Black Tie, Simplified: A Checklist

Chapter, Fashionably Light

Feb 28 2014

Gold Tape

Black Tie, Simplified: A Checklist

This weekend, the Oscars.

This afternoon, Episode 8 of FabulosiTEA on “Getting Red-Carpet Ready”!

While we’re on the subject, here’s what three years at a posh uni have taught me about black tie: it’s all about the preparation – not just to look good, but to feel good too.

Before an event, I make a list of things I need to get ready, and pencil them into my calendar. It’s nice to see “decide on nail polish” next to an essay deadline. Much like my co-host Caz is “always planning a holiday”, I’m “always planning an outfit”.

Weeks Ahead – Plan the Outfit

  • Dress – something new, or working with what you’ve got? [I tend to go for the former – more of a challenge!]
  • Tights – take weather into consideration. Summer balls in England tend to be blustery.
  • Shoes – how comfortable do they need to be for the occasion? Also, if you’re going to a formal dinner, save the “shoe statement” for later – you’ll be sad to tuck them under the table.
  • Jewelry – necklaces, bracelets, rings…
  • Headgearsparkly star band, flower crown, or rope hat?
  • Outerwear – again, you might get cold, and style points go to you for thinking of something that matches, even if it is a sleeping bag.
  • Bag – handbag, clutch, purse…
  • Anything else? Gloves, a collar, fairy princess wings…

Days Ahead – Put it Together and Pamper Yourself

  • Makeup – If you’re trying a new look, practice a few days ahead of time so you don’t have to panic and apply makeup remover several times the day of.
  • Hair – Ditto makeup. If you’re trying something new, do a trial run first.
  • Nail polish – paint your nails the night before if you, like I, are not so great at coloring inside the lines. I like to watch a film to relax and let my nails dry. So much better than frantically fanning your hands an hour before hoping they’ll dry in time.
  • Shaving – even if I’m wearing tights. It’s not about people scrutinizing your legs, but about knowing that you made the effort.
  • Treat yourself – Inaugurate that nice soap, lotion, or perfume that maybe you’re saving for a ‘special occasion’.

Hours Ahead – The Final Steps

  • Put on some music. Preferably upbeat cheesy pop music.
  • Get ready. Get dressed and do your hair and makeup.
  • Meet friends. Always fun to have a “pre” meet-up. My friends and I once did “pre-cheese” in the park: gourmet cheese was served with crackers and fruit, and we tossed a frisbee around in black tie.
  • Take photos before it’s dark. Chances are you’re off to an evening event. Take advantage of the sunlight while you can – record your efforts early or the only pictures you’ll have will be dark and blurry!

Any other thoughts? To hear more on red carpet-worthy attire, download the latest episode of FabulosiTEA at English tea time (15:00). 

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