability to really get down on the dance floor, plus they’re super boring. Winter gives you the perfect opportunity to swap out your pumps for fabulous boots or sleek wedges. I don’t mean military boots and cork wedges. I’m talking about sexy Valentino rock stud booties and Theyskens’ Theory wedges (as seen in my photo!). They’re so much more unexpected than a standard stiletto, and much friendlier when it comes to navigating potentially dangerous, slippery winter streets.

Top it Off

What better excuse to bust out a statement coat or fur than a winter wedding? Or, better yet, what better excuse to buy one! Honestly, I would rather dig a dress out from the depths of my closet and put the money allowed for a new outfit towards a piece of ultra-luxurious outerwear. You’ll get way more use out of it going forward than you would from buying yet another dress, so at least some of the guilt associated with spending a small fortune will dissipate.

Perfect Your Pout

When all else fails, there’s nothing like a vampy dark lip to add drama during the winter months. Deep reds, purples, and browns may feel silly in the spring and summer season, but they’re gorgeous for winter months — especially when contrasted with a simple dress. I worship NARS and Christian Dior lip products and hardly ever use anything else. These colors would be splendid for any winter affair.

NARS lip pencil in 'Cruella'

NARS lip pencil in ‘Cruella’

Dior Addict Lipstick in 'Brown'

Dior Addict Lipstick in ‘Brown’

Rouge Dior Couture lipstick in Pied-De-Poule

Rouge Dior Couture lipstick in Pied-De-Poule

Fashion Friday: The First Date (You too, Dudes!) & Weekend Mini Mix

A couple of weeks ago, my girlfriends and I were talking about the simultaneous excitement and anxiety that accompanies the anticipation of a first date. Staring into her closet, Nicole contemplated outfit options as I sat on her bed eating pita chips supporting or vetoing the items. We couldn’t stop cracking each other up as we revisited tales of dating trial and tribulation, which got progressively more comical as the wine bottle diminished. She was hitting the town to meet up with a cutie and, as always, the question of “what do I wear?” was of utmost importance.

It was at this moment that I confessed the very point of this post to Nicole: I’ve worn the same outfit, with minor tweaks based on seasonality, on almost every single date I’ve had the honor or horror to attend. “You only need one!” I insisted, “It’s not like future suitors will be alerted.” She laughed at my explanation, but I stand by my philosophy! Either you’ll go out with someone again and change it up, or you’ll never hear from him/her again and the next guy/girl will have absolutely no way of knowing you’re in a first date uniform. Fact. So why drive yourself crazy planning or buying something new? Tried and true is always best.

There are many reasons I stand by this way of thinking. Primarily that it eliminates the stress associated with the question “what should I wear?” because you’ll know exactly what you’re going to sport and that you look amazing in it. But also because it eliminates the potential for Doing the Most. It’s a phrase you’ve probably heard thrown around a lot, but in this context it’s of extreme importance. Why? Because trying too hard (i.e. Doing the Most) is frowned upon on a first date. And if you don’t frown upon it, you may want to reconsider your point of view. Ideally, you want to convey a sense of  great personal style without the perception that it’s extensively crafted. Doing the Most propels an image of insecurity and overcompensation. Neither of which is attractive to a relative stranger. Refined simplicity will help you proudly present yourself to someone for the first time.

Whether you’re meeting the girl you met at your favorite bar last weekend or the guy who prompted you to “swipe right” and won you over with a clever pun, you want your clothes to convey who you are without becoming the focal point of your personality, because that’s what the art of conversation is for. Striking that balance can feel challenging, which is why I’m sharing my date uniform template as a great starting point for putting yours together.

Date Night: Women

                         
The beauty of this outfit is in its simplicity. From coffee dates to drinks to dinner, this ensemble is perfect for most first date occasions. You can’t go wrong with a sexy flowing blouse over a pair of jeans that fit just right. Give yourself a little height with a pair of booties, but try to stay away from an extreme stiletto heel unless you’re going somewhere upscale. Incorporate a statement piece like your favorite necklace, big earrings, or a fab scarf to inject your personal style into the look.  It’s effortlessly cool without sacrificing a fierce sense of style. Don’t forget to throw your favorite essentials into your bag — signature scent and lip color, mandatory!
Date Night: Gents
     
Men, there is no excuse for laziness! Especially since it’s so easy for you to look put together. Impress your date with a pair of perfectly-cut jeans like these from Rag & Bone. Don’t be afraid of a straight leg silhouette, they flatter your legs (and butt!) more than boot cut and look more dapper. There’s nothing more important than fit, so go the extra mile to find pants that are actually the correct size! Ditch sneakers or boat shoes for a pair of leather desert boots. Keep it simple up top with a button-down/sweater combo — but add some visual interest with a pattern, a plain sweater is a little too boring. Fun socks are always a plus in my book, so don’t be shy about adding a pop of color to the ensemble.

Got an exciting date planned for this weekend? Here’s a mini mix to rock out to: