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Help with first black tie event

MakingTheGrade

Super_Ideal_Rock
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So I've never gone to a formal black tie event before, just black tie options weddings where most in attendance wore cocktail dresses.
This is an army military ball and I've been told they take their formal pretty seriously lol.

I got a floor length black dress. Would a cross body bag like the one below be too casual? I actually don't own any clutches...

Also would it be weird for me to wear my watch? It's a stainless steel band in an automatic. I've been told I can't wear my Fitbit lol. But I feel odd not having a way to quickly check the time!

Should I try to match my lipstick to my nails? I almost never do my nails or wear lipstick lol.

Help! I haven't learned to adult at this level! Sigh. I'm 30 and this is the first time I'm getting my hair professionally styled, the nice woman trying to help me make my appointment probably thought I was an idiot because I needed so much help with answering simple question.

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Gypsy

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You can get an inexpensive clutch. I wouldn't wear the cross body bag.

Do you have heels for the dress?

Makeup- wear what looks good on you. Don't match to nails. Nails and toes can match but don't have to.

Wear your watch if you want.



The dress looks beautiful on you.
 

Alex T

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How exciting! And the long black dress is absolutely PERFECT.

I would buy a little clutch though, as a cross body can quickly unravel your sophistication. Sheer tights, heeled shoes, a small clutch (pop your phone in there for time checking, or wear your watch if you want) & possibly with that dress, due to the embellished neckline, I would wear my hair up & have long dangling earrings.

I have been to several black tie events over the years & always find simple, classic glamour far more appealing than an over the top look. I see women at these events dressed up to the eyeballs, wearing every piece of jewellery they own & harsh makeup more suitable for a hen do. People are looking at them for the wrong reasons, sadly.

If I were you & that was my dress, I would go for an embellished black or silver clutch, black glass earrings & a sexy shoe, perhaps a pointy toe sling back with a high stiletto heel in either silver or black patent? Ideally, the bag should match the shoes. I never match lips & nails though, but that's just my preference. I usually wear a strong nail colour & a nude but very glossy, shiny lip.

I hope I have been some help!
 

PierreBear

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Hey lady! Beautiful dress! I personally don't own a clutch because even if I can find an inexpensive on that I like, I can't seem to justify using it for just certain occasions. I just plan to leave a purse in my car if I really need something or have DH carry something small for me. I've asked around and from what I've learned, for a formal event, you are probably wearing a delicate dress or something that shows off the shoulders and the intent isn't to distract from that and have the focus be on your purse so that's why people are drawn to a clutch. However, I find that at most events, unless you are worried about your purse getting stolen, you tend to just leave it at your designated seat. So most of the time, people aren't seeing your outfit + the purse, perhaps only when you come in and when you are leaving.

If you don't want to buy a clutch or can't borrow from a friend, I think the type of cross body you picked out is elegant because of the gold chain. Have fun and wear what makes you comfortable as nothing is more sexy or appealing that feeling and looking confident!!!!

Edit - I wouldn't wear a watch. You can always use your phone to check the time or just ask a gentleman for the time. Perhaps bangles or something to go with your dress? No fit bit, leave that for a workout. : ) I don't think your make up needs to match your nails. Yay! What a fun evening out!
 

telephone89

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I'm going to disagree slightly with PPs - I think you can wear that bag, as long as you don't wear it as cross body. Wear it 1 shoulder.

Clutches are more standard, but I'd rather use a NICE (key word) bag like yours, than a duddy clutch. Also, from a practicality perspective, if you aren't used to holding a clutch, and a drink, and shaking hands, not falling down in heels, holding your husbands arm, etc etc etc, it's nice to take 1 thing from the equation. Again, as long as the bag is nice I think it's acceptable.

The dress looks lovely! I wouldn't bother matching lipstick and nails (is that a thing?!), just as long as theyre both nice.
I think a nice watch is okay, but I'd lean toward a dressy watch or no watch. You'll have your phone too.
 

Scandinavian

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Lots of good advice! I would just like to add: If you are not that used to wearing a lot of make-up, keep it simple! Nice and polished, not a red smear all over your man and your drink ;))

The dress is beautiful and you have very nice hair, so put a few curls in it and wear it up in a relaxed 'do :)

High stiletto heels are a girl's best friend for some added elegance - but remember that you have to be able to walk in them.. so if you go for something higher than you are used to - remember to practice a bit so you know they won't hurt your feet too much.

And have fun!! Smile and that is all anyone can see!
 

azstonie

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Beautiful dress, looks fab on you. There is a school of thought that matchy-matchy of everything on you (lips, nails, etc) is too too :lol: :roll:

Wearing the ring that is your avatar? Way to go!!
 

dk168

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My 2p.

Your dress is definitely suitable for a formal black tie event.

I would add some heels as the hem of the dress should not be touching the floor.

No to cross-body type bag or shoulder bag. I would definitely carry a clutch, if required, one with a short chain or wrist strap if freeing up the hand is required.

IMHO, nowadays, it is anything goes when it comes to lipstick and nail polish.

I have a couple of dress watches that I could wear with formal evening wear. However, I normally take my phone with me in my clutch, therefore, I have a way to check the time.

I love dressing up for formal events, got clothes from cocktail dresses/separates to full length ballgowns; blings and accessories. Just need to find the occasions!!! :naughty:

I have organised 2 night-outs in December, and decided the dress code to be "Smart Dress", and shall wear cocktail dresses/separates and show my pins. I shall strap myself into a corset to give myself a bit more shape.

It will be full war-paint job in terms of make-up. I usually do not wear any make-up, and shall make a bit more effort instead of just lippy and mascara. Full war-paint excluding nails will take me at least 1.5h! Nails will be done the night before.

As I said, I LOVE dolling up from time to time.

Enjoy the event OP - you will love it I am sure.

DK :))
 

dk168

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More of my 2p, based on personal preferences etc. etc...

The uppermost part of the dress is bejewelled, and I would avoid wearing any necklace or pendant so as not to compete with the dress.

I would bling up on the earrings instead.

If I were slender with long hair like the OP, I would wear sparkly dangling earrings with my hair up (as in an updo), and wear something blingy in the hair too (a tiara is probably a bit OTT for a black tie event IMHO).

As already mentioned, personal preferences, etc. etc...

DK :))
 

MakingTheGrade

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I'm wearing some very nice heeled suede boots because do to recent knee injury I still can't comfortably wear sandal type heels. I also wear a size 4 shoe so formal shoes are hard in general to find.
I actually don't have my ears pierced.

Thanks so much for all the advice!
 

MakingTheGrade

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Haha also I've never had an updo and am worried I will fuss with it too much. :/

The dress is currently getting hemmed.
 

MakingTheGrade

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Sigh. My aunt got me this expensive Chanel cross body bag. I have literally never used it because I never use purses in my day to day.
I thought maybe I finally had a reason! Haha. Guess not..
Would it be weird to not being any clutch or purse at all? I'm pretty minimalist with make up. And it'd probably never occur to me to touch it up at the event anyways...
 

distracts

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MakingTheGrade|1479327054|4099387 said:
This is an army military ball and I've been told they take their formal pretty seriously lol.
omg yes they do. I went to one with a friend once and he just said "idk, just wear a dress" and I didn't realize how formal that meant and wore a knee-length cocktail dress and was definitely underdressed for the occasion. I was the only woman in a knee-length dress.

I think that purse would be fine since you'll probably be leaving it at your seat most of the night. Just don't actually cross it across your body! The dress looks great.

My favorite part of the military ball is when the guys whose dress uniforms have the buttons on the back of the coat forget to sweep that part out from under their butt when they sit down and so sit down on these big buttons and then leap back up.
 

azstonie

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MTG, I think your bag over one shoulder would be fine. I have not seen this bag IRL but could you tuck the strap into the purse itself or would that even work?

I think these formals are fun, I bet you'll have a great time.
 

MakingTheGrade

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Sadly the chain is too bulky to tuck into the bag. I could cut it off but I'd feel bad defacing such an expensive bag!
 

baby monster

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IMO, you'll be fine wearing a Chanel small bag to a black-tie event. You'll most likely get looks for wearing boots so will need to explain your injury. I would wear a blingy bracelet intead of a watch. Who needs to check time when you're at a ball? :dance:
 

MakingTheGrade

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Haha. These boots are honestly the nicest shoes I own. I have one pair of strappy heels that don't actually fit cause I wear a size 4 and they are a 5 so there's a gap in the back that looks silly...

Also I'm 5'4 and 140lbs and my feet are absurdly small for my frame and wearing heels often just makes it look that much weirder. Like I have giant hulk calves compared to my tiny feet. :/

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MakingTheGrade

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Here's a visual aid lol
Yeah. I like boots because they're easier to walk in and don't emphasize the mutant tiny feet. :/

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december-fire

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I've been to military army balls with the man in my life and, yes, they're formal! A wonderful reason to dress up!

Your dress is gorgeous! Absolutely appropriate for the occasion and beautiful on you!

You're right that the fitbit needs to sit out this event. As for checking the time, not something I recommend while at the event; it says 'Need to get home because of the babysitter' or 'This is boring. When can I leave'. Best to ignore cell phones and checking the time, unless a person is concerned about young children at home or something else along those lines.

Personally, I'd hate to see a cross-body purse with that lovely dress; the beautiful neckline details should not have any distractions breaking it up - so no cross-body purse or necklace that hangs in front of the dress. I wouldn't wear a necklace at all with that dress; just earrings, ring and on your wrist a watch/bracelet.

If you're attending because your spouse is in the military, then you might want to consider getting a simple, neutral clutch. There will probably be a number of these events over the years, so you'll get the use out of the clutch. I started off with a black clutch, later added a beige, both in nice material and with chains that fit in the clutch but could go over one shoulder if needed. Both clutches look brand new despite being almost the same age as you. :lol:

I always need a purse or clutch, because my male companions figure its a great spot for their wallet, keys, whatever.

For military balls and other business-related formal events, I recommend an overall classic and elegant look (your dress, as I already said, is perfect and just needs a simple black clutch), nothing too daring with slits fit for the Oscars (the slit on your dress is great, not too high).

You're going to look incredible! Most important advice; relax, smile and chat with people. If you don't know anyone there, conversation-starters can include asking how long they've been posted in the current location, if they've been with the military long, etc. You only asked for advice on your outfit, but I hope you don't mind me wandering off-topic.

Have a great time! And don't play with your hair during the Ball! :lol:
 

MakingTheGrade

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Oh I will take all the military ball advice I can get!

I"m a super liberal, queer identifying, academic career gal. This ball is a whole new social world to me. I"m used to hanging out with doctors and hippies lol.

Haha, given how many times people have recommended earrings I"m starting to feel bad I don't have my ears pierced!

I actually grew up a huge tom boy, I own zero pumps and have 1 purse that I bought solely because the color matched my favorite leather motorcycle jacket... I've never worn mascara or gotten a pedicure. I"ve never been in an updo or owned any hair products aside from shampoo and conditioner. I barely use blow dryers, and have no experience with straighteners or curlers. I literally didn't have any work skirts or dressed until after medical school. During residency I once cake to work in a dress and my boss found it so remarkable he took my picture. Just last month I was recovery from strep and wore foundation to try to not look so pale and sick, and my coworker was like 'Oh my god are you wearing make up?!" Then felt bad about her reaction, lol.


So yeah...I"m getting a crash course right now on how to formal female..
 

momhappy

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A) The dress is lovely and looks gorgeous on you =)
B) No, I wouldn't wear a bag crossbody to a formal event. If you don't want to purchase an inexpensive clutch, wear your bag over one shoulder. Some Chanel styles allow you to tuck in the chain strap, so if you can, you could carry it as a clutch. You can also double the chain strap so it's shorter to wear over one shoulder if you don't want to wear it long.
C) Your watch is fine if you're comfortable in it. Personally, for formal events, I don't wear my watch.
D) No need to match lipstick and nails (unless you want to).
E) And this one is most important of all - no boots! Boots are not appropriate for a black tie event and/or a formal dress.

Have fun!
 

MakingTheGrade

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I"m hoping my nice boots will be ok since I"m going to accesorize towards a sort of punky look. I have a black leather wrap bracelet I"m going to wear. Do I need something for the other wrist?

I would wear heels if I could, but literally cannot walk or function in them right now due to my ACL tear so... unless flats are better :/

Make up wise I only know how to do eyeliner and lipstick. So yeah, that's what I"m going with!
 

momhappy

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Flats would be better than boots.
No, you don't need bracelets on both wrists.
 

MakingTheGrade

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momhappy|1479346308|4099514 said:
Flats would be better than boots.
No, you don't need bracelets on both wrists.
I can look into flats. But even dressy flats in a size 4 are a challenge. Especially on 2 weeks notice lol
 

momhappy

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You can also check youth sizes (which, by the way, are usually cheaper). A youth/girls 3 is about a woman's size 5. They make a lot of cute flats for youth girls these days. I would even check places like target, etc.
 
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