Hi She She, I am soon attending a benefit for a large charitable foundation with my boss and another co-worker. The invitation says attire is “business formal.” This event is very upscale but not quite black tie, and the temps will most likely be in the lower teens, as I live in Indianapolis, Indiana. I am originally from the south (Tennessee) and am scared of freezing if I choose something sleeveless. Part of the event will be an indoor/outdoor tour of the mansion and grounds on which the event is held. Any suggestions for what to wear to such an occasion? All the Best, Indy Girl
Take your clues from the invitation. "Business formal" is not the same as semi formal. Business formal means nothing that would be inappropriate in a business setting. No plunging necklines, no halter styles or backless styles, no sleeveless, strapless or spaghetti strap gowns. If they wanted you to wear cocktail gowns, the invitation would have specified "semi-formal". Therefore, based on the invitation, you should wear a businesslike version of semi-formal fashion. I would suggest a feminine suit, or perhaps a velvet blazer paired with a dressier skirt. You can bump up the glam quotient of your blouse with something in a satin, silk or taffeta. Wear sheer hose and stay away from strappy sandals or heels that are too high. A sleek leather pump or even a slingback would work well. Keep the jewelry simple and chic, nothing with too much bling. Since the evening includes an outdoor tour, you should wear a warm dressy coat. Complete the ensemble with a pair of great leather gloves and a warm cashmere scarf.