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A few weeks ago, my friend Annaliese invited me to a black-tie gala here in town and I was beyond stoked. I’m the type of person that would wear a ball gown to the grocery store if it were socially acceptable — I love any excuse to get all dolled up!
I only had a week and a half to figure out what I was wearing and honestly? If this were 5 years ago, I’d be sweating. However, over the years, I’ve had to find several dresses and gowns for black tie affairs on pretty short notice, and I think I’ve got the hang of it!
If you’re headed to a black-tie event this spring, here are a few tips and tricks on how to find the perfect black tie event outfit.
Black Tie Event Outfit Tips:
Rent Your Dress
It’s no secret that I love Rent the Runway — I’ve been using their service for years, and I rent everything from ballgowns to handbags to casual outfits for vacations. I currently have an Unlimited subscription, and I’m able to rent out 4 pieces at a time and swap them out as much (or as little!) as I’d like. When I figured out that I had a gala on my calendar, I swapped out a couple of pieces and decided to rent this dress and handbag. P.S., if you want to try out RTR Unlimited, use my code ‘ACHEWPERK40’, to receive $80 off your first 2 months of RTR unlimited ($40 off each month)!
If you don’t want a monthly subscription, you can also rent pieces for a 4-8 day period — I’ve done this before as well. If you’re renting for a shorter period, you can choose two sizes of the same piece, and you have the option to add a second style for a small price in case you want to try a few different options for your big event. I’d recommend having your item(s) shipped at least 2 days prior to your event, just in case there are any issues. I’ve only had a problem with fit once, but when that happened, I called their customer service team and they overnighted me the correct size without issue.
The Easiest Way to Book Hair & Makeup
So, Annaliese is a pro at doing her hair and makeup. She watched some YouTube tutorials to figure out how to do an updo, and did her own makeup, and looked FLAWLESS.
Me on the other hand? I don’t wear a ton of makeup on a regular basis, and I’m pretty horrible on putting false lashes, so I usually let the professionals help me out in the beauty department for fancy events. If I’m in a major city, I’ll book Glamsquad — it’s the most convenient because I can book hair, makeup, and/or manicure appointments straight from my phone, and they can meet you either at your home, hotel, office…whatever location is the most convenient for you!
When Glamsquad isn’t available, I’ll book appointments at either Sephora, Ulta, Bluemercury or my trusty department store beauty counters. At most of these stores, you can either opt to pay a flat fee for the service or if you make a purchase for a certain dollar amount, you can get the makeup application for free. For example, the last time I got my makeup done at MAC, you could either pay $60 for the application or purchase $60+ worth of product and not have to pay for the service. It’s a pretty solid deal, IMO! Just make sure to call up the store and book your appointment in advance.
Lastly, if you’re local to D.C., I just tried out Own Your Wonder and loved the results. They’re a female-owned, full-service makeup bar, and they make you feel like a queen while prepping for your big event. You can book makeup appointments either at their Georgetown location or have them come to your home (and yes — they’ll even travel to the ‘burbs too!)
Don’t Be Afraid of Color
Don’t take it literally: black-tie doesn’t mean you have to wear black. Wearing a bit of color (or print!) will help you stand out and turn heads. Wear whatever color you feel the most comfortable in: I’m personally no stranger to color, but I find that reds, oranges, and pinks flatter my skin tone the most, so those are the colors I will typically gravitate towards for a black-tie function.
Do you have any fun black-tie events coming up this spring? Let me know in the comments!
Loving this black tie event outfit feature? Take a look here for more of my fashion favorites!
Photos by Tom McGovern