Tips for a formal or black-tie summer event

Posted on: 21 May 2018 by Gareth Hargreaves

Helen Venables has tips to help you avoid formal dress faux paz this summer wedding season.

formal dress

The wedding of Prince Harry to Meghan Markle broke the mould as far as royal nuptials go and has been praised as an inclusive celebration of culture and diversity. It was an event that was fun, open and inclusive but strip away the bouquets and bunting and it was still a pretty formal affair for those who attended. 

For many this formality would bring on palpitations regarding what to wear and how to wear it. Luckily, Helen Venables of House of Colour has some tips to rescue you from the cardinal sins of formal dress.    

  1. Consider the venue in which the event is being held. Although you should always wear clothes that work well with your skin tone, also make sure you have considered your setting. If the event is being held outside, shoes with heels that don’t sink into the ground are a good plan.
  1. Consider the weather that day. Have you ever noticed how much your mood and therefore choice of clothes is affected by the weather? But your mood can be completely uplifted by wearing a wow colour from your palette and if your style benefits from pattern or texture then introduce this into your outfit as well make sure you are feeling your very best despite the damp conditions.
  1. If you are wearing predominantly neutral colours, try adding a pop of one of your wow colours to your summer event outfit. It is amazing how a colourful shawl, hat, shoes, necklace or bag can make your whole outfit come alive! To add interest, think about using gorgeous different textures or patterns, depending on your personal style as well.
  1. Use accessories to stand out with style. Your skin tone determines whether you should wear cool white metal or warm yellow metal jewellery. Mixing fresh dynamic colours with stunning jewellery designs can redefine an otherwise simple but chic outfit.
  1. Wear shoes that you find comfortable and never wear them for the first time to an event where you might be standing around for hours. It is rare that we choose to wear flats to a black tie or formal dress event but make sure you wear a heel that is comfortable and that suits your style personality whether that is wedges, block heels, stilettos, courts or platforms!
  1. Choose a bag that not only works with your outfit and your personal scale but is also a size that can hold all your necessities in case you wish to touch up your make up.
  1. If you wish to wear a big hat to your event, make sure that it is not too large for your personal style. Hats need to be balanced out with your outfit, personality and body shape.
  1. Make sure the outfit you wear displays your best assets and is tailored to your natural body shape. Trying to hide parts of your body that you do not like by swamping is never a good look, nor are overly tight dresses or trousers. This is an important time to really enjoy looking your very best!

black tie event

... and for the men

  1. Consider the formality of the occasion. Choose something well made, with a definitive, tailored cut that suits you.
  1. The quality of the shirt is important as is the colour. Knowing your colour palette will define whether you are best in bright white, cream, or variations on ivory or a beige tone.
  1. Pick your trouser style and length carefully! Find out what suits you when it comes to choosing between a skinnier or straight legged trousers, and single, double or no pleats.
  1. It’s the little things that count. Make sure that your outfit is perfect down to the last fine detail. Items such as ties, cravats and cufflinks are always noticed and it’s an easy way to show a pop of colour or style creativity.

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