When it comes to business dressing, almost every article out there talks about what the professional woman should wear to work. Business cocktail parties, however, are largely neglected as it is widely believed that women ought to wear cocktail dresses to every event they get invited.
However, my experience has shown that there are a lot of women out there who just feel comfortable in a suit. They either have certain insecurities about their body - don't like showing off their legs or arms, or simply enjoy the addition of power over the crowd a suit gives them.
In the next few paragraphs I will show you how to wear a suit to a cocktail party or to any other formal event without feeling a bit under-dressed by choosing the right pieces and accessories.
1. Alexander McQueen crystal-embellished blazer - $2,935 | 2. Maison Martin Margiela cropped jacket - $3,985 | 3. Theyskens' Theory embellished silk-tulle jacket - $749 | 4. Saint Laurent metallic jacquard jacket - $1,910
I would say that choosing the right blazer is the most important part of looking great at a cocktail party. You must remember that your formal blazers should stray away from the ones you wear to work, be festive enough to charm the crowd, but yet feel event appropriate. If you don't like a lot of bling the perfect blazer for you would be the black Alexander McQueen with a satin bow and small embellishments or the Saint Laurent silver jacquard one; if you are considered a risk taker, however, absolutely go for the Maison Martin Margiela cropped jacket which is an absolute masterpiece.
1. Jason Wu satin-trimmed pants - $1,075 | 2. Bouchra Jarrar cropped trousers - $1,215 | 3. The Row silk trousers - $1,390 | 4. Rochas metallic pleated chiffon skirt - $2,465 | 5. Givenchy paneled wide-leg pants - $1,710
If you decide to make your blazer the centerpiece of the outfit, keep the pants simple. There are no definite rules when it comes to choosing the right pants, but make sure the shape always looks flattering on your body and never pick a pant that is as tight as a legging. This season go for the wide-leg Jason Wu pants from the designer's latest collection, cropped versions from Bouchra Jarrar and The Row or these paneled Givenchy pants. Also, a pleated knee-length skirt is always a good choice.
1. J. W. Anderson satin silk draped top - $620 | 2. Gucci metallic vest top - $590 | 3. Lanvin twist-front top - $99- | 4. Alexander McQueen bow-embellished blouse - $1,345
Choosing a top is really the most simple task out of this "dressing challenge". A simple black top is always a great choice which goes with everything and this season get J. W. Anderson's satin spin-off on the classic item. Other choices include simple lamé or draped tops, as long as they don't compete with the blazer, as well as clean crisp blouses with a little detailing like the Alexander McQueen above.
1. Jimmy Choo patent trimmed leather pumps - $695 | 2. Gianvito Rossi silk pumps - $660 | 3. Burberry Prorsum velvet and satin sandals - $650 | 4. Charlotte Olympia Pisces suede slippers - $695
No outfit is ever complete without the complementary shoes. A lot of women make mistakes in the shoe department and often choose footwear that is appalling and inappropriate and therefore brings the whole outfit down, no matter the appeal of the items. A simple black patent pump works almost always, but if you feel like your outfit is too one-note choose a shoe in luxurious colors and fabrics like the blue silk Gianvitto Rossis or the burgundy velvet Burberry Prorsum sandals. If you are not a fan of heels, however, you can always wear a nice pair of embellished sleepers.
Always make sure your hair looks washed, voluminous and shiny with a bun being the most appropriate hairstyle. Never pick a handbag that is too big for the occasion. Keep your make-up simple and choose between accenting either the eyes or the lips. Never wear excessive jewelry.
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