By: Sharon Mosley
With the holidays fast approaching, it’s time get down to some serious shopping — for cocktail attire, that is. Most of us know the sinking feeling of having an important party to attend and feeling like we have nothing to wear. But before the ice cubes start tinkling, you can head off the panic attacks and take some advice from a fashion pro — Nina Garcia. As the fashion director of Marie Claire magazine, a judge on the Project Runway series and author of Nina Garcia’s Look Book: “What to Wear for Every Occasion,” Garcia is an authority on what to wear on the party circuit.
“It’s a good thing I love a cocktail party,” she says. “In my business, I sometimes attend a cocktail party or two every night of the week. So believe me when I tell you that I have this down to a science. Cocktail parties are about elegant, show-stopping outfits that turn heads. Period, the end.”
Luxury fabrics and embellishments are key to getting glamorous, according to Garcia. “Ruffles, feathers, beading, or sequins are all welcome at a cocktail party — though, generally, not all on one dress,” says Garcia.
Here are Garcia’s tips from her Look Book on what to wear to your next soiree:
—A Cocktail Dress: Nothing beats the LBD (little black dress), admits Garcia. “It’s easy to accessorize, always slimming, total perfection. Black does not have to be boring; mixing textures or matte and shiny materials adds an interesting edge to your basic black.” Garcia suggests adding a patent leather belt or shoes, or a satin jacket over a crepe dress. “For a posh event, I wear something simple and elegant. A tailored silhouette with a skirt that hits just below the knee is becoming to almost every figure. Anything that falls more than an inch or two below the knee to just above the ankle is a tough length to pull off, unless the skirt is very, very fitted or you are Grace Jones. Believe me.”
When Garcia has a semiformal fashion industry event, she says she goes for “an edgier look: asymmetry, strong color and sophistication. Break out of your chromatic rut and try a gorgeous jewel tone or a rich, deep red or burnt orange.”
—Separates: These are the pieces I personally rely on for holiday festivities. Garcia suggests silky pants and a sequined tunic as an excellent alternative to the cocktail dress. “You can also wear sequined baggy peg leg trousers (very YSL), a silk jumpsuit, or sharp tuxedo pants.” If you’re in a tropical climate, even shorts can be dressed up with opaque tights and stilettos, she says. “Add a silk blouse, throw on a tuxedo jacket, and you’re ready for action.”
—Accessories: “A little black dress is the perfect backdrop for a statement piece,” she says. “Stunning drop earrings with an updo, an ornate cuff, or bangles to show off a toned arm.” However she urges caution: “Always make sure your jewelry isn’t taking over you or your ensemble and keep everything in proportion to your frame. Balance is key in dressing and in life.”
—The Wrap: Garcia suggests wearing a sequin-encrusted number that will “encase you in a cloud of sparkle.” For colder weather, she likes sumptuous velvet wraps or a faux fur chubby, stole, bolero or vest.
—Party shoes: Go for strappy heels. “Metallics add glam to a simple dress,” she says. Booties are another modern and chic way to accessorize cocktail attire, “especially with pretty lace or pattern stockings to add a little texture and whimsy.”
—Handbag: A clutch or small bag is another accessory that can make a party outfit come alive. “A vintage bag is always a lovely accent piece,” says Garcia. “Other alternatives are a clutch bag of soft material like leather, satin, or mesh; a box clutch, which is harder and usually geometric; or a jeweled minaudiere.” And no, your bag does not have to match your shoes. “Choose a bag that complements your ensemble,” she says. “For instance, if you’re wearing black with a patterned or brightly colored shoe, go for something like a black beaded clutch with a detail or trim that picks up a color from the shoe.”
COPYRIGHT 2012 CREATORS.COM