It’s the time of year when more of my customers are shopping for evening wear. This is probably one of the trickiest types of clothing to shop for. I say that and I have been selling it for over 16 years! But when I go to a formal night where women are required to wear evening wear, I am so sad to see that a lot of them get it very wrong.
Often the long dresses are just too tight so you get the very unflattering builders back. Many are just the wrong shape and don’t flatter. And a lot are just not the right length – too long so they can hardly walk or too short so the hemline looks like it has had a fight with their feet. And I’ve been known to be restrained by my partner to not interfere when I see bra straps slipping down from under the dress shoulders. Even more annoying, labels sticking up out of the back!
And if you think I am going to say to look good, you have to spend a lot of money on evening wear, I’m not. To look wonderful for a black tie event doesn’t have to mean spending a fortune. Some of our bestselling evening dresses this season by City Goddess are well under £100 and we have a fabulous new range, Keikei, for under £150. If you don’t go to a lot of functions, it makes sense to be price-conscious. However, investing money in a classic dress that will never date can also be a shrewd move. Designers such as Dynasty use exquisite fabrics that hang beautifully. The beadwork on the dresses is also truly beautiful. These dresses are made to wear time and again and will never date. They are contemporary yet timeless in their style.
Evening wear – how to wear it well
The key to evening wear is getting the proportions right. It is all about your middle. Whether you are long in the body or short-waisted – any detail and the way the dress sits on this part of your body is key. Get it wrong and you can look wider. Get it right and you will look taller and slimmer. Empire line dresses look great on shorter waisted bodies but on longer bodies can look twee. If there is more to your middle than you wish, opt for an evening dress with ruching or gentle gathers. This will make it less clingy on your tummy area and help define your waistline.
If you are petite – the balance of your evening dress needs to be just right. Too much detail on the top and it will overpower. Too much detail on the bottom and the dress will wear you. Simple lines and a good cut is all you need to look amazing.
And evening dresses with sleeves do exist. Designers are finally listening to what women want. Now, you can choose some fabulous styles with lace or chiffon sleeves that cover your arms and don’t look frumpy.
Evening wear – bust and back basics
If you’ve got a great cleavage and like to show it, go for a V-shaped evening dress. If a dress has bust structure in it – use it. Wearing your own bra can make the dress sit wrong. If there is no in-built bust structure – be sure to invest in lingerie clips to keep your bra to your dress and the dress to the bra. You will find yourself free from fiddling with your straps all night.
If you prefer more cover up top, the high-necked evening dresses that are so in fashion now are perfect. Many also have beautiful beadwork on the collar which does away for the need for a necklace. Just finish the look with great earrings.
When it comes to backless or low back dresses, many of these come with bust support so you can go without a bra. Do remember to take your bra off a few hours before your event. Red lines across your back ruin the impact of beautiful low-backed evening dresses. If your back is not your best asset, there are some great evening dress styles now that have netted backs which are often beautifully embellished. This means you get the low-back glamour but without actually revealing your back.
Evening wear – colour choices
Black is of course a traditional choice for evening wear. But if you want to stand out – go for colour. Red looks amazing and is extremely flattering. It also photographs very well so is a perfect choice if you are at an important awards ceremony or business event.
Navy is a great alternative to black , in fact it is taking over as it is kinder to more skin tones. This season, charcoal greys and berry reds are also being introduced – two colours that look particularly amazing on grey-haired ladies.
Even in the depths of winter, light colours can work. Think Ice Maiden and go for aqua blues or shimmering silvers. Golds can give a vintage vibe to your look and look stunning against your partner’s black DJ. There are also rich and warm teals and peacock blues that look equally as good in winter as they do in summer.
One more thing! Just to please me, check you’ve got no labels sticking out the back of your dress. As much as I love any free advertising for my boutique, one rogue label can ruin hours of glamming up for your big event.