That witching hour will be on us tomorrow.  Yet at an event I went to this weekend, I was sure it had come early! So many women wearing black, I’d thought I’d walked into a Halloween party rather than a charity dinner. Black tie dresses don’t have to mean black. So why do women feel that black is the best option? For starters, a black dress can disappear against the black of their man’s dinner suit. It can also be a difficult colour to wear at this time of year. No tans (fake or real) to stop us from looking ghostly pale.

Black tie dresses – I know it is in the name, but can’t we use some imagination? Full marks to the recent Venus Awards which celebrates the best women in business. Their dress code this year for Dorset was ‘colourful and long’. It has been so rewarding to help find these ladies dresses in oranges, reds, blues and greens. to wear. Dresses as positive in colour as they are in their outlook.

Don’t get me wrong. There is always a place for gorgeous black dresses but the key is in the gorgeous. The black needs lifting with a stunning back or beautiful sequin detail on it somewhere.


Black tie dresses – don’t be scared, be stylish

Dressing for black tie isn’t easy. It’s not something many of us do that often (unless you are lucky enough to move in those film star circles!) It requires more thought about the overall look. Getting the proportions right are essential so you don’t end up with a dress that is wearing you rather than you wearing it.

When my customers  are in a panic about an event, my first piece of advise is to tell them to check the dress code. Black tie doesn’t have to mean black and it also doesn’t have to mean long. However, this can be a requirement in some cases.  On Saturday, I had a young woman rush in just before we closed. She had just read the small print on her invite for a function that night! It specified long and she was planning to wear a cocktail dress. I got her sorted with an evening dress with just one hour to go before her event.

Her other panic was, quite understandably, she didn’t want to spend a lot of money as she was only going to wear her dress a couple of times. We headed straight for our selection of evening dresses for under £100  and she went away very happy.

Invest in the dress

If you do move in circles where black tie events are a regular in your diary, it can pay long term to invest in one decent dress. Get the right style dress in the right colour and it will never date.

Even though I have a shop with over 400 dresses to choose from, I still have a trusty LBD, one of the first I got when I opened 15 years ago. It still fits if a little snugger (!) and it still makes me feel as amazing as the first time I wore it. That’s definitely a dress that has given me lots of wear and my money’s worth.