5 new ways to dress up for party season
From megawatt glamour to understated elegance – make sure you nail your after-dark wardrobe with our partywear trend report, with New York-based model, photographer and DJ CATE UNDERWOOD
A few years ago, I was flying to Europe for London and Paris fashion weeks; I had a huge suitcase full of all my favorite pieces – most of which were black – but the airline lost it and I never got it back. Since then I have stopped overpacking and try to stick to hand luggage whenever I can. When I was rebuilding my closet, I started experimenting with way more color. Pink has become my guilty pleasure – it’s my new black! This dress is perfect for a night out. It moves really easily, is great for dancing, and the silk feels beautiful against your skin. If you’re trying to add more color to your closet, it’s really important to invest in high-quality pieces with a great cut. I really think your mood changes when you wear bright shades. You need a certain amount of confidence to try them, but they also make you feel lighter.
If you’re trying to add more color to your closet, it’s really important to invest in high-quality pieces with a great cut”
Honestly, sometimes I love being the most under-dressed person at a party. It feels cool not to try too hard. I don’t think an outfit has to be over-styled to be beautiful. It’s important to remember that you wear your clothes, not the other way around. If I’m going to wear jeans out then I love a flared cut that goes right down to the floor – it make your legs look super-long. Bandeau tops are part of my everyday uniform, I wear them all the time. I usually pair them with tailored trousers, throw on a structured blazer and then I’m good to go. I think that, if you’re going for a dressed-down party look, pairing your outfit with great jewelry is really important. Personally, I wear a lot of gold and I love statement earrings, especially with my hair slicked back; but I also think pairing denim with diamonds makes a real statement.
If you’re going for a dressed-down party look, pairing your outfit with great jewelry is really important”
I usually gravitate towards tailoring for a night out, especially when it comes to black-tie events. A beautiful suit is always my first choice; I love playing with a more masculine look. I was especially drawn to this amazing Balenciaga suit because of the cut; a cinched waist and shoulder pads create a really strong silhouette. It’s a little bit ’80s, but also a little bit ’90s, and this is the type of esthetic I go for. I’m deeply attached to this era because I used to watch my mom getting dressed up when I was a child. I still love looking at photographs of her from that time; she’s my main inspiration. With a look this strong, I’d keep my hair simple, maybe swept back in a low ponytail. I hate it when my hair is blown out or too ‘done’; I think keeping it natural gives any outfit a sort of French-girl nonchalance.
A cinched waist and shoulder pads create a really strong silhouette”
I love getting all dressed up, but my number-one rule is that you shouldn’t do it for anyone but yourself. Sequins might seem like an obvious choice for party season, but clichés are clichés for a reason. I love experimenting with pieces that are a little bit kitsch. I’d wear this beautiful dress anywhere – to a cocktail party or a dive bar. I think sequins might seem scary to a lot of women, but it’s all about balance and the cut of this dress is so chic. I love the long bell sleeves plus the high neckline and exposed back combination. It really reminds me of the iconic dress Mireille Darc wore in Le Grand Blond avec une Chaussure Noire. I’d finish this with a super-simple leather clutch, keep my makeup minimal and casually tuck my hair behind my ears – et voilà!
Sequins might seem like an obvious choice for party season, but clichés are clichés for a reason”
This is such an iconic party option; you can’t go wrong with a little black dress. If you have no time to get ready, you can just throw one on, no matter what the occasion, and you instantly feel super-sexy – like the best version of yourself. You can also afford to be a bit more experimental when you’re wearing an LBD; it’s a timeless piece but the oversized ruffle detail on this dress adds a little extra finesse. In terms of accessories, all you need is a little strappy sandal, natural hair and makeup and some simple earrings. Nothing on the neckline – you don’t want it to feel cluttered. You could also add super-sheer tights to accentuate the chic, Parisian vibe.
This is such an iconic party option… You instantly feel super-sexy – like the best version of yourself”
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