Ask Our Style Techs | Dressing for a Formal Event

Alumni Event Look / Mom Style Lab

Q: I would like to know what’s fashionable to wear this fall season for a formal dinner at an alumni recognition event? Any specific colors I need to keep in mind? Suggestions for accessories would be great as well!
– Brintha G. 

A: Think classic and on the conservative side, but eye-catching. Of course, you can’t go wrong with a perfectly-fitted Little Black Dress. It’s both safe and wearable for many occasions. However, MSL recommends choosing a dress in one of fall’s gorgeous jewel tones, like emerald, ruby or deep purple. Pick your favorite color and whatever you feel is most flattering with your skin tone and hair color. If your date is wearing a suit, go for a cocktail-length dress and if they are wearing a tux, choose a floor-length gown. Make sure you choose a fabric that drapes well and skims any problem areas; heavier jerseys with a little bit of stretch generally do a good job. Your choices aren’t limited to this kind of fabric, but just something to keep in mind. Avoid anything that is too short (above mid-thigh), shows cleavage or is too fussy (too ruffled, too embellished, busy) – this is a more conservative crowd. An elegant, dress in a solid color will photograph better and in general be more flattering. It also provides a great backdrop for a gorgeous statement necklace or beautiful cuff, depending on your neckline and sleeve length. Some styles even have built-in jewelry, taking the guesswork out of styling. A versatile evening clutch that you will use over and over again is a good investment (and potentially a conversation piece) and metallic evening sandals are a great neutral. Don’t forget to give yourself time to visit your tailor to tweak the fit of your dress so it’s like a glove, invest in some Spanx to smooth panty lines, and make sure you have a great coat to make your entrance in your new fabulous ensemble.

Above: Dress, David Meister. Clutch, Barbara Bui. Cuff, Oscar de la Renta. Shoe, Michael Kors.




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