Styling for Special Affairs: Porsche x ESCADA Design Show Recap

"I have nothing to wear." 

I'm sure we've all heard or said that phrase at some point in life. For me personally, that sentence was running through my head on repeat this past week as I was in a frenzy trying to figure out the appropriate attire for an event. The theme of the event was cars & fashion...whatever that means. I also knew that the environment of the event would be an upscale and black-tie, which meant formal wear. With this limited information, I was faced with the issue of trying to find and style an outfit that was versatile, reasonably priced and also stayed within the theme. I didn't know what to do!

I'm sure at some point you have attended or been invited to a formal event where you pay an arm and a leg for a nice gown/suit and then after the event is over, the outfit sits in your closet and collects dust. The same case applies to informal events that have themes, where you place an order on Amazon or go to your local costume store to get accessories for something that you will probably end up throwing away or not using again. From prom to Halloween and anything in between, the struggle is real when finding an outfit for special affairs, which brings me to today's post. I thought it would be helpful to provide a guide for some things to think about when shopping for themed, black-tie events. I believe that these tips will aid you in finding attire that is versatile and can be worn on multiple occasions without breaking the bank. 

1. Less is More 

Minimalism is the key mindset you need to have if you are trying to shop luxury for less. When shopping for a formal event, pick a budget and stick to it. When looking at pieces, ask yourself, "Must I have this item, or do I just want it?" Separate your needs from your wants. You are on a mission to find a specific outfit. Other important questions to think about: does this piece fit the theme? Can the item be dressed up and dressed down? Is the price within my budget, and if it's not, where can I find something similar for a lower price? The point is, plan before you purchase. Especially if you are crunched for time,  figure out beforehand (write it down if that helps!) what stores you want to go to, how much you want to spend, the 'look' you're going for and as you shop, think about purchasing pieces that can be worn not only for the event you're attending, but for other outings as well. Planning ahead and changing your mindset makes all the difference. If you think about what you absolutely need instead of what you like, I can guarantee you'll shop smarter and not harder.

2. Mix and Match 

I'm studying finance so I hope you don't mind that I throw some business/math terms at you. When shopping for black-tie attire, think about synergy. What I mean by this is, combine pieces that would have a greater, positive effect together than if they were worn alone. For example, take advantage of matching sets (ie. jumpsuits, rompers, pantsuits, etc.) in any form. I'm a huge advocate for matching sets because of their versatility and because they look so well put together with minimal effort.

You can also combine elements from the set with items you have at home. Let's say you find a matching top and pant set. You can mix and match the top with pants from home and vice versa. Or you can wear the set together and add a jacket and accessories you already have in your wardrobe. Basically what I'm saying is, combine like terms haha. Matching sets are cost effective and make black-tie budgeting easy. Take my word for it!

3. Keep it Neutral

I'm not against patterns or funky prints by any means, but if you are attending a formal event on a budget, I think it's easier to find lower priced pieces with neutral colors than with loud colors. For example, you would probably have an easier time finding a dupe for a Gucci white button-up than you would a patterned shirt from Gucci. Neutrals, (aka cream, navy, white, black, gray, etc.) are your friend. Those colors are also easier to style because they can be paired with anything. Remember my 'less is more' point from above? The same concept applies here. I know wearing neutral colors may sound boring, but think about it in this way: neutral colors are classic pieces to keep in your wardrobe. It's important to keep in mind the long-term benefits of what you purchase.  

4. Make a Statement

In contrast to what I said above with wearing neutrals, it's important to make a statement with what you're wearing. Style is all about working with what you have and making it your own. Originality is key. If your favorite color is red and you're wearing an all black outfit, play around with some red accessories. Let's say you already have an outfit for the event you're attending at home, but it's missing something...you want it to have that je ne sais quoi. This is your time to express who you are through what you wear. Pick out statement pieces (ie. colorful jewelry, patterned shoes, printed ties, etc.) to complete your outfit. This tip especially applies when attending themed events. Utilize funky accessories and statement pieces if you're having trouble connecting your clothes to the theme. 

What I Wore

All of the tips and tools within the guide I've given you above sound good on paper, but I'm sure you're wondering how everything applies IRL. Don't worry my friends, I've got you covered. As I stated in the beginning of this post, I attended a themed, black-tie event last week. Specifically, this event was a pre-LA Fashion Week event where ESCADA and Porsche Design revealed their Spring 2019 designs, in partnership with LA Fashion Week at the Petersen Automotive Museum. 

I decided to go to an outlet mall because I knew that it would have a mix of options and brands for me to choose from when picking my outfit. I set a budget for myself and had in my mind that the look I was going for was something business-y with a little bit of edge. I found a matching set with a statement snake print, which I found to be pretty versatile because I could easily pair the individual blouse and pant with other tops and bottoms I had at home. Although the set itself was a snakeskin print, the overall color was a subtle beige with white, navy and yellow accents. This meant that if I didn't want to wear the set itself together, I could always pair it with other pieces that had those accent colors. I tucked the blouse into the pants to make it look like one jumpsuit. I already had a navy blazer back home and paired it with the set because I wanted to give the outfit some structure and make the look more formal/professional. I kept the shoes neutral and my jewelry minimal. By planning and budgeting while combining statement prints and neutral colors, I was able to find a versatile outfit for a good deal!

Get the Look

Navy Blazer [Philosophy]                Snakeskin Set [Zara]                                 Heels [Topshop]


Recap the Night

Here is a sneak peak from the event itself. Videos will be on my Facebook page and Instagram highlights, because unfortunately I cannot upload direct videos on my site. Which outfit was your favorite?

Well folks, I think I've rambled on long enough. I hope this was interesting and insightful in some way. As always, sharing is caring. If you know someone who may benefit from this guide, feel free to pass this along, or if you have some tips on what has worked for you, please leave a comment below! I would love to hear your thoughts. Until next time. 

-Kaamilah