Wondering what to wear to The Chase?
Susan Stein has some ideas...
Being one of the most glamorous soirées on the desert’s social calendar, DAP Health’s annual gala The Chase (presented this year by Eisenhower Health) attracts all manner of fashionistas flaunting their fabulous baubles and threads in the pursuit of eclipsing other guests’ voguish get-ups.
I mean, would any clotheshorse worth their weight in leather and lamé be caught dead engaging in the utmost of scintillating repartee at Amazon’s Amazing Cocktail Party in anything but their very best creative formal garb and trappings?
But what is creative formal, exactly? To suss out the answer — not to mention a few chichi tailored tips — we turned to Palm Springs Life Fashion Director and Scene Editor Susan Stein, a doyenne of haute couture and outré sartorial style who works not only in publishing, but with businesses, charities, designers, marketing teams, and private clients all around the world. Here’s what Stein had to say:
Warning: This is based on reality-fiction. I’ve taken many “liberties,” and hope this is all taken with both a grain of salt and a plentiful sense of humor.
When opening another invitation and seeing a “black tie” dress code, I immediately run to my closet, where I’ve crammed in a few (10) long gowns that have been collecting dust for years. Well, maybe four or five years. What could be easier…or more boring? Luckily, I’ve been able to attend The Chase many times since I moved to the desert 20 years ago, and I’m always thrilled by the chance to have some fun and play with fashion. Do I really have 10 gowns? I’ll never tell.
So — about creative formal. I suggest an eclectic collection of fun pieces that can work together to create an interesting ensemble and can be most appropriate for one of the grandest events of the desert. My mind is churning. “Does this go with this? What will I do for shoes? Jewelry? How hot will it be outside? How windy?” So much indecision. So many challenges. You’re tempted to go right back to that closet with those long gowns and find one that still fits and has the proper accessories close at hand. But let’s not be boring. Time to challenge our sense of style.
In order to make this as simple as possible, here’s a list of many options, all of which could lead to a fun solution that doesn’t smack of serious black-tie dressing yet fits the bill. After all, veritable royalty will not be in attendance. But there is fashion icon Donna Karan to consider. She’ll love your creativity!
Long skirts are IN (as in, LONG … to the ankles!)
Take a look at what you have in your eclectic wardrobe. There’s probably a collection of long skirts — leather, prints, taffetas, plaids, and luckily (one of this year’s biggest trends), a rather interesting long denim skirt (hmmm… could it use some feather trim at the hem?) Pleats are the rage. There’s nothing more elegant than a sweeping entrance in a long knife-pleated skirt.
Remember to mix high and low
It’s so much fun to match that great, big ballgown skirt with a black turtleneck or a sleeveless tee that you found at Revivals.
Sequins work with anything
A sequin jacket in any color or silhouette makes almost everything black tie-appropriate. I mean, not sweats, but what about a catsuit with great, black, short boots … or one of those long skirts?
This is the year for feathers
Not flying bird feathers, but those fluffy ones that move with the breeze (ostrich is a bird, I know!) Use them as an accessory and attach to handbags, top of shoes, neckline and cuffs, or just as a short jacket over something basic.
Fishnets are the trendy catch of the season
Fishnet hosiery is really easy to find and very flattering. However, this is also the year of the fishnet tank or dress. Just remember to wear the proper undergarments. That slip dress from years ago goes perfectly under a long fishnet dress. Time to adopt that beautiful bra or midriff-baring undergarment. But take a good look in the mirror before you leave the house.
Split them up or wear pants and jacket together. A satin stripe down the side of a pantleg will make any top look great — maybe even that sequin jacket. A tux top with a pair of sequin or flowy satin full trousers? Think Katherine Hepburn at a black-tie gala.
Be sure to feel comfortable, handsome or pretty, and to enjoy the wonderful evening al fresco!