what-would-holley-wear-2It’s Holley’s turn today to share ideas for black tie and cocktail parties.  

Fun fact:  The term “tuxedo” originated in the U.S. in the late 1800’s.  It was named after Tuxedo Park, a New York enclave for New York’s social elite where it was often seen.

It’s that time of year…time to start planning for black tie and cocktail parties that is!  With the Jewel Charity Ball and other holiday parties soon approaching, it can start to feel overwhelming if you are part of that scene.

So, two things you need to know about me:

  1.  I love beautiful gowns and cocktail dress
  2. …and I always were separates, even to black tie and cocktail parties.

Chanel Jumpsuit

Though, before we talk about separates, let’s talk about a standout black tie and cocktail option.  If you want to be a show stopper, the main idea is not to look like everyone else.  Let’s “jump” right into this.  Instead of wearing a ball gown or cocktail dress, think about wearing a jumpsuit.  Jumpsuits are so in-style and can be very flattering. Keep it simple with one statement piece of jewelry, like a Chanel brooch or an amazing pair of earrings.  And baby if it’s cold outside, add a fur stole or jacket!


What’s on Holley’s Wish List

blue-clutchMy absolute favorite accessory for a black tie gala is an elegant evening bag.  I have discovered a wonderful selection of evening bags at Dillard’s. And guess what?  Evening bags are not just for black tie and cocktail parties. In fact, I’m pretty sure it’s a sin if you limit them to evening only. These beauties are too precious to hide in your closet and you can, and should, incorporate them with other casual pieces in your wardrobe.

pink-evening-bag-and-shoesEven better, sometimes interior designers will display them in armoires or on a coffee table. How clever is that?

A style star this season is velvet! If you dare, think about wearing an entire velvet pant suit in lieu of a ball gown.  I’m not kidding! With the perfect shoes, and evening bag, and jewelry, you will be the star of the party.  After the event, you will have two special pieces to wear to other parties.  The velvet jacket will look great with a pair of jeans for a party at home and the velvet pants paired with a glittery top gives you a cocktail party ensemble.


Velvet Pantsuit

black-skirt-and-white-blouseOkay, now for the big question…What would Holley wear to a black tie event?  She would wear separates of course!  One of the most classic go to evening looks is a beautiful floor length skirt (think Carolina Herrera and Ralph Lauren).  These designers typically pair their evening skirts with a classic white blouse.  Their price points can be expensive, so do what Holley would do. Wait for a big sale or scour the internet and stores to copy this look.  With time and patience, this can be done!

The most impressive way to make an entrance at a black tie gala is with a cape!  It can be attached or worn as a separate that’s draped over the shoulders and can be re-purposed to wear over a pantsuit or dress.


Lupita Nyongo

Remember Lupita Nyongo’s red Calvin Klein gown with the attached cape she wore to the 2013 Golden Globes?  That was the year she was nominated and won for her role in Twelve Years a Slave.  I had been stalking following her style looks before the first award show and she did not disappoint.   In fact, when she stepped onto the red carpet the night of the Globes, I’m pretty sure I screamed!  Her look totally took my breath away.

But isn’t that what a black tie style is all about?  It’s about making an entrance and, without question, it should be breathtaking!

Holley has updated the Pinterest style board for tons more ideas to get you “wow” ready for your next formal affair.  Compliments guaranteed.

Holley Williams is a personal stylist specializing in closet inventory, seasonal shopping, closet organization and wardrobe consultation.  Contact Holley at [email protected].