8 Tips for the Perfect Gala Outfit
We recently attended a 2nd annual gala for a great cause, the Dil Walk Foundation, started by my friend Raman and her husband Anmol. Naturally, I was excited for a night out with the hubby and looked forward to the process of getting gala-ready. I’ll walk you through what it takes me to get dolled up and share my tips with you.
Tip #1: plan out your outfit ASAP…or decide you need to go shopping
As soon as I’ve secured childcare I begin thinking about what to wear. The event is a black-tie gala so automatically a floor length gown seems appropriate. I only own one and luckily it’s the only thing that fits me right now – I’m 4 months preggers. It’s a gown by Rabani & Rakha that I purchased in Manhattan when I was last pregnant; I fell in love with it despite the price tag but I was desperate. It got me through various events that summer and now it’ll get me through this second pregnancy. Considering the CPW, it wasn’t all that expensive in the end!
Unfortunately, as I pull it out of storage I realize it has a tear near the bottom, likely from getting caught in my heel. Chiffon repairs can be unsightly and worse than the tear itself, so I’m planning a reincarnation for this piece before I wear it next (watch for that post early next year).
This dress has a high neckline, which is heavily embroidered and dictates that the earrings don’t hang and a necklace is out of the question. To make this outfit feel fresh, I’m going to switch up my jewelry. I’ll wear a pair of earrings I got from my aunt and uncle for my wedding in carved sapphire, rubies and diamonds; they’re relatively small but happen to be “crawlers” which are very on trend at the moment (a pair of earrings that seem to crawl up your earlobe).
With that heavy neckline contrasted with the lack of embellishment everywhere else the hands and wrists are just begging for jewelry. For one hand, I know I’ll wear this super cheap, big cabochon “-emerald” ring that I got years ago but I’ve never worn. I’d like to offset that with a bracelet on the other hand, but I don’t own a gold cuff or any bracelet that I think will work…but since I’m not buying a new dress, I figure I’ll splurge on something new for my wrist. I narrow it down to three options (pictured). The large cuff wasn’t elegant enough for this outfit and the bracelet wasn’t wide enough. The smaller cuff was elegant yet had some width and was my favourite…and now is my newest piece of jewelry.
I basically have one deep gold DVF minaudiere (clutch), which is my “go to” so that’s decided on. Shoes are not really that visible in this dress but for an outfit this formal an open-toe heel is pretty much mandatory. I had a few options but I went with the safe bet of matching my heels to my bag (could have gone with red if I were feeling a bit more adventurous).
Tip #2: consider which appointments you’ll want and make them in advance
It’s important that I consider in advance how to wear my hair since I may need to make an appointment. This neckline dictates my hair needs an up do so I book for the afternoon of the event. I also decide to treat myself to manicure a couple of days before at my favourite nail bar. I commit to DIY-ing all else.
Tip #3: get as much as possible done the night before
Since I’ll be wearing open-toe shoes I paint my toes bright red. Then I assess for any other warranted grooming followed by a facemask.[FYI the Tata Harper Resurfacing Mask – is awesome! I used a sample and am now in love with this product; I’ve got the full size being shipped to my house as we speak.]
While I wait for the mask to dry, I peruse my instagram and pinterest to see if I can find inspiration for my hair appointment the next day. I come across the perfect pic of Deepika Padukone (Bollywood actress) wearing a Sabyasachi outfit, also with a high neckline and her hair up; I like it because it’s sophisticated but has a little edge – braids and a little texture. I take a screenshot so that it’ll be easily accessible during my appointment. I also find a pic of myself in the dress so that I can show the hair stylist so that she knows what she’s working with.
I steamed my dress and hung it out of the way earlier in the day.
Tip #4: prep your lips with balm to be sure they’re lipstick ready
I also made sure to keep my lips well moisturized all day since I’d be wearing bold lipstick and needed a smooth pout to make it work. I love the Lip Whip by Kari Gran – all natural oils and it stays in place and is the best thing I’ve ever tried (pick one up from Sephora in the US next time you’re south of the border).
Tip #5: ensure you make time to shower BEFORE your get your hair done
I sneak in a quick shower just before I run out to get my hair done – steam and humidity would kill a hair-do.
Tip #6: enjoy that you have an excuse to get pampered
Then I head out, looking forward to sitting in a chair and being pampered for a second time that week (nails being the first). I grab a latte on my way to make it more of a treat. I love supporting charities.
Tip #7: offset a bold lip with simpler eye makeup
I pair my matte red lips with neutral eye shadow and a little winged liner.
Tip #8: be sure to get a couple of pics while you look fresh and then put the phone away and enjoy the night!
We try, with eventual success, to put a baby to bed an hour early, then I throw on the dress and accessories, get the husband to snap one quick pic of me, even though we are late, and then we’re off to the ball!
The event was beautiful and we had a great time. I even got a snap with Raghav.
Kudos to Raman and Anmol for devoting themselves to such a great cause…and allowing me an excuse for a night out!
**Now, more women die of heart disease than men, in Canada. The DIL Walk foundation, a registered charity, run by volunteers, is committed to helping individuals understand what they can do, to save lives. Visit them at www.DilWalk.ca
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