When I heard we were having a “black tie optional” party at the conference I attended a few weeks ago, I immediately went on high alert. Every time I was shopping at the mall or online, I was on the lookout for the perfect dress. I knew I found it when I saw this fringy sheath at J.Crew.
When an event is black tie optional, that basically speaks more to the men than the women. It basically means, wear a tuxedo if you have one, and if not, a dressy dark suit will do.
For women, you will see everything from cocktail dresses to ball gowns in attendance. It’s just a matter of personal preference which way you go. I decided there was more chance I’d get to wear shorter dress again, plus I just happened across this one and fell in love with it, so that was that!
I’m also pleased to be able to tell you that this dress just went on sale! It’s $118 at J.Crew right now, and it also comes in white, coral, and a fun citron yellow, so there are lots of options. It does run a little bit big. I have the size 6, but I usually wear an 8 in dresses.
The next question is, of course, how to accessorize. It depends largely on the type of event. Since I was attending a fashion blogging conference, I could have jazzed this up with colorful shoes or a stand-out bag, but I kept it classic and simple with nude strappy sandals and a black tassel clutch.
I already had this clutch in my closet; it was actually gifted by GiGi New York at this same conference last year, and I love it. It’s versatile and goes with so many things, and the leather is beautiful. There is also a removable strap, which is nice when you want to be hands-free.
My shoes were a splurge this spring. I’ve been wanting a pair of these sandals for years, and I kept watching and waiting for them to go on sale, but they never do. When I knew I was going to this conference and had an occasion to wear them, I sprung for them.
They were perfect for a fashion blogging conference, but I’ve also worn them with jeans for a date night and with a dress for church on Easter, so they’re definitely versatile.
If you like the style but not the price tag, several brands make a similar style for less. Steve Madden has the Stecy sandal and Sam Edelman has the Patti, and I’m sure there are others. I haven’t seen any that are as delicate as the Stuarts, but they all have a similar look that will go with a lot of outfits.
I went with a red lip for the event, and I kept wishing I’d found a red clutch to carry, or maybe some red earrings, but I ran out of time. I ended up accessorizing with a few pieces I already had — the Gala chandeliers and bracelet from Stella & Dot. Unfortunately they recently sold out. Another great option would be the Celine wrap bracelet and Etoile chandeliers.
I felt like this outfit was just a little bit on the safe side, especially for a fashion blogging conference, but it would be appropriate for most black tie optional events. Sometimes it’s okay to play it safe. I felt comfortable and confident (well, as comfortable as one can be in 4″ stilettos, lol!) and that’s the most important thing!
photo credit: Megan Weaver
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