Boy, do I need help

My work is having a big gala in April. I am helping to organize it and will be at the function from before it starts until after it ends. I need to wear something somewhat fancy, but I also need it to be comfortable enough to move around in. I live in jeans and sweaters, even for work (one of the perks of the non-profit world), so I have NOTHING in my closet that will work. This is a sit down dinner with NYT columnist Charles Blow as guest speaker, so I don't want to look like a schlub.

If any of you have suggestions for a nice dress - longer, empire waist-ish, or wrap, covered arms, can be worn with cute flats or VERY low heels, I am all ears. I've found a few on eShakti, but I really would like to go into a store and try things on. OK, I really would NOT like to do that, but I think I SHOULD do that so I'm not wearing something that looks terrible on me.


  • What colours do you like and what's your budget - I'm guessing under $100?
  • Most likely, yeah, because I won't wear it again. I like plum, sapphire, black, wine. Saturated darker colors.
  • Groovy. I will see what I can find!
  • What about a fancy pantsuit or a tuxedo? Or a great pair of black pants and a beautiful top which would probably be less expensive? I'm not a dress person either, and that's what I would choose. Good luck!
  • I was thinking about pants and a top. I would definitely have to try on pants. I have a long torso and long legs, but I'm also not thin, so pants are a challenge.
  • I was thinking about pants and a top. I would definitely have to try on pants. I have a long torso and long legs, but I'm also not thin, so pants are a challenge.

    I've seen a lot of holiday-inspired drapey pants around now that don't fit tightly and have elastic waists which would be pretty and comfortable to work in.
  • I agree with the suggestions of pants and a top.

    My default dressy outfit is a pair of black silk pants or black velvet pants with either a sparkly,dressy blouse, or a plain black silk or crepe tank top and a fancy jacket.

    And, in every case, killer jewelry.
  • What about using rent the runway? If you're never going to wear it again, then it almost makes sense to do something like that and return it and not have it sit in my closet. I've used them before and they're fantastic. (and reasonably priced)
  • I've considered that, actually.
  • Sounds weird, but having worked in event planning for years, one thing I learned was to build the outfit around the shoes. You'll be on your feet for 12 hours or more, and walking miles up and down corridors, and steps. Buy them now!
    One thing I've learned is that you don't want a thin, stretchy clingy fabric. You'll be in it all day long, even moving boxes of stuff, and the last thing you want is a dress you're picking out of your arse!
    My favorite event "go to" dress involves a long full silk skirt with pockets! The pockets are a must, as when you're running around, you need to put your cell phone somewhere, that, along with a pen and a lipstick! Google "Long full ball skirt with pockets" and you'll come up with a lot of options.
    I also have a few long dresses with Empire waists, that provide comfort as well. Because they're long, I can wear more comfortable shoes --my favorites are by Cobb Hill by Rockport. I know, not glamorous, but when you're racing from one end of the hall to the other, I just don't want to slip.
    Lastly --I am partial to black, dark brown, and navy blue. I stay away from lighter colors because I just want to blend in to the background --the guests should shine more than the organizers. The dark colors also hide stains --pen marks are the most annoying!
    Anyway, good luck, and if you do order online, make sure it's from a reputable company that allows returns!
  • Oh, and one last thing --keep your bosoms in. 3/4 length sleeve also works well. If you buy online, order a size up, as for whatever reasons, formal wear sometimes runs small. You can always take it to a seamstress to be altered smaller, but not vice versa!
    Also look into Albert Nipon. They have day suits that sometimes work out well if they're not too mother-of-the-bride.
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