#FashionFriday: New Year’s Eve Dresses at Every Price Point

Photo Credit: Margaret Murphy

Photo Credit: Margaret Murphy

New Year’s Eve — An evening wrapped in a singular sense of magic and excitement conjured from the depths of our sentimental souls. I think even the most cynical of people can understand the impulse to romanticize this particular night. It offers the potential for a new beginning, a promise that things can and will be different if you make a cognizant decision for it to be so. It’s hardly a concrete turning point, yet it’s become an unofficial bench mark of accomplishments and failures within the various chapters of our lives.

My 2014 chapter was, not surprisingly, filled with a series of joyful highs and frustrating lows. I danced until 5 a.m. at U Street Music Hall with the greatest people I know, had my heart broken for the second time, took a life-changing trip to Iceland where I explored untouched nature, abruptly lost my job, found an exciting new job, and experienced so many small successes and setbacks in between.

Like most people, no matter how hard I’ve tried to avoid thinking back on the past year, I couldn’t help myself. I found myself watching every video I took at Ultra Music Festival, recalling the important conversations that pushed me to stand up for myself, and reliving every moment I spent laughing with Anita in our couch cloud. That was when I realized that no matter how many crappy things happened, these were still another amazing 12 months in my life. And now, with a little less than a week left in the year – and the joyful madness of Christmas behind me – I too have inevitably turned my attention to New Year’s Eve.

I may not have a 2015 resolution in mind yet, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t given extensive thought to what I’ll be wearing! After all, there’s nothing more fun than dressing for a festive occasion and New Year’s Eve is the perfect excuse to buy a feisty little party dress. In my case it will likely be another perfectly-cut pair of black skinny pants. But if I’m itching for a different look, there’s a white tuxedo dress on Nasty Gal (see under $200 section) beckoning me to hit purchase.

The best New Year’s Eve dresses aren’t necessarily the most ornate or risqué, though if that’s your shtick, this is the perfect occasion to own your style. Some people like to break the bank and purchase something totally unique, others prefer to remain frugal and buy an outfit that can be worn again with ease. Personally, I think there’s a balance of wow factor and usefulness that can be achieved without spending a small fortune. Yes, some of the dresses I’ve chosen are a little over the top, but none of them are so inaccessible that they would just sit in your closet for years to come.

So, whether you’ve had the best year of your life – or eagerly await the arrival of what will hopefully be a much happier one – embrace the opportunity to add a fabulous new piece to your closet. Though it’s frequently argued that New Year’s Eve is just another night, who cares? Take advantage of the night’s excitement to buy something that makes you smile. If you need a little inspiration, these looks will carry you from chic house parties to wild club outings in style.

 

 

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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:

Fashion Friday: How to Look Chic at an EDM Show

The transformative nature of music has always had a unique effect on the fashion it yields. From the dirty grunge of rock and roll to the flirty silhouettes of American pop, the music we listen to inevitably affects the way we dress – even if only for one night at an amazing show. As my girls and I gear up to see Dillon Francis tonight, I started thinking about the expressive nature of the EDM culture. Wild outfits planned weeks in advance, neon-colored furry boots, and bold makeup are just a few examples of the sights to behold at these events. But as I inch closer to my mid-twenties, more closely defining my own sense of personal style, I can no longer imagine myself running around a venue in neon spandex and feeling okay about it.

So, what’s a girl to do? Is there a way to look eclectic and fabulous at one of these shows without looking like an old fart that doesn’t belong? Oh yes, there are plenty. You can feel confident, comfortable, and chic as you dance the night away under those strobe lights and lasers. It’s not surprising that most of these compilations are black (or some variation of black) but you really can’t go wrong with a streamlined, modern look. Even at an EDM concert. Here are a few looks so that you can rave for your age:

1) I love the contrast of a sleek crop top and sporty track pants. Full disclosure, I am obsessed with these bottoms, they give the outfit a little boost of kitsch that’s so appropriate for a rave. Paired with a pair of colorful wedge dunks, this look is basically perfect.

2) Layering a sheer top over a simple bra immediately elevates the sophistication of your look. Over a pair of faux-leather shorts you’ll look super sleek. Add a gold chain for a fun effect and boom – you’re ready to take on the night.

3) This one is a bit cheeky (quite literally). The sequined booty shorts are definitely only for those brave enough to bare their bottom. The contrast of textures with a cropped flannel shirt adds a fun element that really stands out in its originality. Personally, I’d pair this with thigh-high leather boots, but it would look just as adorable with a pair of white converse.

4) You can’t go wrong with denim, so why not choose a pair of unique jeans to rock for the night? These are a high-waist, ankle-length, distressed pair that add visual interest to the look. Pair ‘em with a sculptural crop, short silver chain, and leather cap for an updated take on schoolyard cool.

5) Okay, okay. I know that not everyone is on board with overalls. But I love these. Wear a lace bra underneath for a sexier take on this American staple and incorporate a gold choker for even more sex appeal.