Wednesday, November 05, 2008

E is for EVENT WEAR. Now, most style books will tell you that an EVENING GOWN is an essential in every woman’s wardrobe. Well, I wish that were true of my wardrobe, but it simply does not fit the way I live. I would love to own a beautiful evening gown, but where would I wear it? The biggest gala in my town is the annual Christmas Tree Auction. Now, from what I understand, many of the men will wear tuxedos, but most of the women are wearing cocktail dresses. But maybe if I made a beautiful evening dress, I would purpose to find an event to wear it to!

But more realistic for my purposes is the EVENT outfit. We all have special events that come up in our lives where a regular day dress may pass, but really shouldn’t. Some of these events may include weddings, ceremonies, special parties, and holiday events. It seems that people like to dress up more for the holidays and add a little more sparkle. The time to make an event outfit is before you have an event on your calendar! You do not want to be rushing around looking for a special dress or trying to make something a week before your special event. It is best to have one or two pieces on hand, so that when the invitation comes, all you need to worry about is how you will accessorize it!

Let’s talk dresses first. When deciding on a pattern for your event dress, look through the patterns you’ve already made and see if there is one that is particularly flattering. If you have one, and it’s a style you think will work, use this as your basic pattern. The most versatile style will be one that skims the body and is not too baggy nor too tight. We do want to be able to eat at these special events! We will talk about the LBD (Little Black Dress) in a later post, but for this wardrobe essential, go for some color. This season jewel tones are really in, so pick one that flatters your overall complexion. You will want to choose a fabric that says “special” so look for things like silk, satin, crepe, shantung, chiffon, velvet, panne velvet, or lurex. Many special occassion fabrics are made of polyester. They are more difficult to work with than silk, but easier on the budget (in some cases) and can usually be washed. Some of the sequined fabrics are fun to work with , but it takes a little more experience. When the stores start putting out the Halloween fabrics, that is the time to find those glittery and glamorous pieces that are usually not available other times of the year.

There are some great knits out there with lurex threads running through or glitter or sequins. You can use a very simple pattern and a great fabric and have a one of a kind special dress in just a couple of hours!

You’re not a dress person you say? Well, picture something like this pants suit in an all ivory wool, a statement necklace, and metallic shoes. Add a lacy camisole or satin blouse underneath, and you’ll be set for almost any event.
Another quick and easy option for evening wear or a special event is to make a great top and pair it with a black skirt or black pants. Now the pants or skirt should be of nicer fabric and cut (no Docker’s style here please.) One year I got some great silver knit fabric from Textile Studio Patterns and made a simple tank top. I wore it with a black knit skirt, some great earrings and a necklace. It’s still one of my favorite holiday outfits! Nothing says special event more than satin in a bright color. Now, a hot pink satin dress may be just too much over the top, but a simple bright pink (or insert other color) blouse with a pair of wide legged black pants and heels would look fab. Again, the blouse can be either a simple style with a great fabric, or it can be a blouse with a lot of details. Either way, make sure it’s something you feel good in, because when you feel good, you look good.

Remember, if it is evening, or cool/cold outside, you will need some kind of appropriate wrap. Please do not wear your favorite down parka with that special event outfit! Evening wraps are great, and a satin shawl in a muted tone would be easy enough to make. If it’s going to be cold, you will want something warmer. One of the things on my list for the Endless Combinations contest is to make an evening coat. I’m using a a very plain coat pattern (FSG ) that I’ve made before, but making it out of a very special fabric. It is a black metallasse-looking fabric that has a silver thread running through it. It may not be warm enough, so I will underline it and put a heavy lining in it. Another great option is a vintage fur stole. This can be real or faux, but real fur is amazingly warm. I have my grandmother’s mink stole and although it only covers the top half of me, it is super toasty.

*And speaking of accessories, I must go back and add this to the A page:
Accessories are a must. You can make or break an outfit with the accessories. Now, I’m no expert on accessories, and I can’t affort to hire Rachel Zoe, so it’s the trial and error or “practice makes perfect” theories you want to put into effect here. Think of this, vibrant green satin blouse, black skirt, and clogs. Just doesn’t work, does it? Or how about that beautiful evening dress and a big black leather hobo purse? I think not. If you’re iffy on what’s “hot” as far as accessories go, check out any number of style magazines, and pay attention to jewelry, shoes, bags,


Myra said...

Nancy, another version of an evening shawl/cover could be knitted or crocheted out of some amazing yarn. (Sometimes, we need a break from sewing or something more portable to work on.) There are great patterns out there if you are so inclined, and many great metallic, textured or just plain cool yarns and fibers to work with. You could make a shawl, capelet, shrug. Just like sewing, the possibilities are endless.

Nancy Winningham said...

I totally agree! My mother was a fabulous knitter, but I didn't inherit the skill or the patience. I am learning crochet and would LOVE to find a good pattern (easy) for a crochet bolero style short sleeved shrug. I have a couple I've purchased and love them to death!

Summerset said...

Ah yes, evening gowns. My personal favorite, but living in Podunksville, NH, I have no opportunity to wear such fun stuff. I guess that's why I gravitate towards fancier clothes in my art garments - I might actually get to go down the runway in the piece one or twice! You are right though, a colored dress in the right color for the wearer can really make a big impact - such as you've shown with the beautiful picture of you in blue!

Claire S. said...

My events are few and far between, but it certainly wouldn't hurt to have something nicer to wear when they do come up. Your blue dress looks wonderful !