“Dress shabbily and they remember the dress; dress impeccably and they remember the woman.” – Coco Chanel
Fashion is defined as a popular style, especially in clothing, footwear, lifestyle products, accessories, makeup, hairstyle, and body. Fashion is a distinctive and often constant trend in the style in which a person dresses.
Different occasions also call for different types of fashion. In this article, we chat with three ladies who are at the top of the style game and get some advice on how to dress for particular occasions and to feel comfortable in whatever you wear.
The 101 on Dressing for the Occasion
Simone Sant-Ghuran, Founder and Managing Director of Trinidad Weddings, helped us define formal wear. “Formal wear can either be ‘white tie’ or ‘black tie’ dress codes. ‘White tie’ for men requires a tailcoat, vest and trousers, and ballgowns with gloves (optional) for women. ‘White tie’ is usually reserved for diplomatic events, galas, royal weddings and state events. For ‘black tie’ dress codes, the colour ‘black’ for women is not required, even though the dress code is called ‘black tie.’” Ball-gowns or long gowns are usually worn by the female guests. Fashions have changed and evolved over the years and today women also wear knee-length dresses as formal wear. Black-tie outfits for women can feature embellishments such as sequins, beading, appliques, and lace. Male guests should wear tuxedos, cummerbunds, bowties and white tuxedo shirts.
Formal wear is usually on the pricier side versus regular clothing. Some ways it can be more affordable to the consumer is by renting it or shopping at discount retailers.
Asked about new trends in formal wear, Simone tells us, “The traditional components of formal wear haven’t changed much. What may have changed would be the type of accessories (e.g. ties, cufflinks, pocket squares) and the fabric colours and choices (e.g prints).”
Dressing for Executive / Diplomatic Events
According to Soroya Volney, Image Consultant/Stylist, when it comes to fashion there are two basic rules of engagement; appropriateness and making a statement. “While each of us may have our own distinctive style in dressing, it is important to remember that we must be appropriate at all times. And by appropriate, there are several variables that must be considered, most notably would be age considerations and body type.”
When dressing for an executive/diplomatic event an intricate blend of sophistication and sobriety is required. A rule of thumb for these types of events is that no matter how young or young at heart you are, as a lady, if a skirt is being worn, the hemline should not be more than an inch above the knee. Whether an elegant pair of trousers or skirt is being donned for the occasion, the NVPLs (NO Visible Panty Lines) rule should remain in full effect. Darker hues are preferred as black, charcoal, navy or a deep burgundy. A strappy dress may be an option for the ladies but it ought to be teamed with a form-fitting jacket, short or long sleeved or perhaps even with a shawl draped over the shoulders to complete the look.
In terms of accessories, Soroya advises to go easy on the vibrant bursts of colour as tones as silver, pewter or even gold are preferred. “One should shy away from accessorizing with chunky jewellery which usually has a casual effect and finish. Statement pieces if worn should not detract from the sobriety of outfits donned at executive events.”
Your Personal Style
Ever since she was a young girl Tonya would go on shopping trips every year with her grandmother. “We would spend hours going from store to store. I looked up to her greatly. She was a strong female figure – a woman entrepreneur in a male-dominated world, who owned who she was, wearing whatever she liked and making an entrance wherever she went.” As a teenage Tonya followed a lot of the trends of the ‘90’s. In her twenties, however, she developed her own style and is comfortable wearing whatever she wanted just like her grandmother. Comfort and versatility are the main parts of her personal style. Flowing high waist pants are her favourite. “Versatility is also something I consider when purchasing clothing. I love two pieces; you can use the same bottom piece with a different top, or vice versa and make a completely new outfit.” Solid advice for anyone who is also shopping on a budget.
Whatever the occasion, make sure that you feel comfortable in the outfit that you choose to wear. You will exude confidence and your inner beauty will shine through.