Glam, but not black tie! The drama of dress codes

Even a personal stylist sometimes thinks ‘hmmm, I’m not sure I have anything to wear for that!’


Thursday night was an example of this. I was invited to attend the launch event of the Empress Academy at Deer Park Country House. And the dress code was “glam but not black tie”.


So black tie I can do. Full length black dress which swishes as I walk with fabulous heels, jewellery and handbag – check. Smart casual, business casual or whatever you want to call it – I’ve got that nailed too. Turns out that what I don’t really do too much of is glam! I’m not really a going “out out” person – and I’ve alluded to this before by explaining that I don’t wear heels very often! So what was my thought process in getting dressed for this event?


First I’m thinking about how I want to come across – what do I want my outfit to say about me before I even speak to anyone? Then I’m thinking about the venue and the event itself and how others might be interpreting the dress code. Fashion is a dichotomy of differentiation – it allows you to fit in with your peers and create a feeling that you belong. At the same time it allows you to differentiate yourself and be a bit individual. Thirdly, as I don’t really go to many events like this I wanted to have fun!


“Glam but not black tie” says to me sparkle and as it turned out it had said the same things to lots of other guests too! On my Gap List (that list on my phone of the things that would be great hardworking investments for me and my wardrobe so that I know exactly what I’m looking for when I have the time and the money to go shopping) was “dressy top to wear with trousers”. Not only with trousers though – skirts and maybe jeans too – that top for when it’s a “jeans and a smart top” dress code!


So off I went and found a top I love the look of, love the feel of, loved the price of. And loved the way it looked with this skirt! I’m all about textures in clothes. Interesting textures can take a simple garment a long way. So my yellow leather skirt (we are literally joined at the hip!) and this Mint Velvet top, with patent heels and goldy, leopardy print handbag and I was good to go.


I feel amazing in this outfit, and its pretty much going to be getting an outing for every Christmas do I have coming up (which turns out to be more than I was expecting – my feet already hate me!). And when I look back at my thought process, I see this. For me, the outfit said that I was a bit glam, well put together, but liked to be a bit different and have fun with clothes. I felt like I fitted in at the event – the skirt is a great conversation starter amongst women, and then my Scottish accent takes over, and then the name Shelley Kelly takes over and causes much discussion.


But the key is that I felt bold enough to wear bright yellow with sequins to an event where a lot of people would be wearing black and where I didn’t know if I would know anyone. And people approached me and chatted, and I had a really lovely evening.


Apart from my feet – they killed me! How do you do it? I see such beautifully dressed women who can glide in heels; whilst I can just about do that bit – it hurts. And that’s with lots of plasters! Maybe I just need go “out out” a bit more and work through the pain barrier taking that one for the team!


If you need help with interpreting dress codes and want to find the right thing to wear to make you feel incredible then I can help. Be that “out out” or “in in”! Contact me on 07843 006335 or through my social media channels and lets get you to be that bold, brave, beautiful lady that you truly are.


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