Fashion Fridays: Cocktail Conundrum

Isn’t it nice just to do something fun and light every once in a while?  Well, that’s what Fridays are going to be here.  Debuting, Fashion Fridays.  As I mentioned before, I am certainly no expert, but my girlfriends and I debate the little twists that come for career women to the typical fashion advice.  And we work through solutions to the problems.  Recently I have had several conversations with girlfriends about cocktail dress dilemmas.  So today we’re going to tackle two of those cocktail conundrums.  One friend needed to go to an awards reception for her company where she would be one of the only professional women in attendance.  Another friend needed to go to a party in “cocktail attire,” but she hadn’t gotten her baby weight off and would have to shop in the plus size department. 

These issues are completely manageable.  Thank heavens for the Internet!  I often find that my local store doesn’t carry my size, but I find a limitless size selection on-line.  Plus most department stores have decent selections on their websites whether you are a size 2 or a 20.   Personally, I find the biggest selection at Nordstrom’s, so I buy four or five dresses on-line, try them on in the privacy of my own home, and return the rejects the very next day.  Then you get exactly what you want, on your time frame, without any sales pressure, but you don’t have to carry a balance on your credit card because you can return the extras to your local store.  Everything I have pictured today costs less than $300 and most dresses sell for $200 or less.  A few helpful tips I have found as I shopped with friends:  don’t wear something with a deep neckline if you have a bigger chest, choose an above the waist seam  if you carry weight in your middle (or side ruching surprisingly), don’t wear sequins or sparkle if you don’t want that area of your body to shine and don’t pick it at all for a work event, stay away from super bright colors like pinks and oranges if it’s a career event, and finally do NOT get so hung up on the size listed on the tag that you buy something too small – all designers have different cuts and our shapes change so just buy what fits best. 

Problem A:  Serious work party with a lot of men, so my girly friend had to step back from her super feminine, louder color choices, and pick something that highlighted she was a confident career woman (still a woman though).  Here are the choices I sent her to order as options:


The key here was toning down the color.  Neutrals don’t have to be boring.  She also needed to look like she had serious executive potential so select fabrics that don’t look cheap even if you are able to get a good deal.  If it is a work event, particularly if you will be recognized, it probably warrants spending a little more money than usual to make sure you look the part.  I saw a photograph of her after the event and she looked beautiful.  Clearly she was dressing like a woman, but she also looked confident and capable of working any executive room.

Problem B:  Needing a larger size dress than usual for an imminent cocktail reception, so my friend who used to be okay with some skin had to cover up a little more.  Here were the options I sent her to consider ordering:


This is entirely contingent on where you carry you weight.  If you have  heavy arms, then you might not be as comfortable wearing a sleeveless dress.  Right now I am carrying too much weight in my middle, so my last cocktail event required me to wear a dress that had seaming just below empire level (above waist) with a slight A-line cut from the seam.  My friend also carries weight in the middle, as a lot of us mommas do, so she selected an empire waist dress that was color-blocked so it really pulled attention to her neckline and face and looked beautiful.

Just remember, everything could be photographed and posted and Tweet-ed and Facebook-ed, so take some time to look at the dress from every angle, including sitting down (and dancing if you will be doing some of that).  And most important, dresses are fun, so enjoy the hunt and take a friend.


  1. Ginidi, I love all of the selections and your advice for what to wear to a work cocktail function is spot on!

  2. Elizabeth Bray says:

    Good advice Ms Gindi … OF COURSE .. for me .. I would say just don’t age … I am still shocked every time I see a picture … I expect a younger me .. because I certainly feel that way inside .. but the camera tells me the harsh truth .. decades have flown by .. On a more serious note .. is the length of the dress … I see a LOT of women wear dresses that are too short … strongly advise given the current fashion climate of “shorter” that you note that on you list of LBD’s

    • Oh Elizabeth – that is good! Yes, I’ve seen some far too short dresses and even sometime have a hard time finding one long enough – I should have mentioned shoes too!

  3. Gindi:

    I love everything you picked out and totally agree with your advice.

    I had no idea you were so multi-talented. Do you do personal wardrobe consulting? Seriously. Do you?

    • Cheryl – thanks, and you’re so funny! I actually do my friends make overs for fun, we go through the closet and do a give away, throw away, and tailor pile and then go shopping for what’s missing from the wardrobe, but there’s so little time to do it I only do a few a year, it’s more like these one of questions I answer 😉

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