Shopping Locally for Gala Fashion
With so many Gala's coming up, take time to visit local shops to accessorize and find the perfect dress.
D.C. gala season begins as the leaves change color and temperatures drop. Galas let Washingtonians leave the slacks and sensible shoes at home; women step out to make a statement. This season consider upping the ante of the classic black dress in your closet or splurge for a flirty little cocktail dress. Options abound in Georgetown; two local businesses, the Keith Lipert Gallery and Hu's Wear, offered input on gala season attire.
Accessorize what you have.
Keith Lipert has a large collection of fashion jewelry, delightful party clutches and rich scarves. He buzzed around the store recently, piecing together items to make just the right statement. The editor made the mistake of wearing a black sheath dress to the interview and wound up an unwitting model. Please forgive.
Lipert described the feeling after the excitement of receiving an invitation to a gala, the "what do I wear?" moment. He said accessorizing lets you work with what you have, adding shoppers can "achieve great effects" at almost any price with a little thought and creativity.
For an embassy gala, Lipert picked a cascading pearl necklace at $350, pearl and faux diamond earrings at $75 and a vibrant purple wrap for $205, paired with a small black diamond-shaped clutch at $75. The entire outfit, with a dress and shoes you already have, is $660; unlike a dress the component parts can be added to other and future outfits.
Lipert described "fight night parties" where couples split up with the ladies going one way, the gentlemen the other, only to meet up later in the evening. For this he suggested bold colors, red sparkly earrings at $130, a red wrap for $130 and a small rectangular clutch for $80. The bold outfit comes to $340.
For the Citizens Association of Georgetown (CAG) "To Russia with Love" Gala on Friday, Oct. 15, Lipert dressed his staff member Julianne Band in a stunning necklace in silver and blue with dangling stars, a larger investment at $1,555. The rich drop earrings sparkle like real diamonds, the stuff of Russian oligarchs, without the expense of a diamond, $415. Finally the small clutch with a bow, in a deep Baltic blue color ties the outfit together for $1,000. Together, the accessories come to $2,970.
Finally, Lipert chose carefully for the Kennedy Center Honors on Sunday, Dec. 5. When Oprah is involved, pull out all the stops. The necklace he chose is stunning and acts like a wreath of sparkling stones surrounding the wearer's neck, acting as a bold but sophisticated piece to elevate any dress to the next level, for $2,155. The large stud earrings ($180) Lipert chose to match are more understated so as not to take away from the necklace. Finally a sleek bag with an extra bit of adornment, the sleep rectangular bag Lipert chose had a silver and blue-hued sunburst gem on the front for $945. The entire outfit for a star-studded evening comes to $3,280.
Lipert is eager to help his customers create the right image for any event. He offers a fitting room for women to bring their dresses with them to compare jewelry with their choice of attire.
Pick a feminine shape for your dress
At Hu's Wear, Tanya Semsarzadeh showed off the shop's many cocktail dresses. Though the store does not offer any floor-length gowns, the right accessories can make a cocktail-length dress work for many formal occasions. Semsarzadeh said women cannot go wrong with a feminine shape, something that is fitted, flirty and creates an hour glass shape.
The first dress, perfect for a cocktail party or fall wedding, was a jacquard print in yellow and black. By Proenza Schouler, the dress is $1,725.
Check out the black, strapless bustier dress by Martin Grant. The v-neck dress has buttons on the front; details make you stand out said Semsarzadeh. This dress at $1,685 would work perfectly for the CAG Gala with the right accessories.
A total knockout is the DSquared2 dress in red. The rich material and feminine shape would make any gal the center of attention. Add a pair of dangle earrings and you are ready for a fight night or formal cocktail event for $975.
Both local shops offer personal attention and knowledgeable staff will ensure you create the perfect look for your next formal event.