Fashion Friday: Company Banquet

Kellyn asks: We have a company function in May, our annual sales banquet. I don’t know if I am going for sure or not yet (somewhat fruitless since the support staff doesn’t make incentives) but if we decide to go I am at a loss as to what to wear. The “dress code” is Business Attire – black tie/cocktail dress optional. Does that mean I wear my khaki pants? Don’t think so, since EVERYONE talks about outfits for weeks afterwards. Help!

I say: Please, please, PLEASE do not wear khaki pants!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Okay, I know you wouldn’t dream of it.  I would probably go out and look for a cute dress knee-length dress or a dressy blouse and pencil skirt — something dressier than what I’d wear to church, but nothing too formal.  Without knowing your style and body type, or the weather where you are, here are a few options I think are cute.

Would this be too dressy?


You can’t go wrong with something like this or this.  And LOOK at those prices!  (Those are from Sears unfortunately I was unable to grab the photos.)

This would be totally chic.


Or something like it.  Because I’d have to mortgage my house to afford that.  I know that you can often find good deals on special occasion dresses at Marshalls or TJMaxx.

Then there is the blouse and skirt or pant option.  Perhaps a top like this with dressy black slacks.  And I’d trade the scarf for some bling.  See the link to the shirt for a photo of it without the scarf.


White House Black Market has a ton of pretty tops that would look great with dressy slacks, depending on your style and taste.  Like this and this and this!  And there are a plethora of items on sale right now.

If you want to be the star of the show, pick a bold color.  But if you’re more like me, and you prefer to keep it understated and, okay, SAFE, then black & white is always a good option.

What do YOU say? Come on, faithful Fashion Friday friends.  What should Kellyn wear to look smashing at her annual sales banquet?

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11 thoughts on “Fashion Friday: Company Banquet

  1. Yeah, the reason I selected the more casual options is because it said “Business Attire” and then added the “black tie/cocktail dress optional.” I expect she’ll see a little bit of everything.

    And actually, I respectfully disagree with the idea that pants are never appropriate for a cocktail party. There are some very dressy pant options. I’ve worn them many times to my husband’s office Christmas parties and they are perfectly appropriate, even though there are women there in floor-length gowns. They are few and far between. I’m sure it depends on the particular office, though, so it would probably be a good idea to ask around.

  2. hmmm, if it says cocktail attire, I wouldn’t even CONSIDER pants. AT ALL. Generally speaking if they say cocktail they mean a dress, like the ones you’ve picked here, they were super-cute.
    I’d say to go with something more along the lines of the blue one. The orange one is adorable, but not necessarily cocktail attire.

  3. I love the blue dress, and the orange one is nice too. I think you’re right on as far as what to wear. I can also imagine pulling a basic black pencil skirt from your closet with a sparkly or satin top to give it extra-special pop. I think the key to dressing up something already in her closet is using fun accessories that sparkle. 🙂

  4. April – absolutely. That’s probably what I would do, either with pants or a skirt. But then, I don’t usually have much luck with dresses.

  5. Marshalls and TJ Maxx both have some really, really cute dresses right now. I got a BCBG dress last week for $39!

    Even though the banquet is in May, I would wear something covering my shoulders – even if it’s with a wrap or chic little sweater. Maybe where I work is a little more conservative but bare shoulders would make me a bit uncomfortable.

    I like the idea of a pencil skirt and a trendy top – especially if it’s a top with a “wow” factor.

  6. Megan, yes, ITA that a shoulder cover is always appropriate. I guess I consider that a given, but it always bears mentioning.

    And now that we know Kellyn is in Minnesota, my lands yes! A wrap! 🙂

    Actually, I think, from Kellyn’s recent input here in the comments, that I would try to find something similar to the shirt from the White House | Black Market — something with sleeves. I never like to be cold.

    Kellyn – good idea to get a top to go with your pencil skirt. Sears is having a fabulous sale right now, so poke around in there. DEFINITELY let us know what you decide!

  7. YES! I love the BR outlet. And the BR store. Things are SHORT this year though. But that’s a great place to check out.

  8. I wouldn’t wear my knaki’s…promise!

    We are in Minnesota, last year we had snow at the banquet…the first week in May. Shoulder coverage is a must, or at least a fabulous jacket to cover up with.

    I love the blue dress, but that might be a bit higher end than most would wear. I do love the black dress from Sears. I have a pencil skirt, and will now hunt for a top too.

    Thanks for the wonderful help! You are all such a wonderful help!

  9. I wouldn’t wear pants. I LOVE the orange dress, but I may do something slightly dressier. In my opinion, the first option is perfect.

    I recently needed a dressy, but not too dressy dress for a banquet and I found a great deal on a silk dress at a Banana Republic outlet. Paired with metallic heels, it worked perfectly.


  10. Okay, I LOVE the blue dress. But I live in Idaho. I’d never have a place to wear it. Things are ultra-casual here. No matter where you go you are bound to see someone in jeans.

    I love the halter and paisley tops from White House Black Market. But I would probably put them with a black skirt with a little more volume just ’cause I thin they’re dressier. And I wouldn’t wear pants, just because I like any excuse to dress up!

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