Black-Tie Optional

This week, the benefits of preparing for special events became evident. Unfortunately, the formal invitations following the save-the-date card failed to arrive in the mail for our friend’s induction into the Junior Achievement Hall of Fame. Instead, the day before the event, urgent emails came via his secretary to confirm the black-tie optional dress code for the event. At other times in my life, this situation would have brought on a panic attack and emergency shopping.

A black-tie optional dress code offers a couple of formal options. Men are requested to wear a tuxedo but can opt for a dark suit. In addition, women can choose a traditional evening gown, a shorter cocktail dress, or dressy separates.

I considered a few options, but a black slip dress, a fitted tweed blazer, and black heels won out.

I opt for small crystal stud earrings when I wear a bold necklace such as this (several years old) pearl and silver medallion one. Finally, my skincare routine is here. My current makeup routine is here, but I wear a bold red lipstick and a bit more gray eyeshadow for evening.

An alternate possibility included a white/lurex detail moto-jacket, which seemed to wash me out. I opted for the black tweed jacket instead since it is more elegant.

A similar slip dress is here and here. The heels are here. The black jacket is here. A similar white jacket is here. The sheer pantyhose are here. A similar clutch is here.

Of course, Mr. Mickey had all the elements he needed to dress appropriately for the evening. We enjoyed catching up with friends we hadn’t seen in a while. Congratulations to Claudia Byrd and Joe LaPorte, III, on your induction into the 2023 Junior Achievement Business Hall of Fame.

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  1. It is interesting that on the model the slip dress comes to the upper calf and on you it is almost a maxi. Do you wear a strapless or your regular bra and not take the jacket off? I’m sure you told us before, but is it a medium? Lovely, just lovely.

    1. My dress has sold out now but there are similar ones on the site. I am wearing a size 8. I wore my regular Shapeez bra and did not remove my jacket. The model’s legs are likely lots longer than mine.

  2. Handsome outfits, both. I’m betting that Mr. Mickey wore conservative solid black socks this time!

  3. You both look very nice! Thankfully you did have something in your closet. Good choice. I like both the black jacket and the white.

  4. Absolutely stunning! What a great way to show that we can pull something together when we have the right pieces in our closet. Thank you for the lesson.

  5. You are a handsome couple and more importantly seem so happy together. Bless you both & keep your interesting and informative blog going. I love reading it.
    Sandra Baron

  6. I love the idea of the slip dress with the jacket over it. I have seen this sort of slip dress with something over it a lot lately. Great option. You both look wonderful.

  7. You both look very elegant. I definitely liKe the black jacket rather than the white one with this outfit.

  8. I just love seeing the two of you together, and you both look very elegant. You always seem to have the appropriate clothes – you’ve inspired my choices over the years. Thank you.

  9. Handsome and beautiful. I liked the all black outfit the best.Black is my go to whenever I’m not sure. As you have shown,just adding the appropriate jewelry,shoes and handbag and you are ready to attend anything.
    Have a great weekend

  10. Such a handsome couple. Did Mr. Mickey wear any character socks that night just for a touch of mischief?

    Have a great weekend. Love the blog.

  11. What a gorgeous ensemble. You are always right on point. An extra plus is you wear “ my style”. I could step into the entire thing perfectly. Thank you for showing me my style is still relevant.

  12. Susan,
    You look wonderful and elegant. The deeper lip color is perfect and adds a touch of brightness.
    The slip dress is a great idea and versatile. You never cease to amaze me with your great styling of pieces that can be used for many different occasions.
    Thank you!

  13. It is so great to have all the pieces in your closet. I have all the pieces and a great sparkly black jacket. Now all I need is the event. Thanks for fall the ideas. I keep records of my favorites for quick reference.
    Out of subject, but is that a tall urn sized vase in the corner by the door that holds the canes, etc.

  14. You looking stunning – I definitely prefer the all black ensemble over the white jacket one. I am left wondering what socks Mr Mickey wore while he looks so dashing…

  15. Both of you are elegant and refined, as usual.

    I struggle mightily with any outfit that has to be “dressy”. I feel fortunate that my husband and I are rarely called up to attend such events. We are in our early 70’s.

    My wardrobe consists of numerous types and colors of jeans, a couple of pairs of “better” slacks (navy and beige), an array of winter sweaters and summer blouses. I’m only 5’2, wear a size 10, and am still lucky enough to have a nice face and good hair. I don’t wear skirts anymore since I have developed a large lipoma beneath one knee and my ankles are not nice -looking .My coloring is neutral to light fair/hazel eyes/ blond streaked medium brown hair. I have a nice selection of pearl strands in various lengths, simple gold necklaces, and gold and pearl earrings.

    If you were to suggest ONE (possibly two) pieces of clothing to buy so I could create a more dressy/formal outfit, what might that be? Thanks for any suggestions you might offer.

    1. Dark colors are almost always more elegant. Fabrics such as silk, brocade, and chiffon are more formal. Heavier, thicker materials such as Italian lace, satin, taffeta, or Velvet suit a colder season. You can choose lighter fabrics in spring or summer, like French lace, silk, organza, or chiffon.

      The pieces that serve me well for formal occasions include the slip dress and a variety of blazers. Tops with sheer sleeves and long flowy pants are also good formal pieces.

  16. Your look is stunning, very elegant.
    Hope you both had a great evening with lots of memories made.
    Aileen Goodwin

  17. Re: previous comment. my monitor made it look the blue vase was part of the cane holding decor sorry and thanks.

  18. You look lovely, with great make-up, stunning jewelry, and beautiful clothing. Your gent is nicely dressed as well. How wonderful that you were prepared for a black tie event and even with some oopsies didn’t have to stress on what to wear.

  19. Excellent choices. You both look perfect for the occasion! Looking into purchasing that slip dress. I see how it can be versatile depending on the occasion. We cruise often and this would fit nicely with several of my jackets/tops. Thanks!

  20. Wow! Is about all I can write.
    You two look like stars! So sophisticated.
    Thanks for always inspiring us.

  21. Oh my gosh, you are always ready for anything! So elegant, so perfectly stylish! I haven’t been getting out much lately. Afraid I’ve been living a bit vicariously through you! Thank you!

  22. You look lovely. Quite a handsome couple. Do you still have the midi Karen Kane black knit dress? You used it for dressier occasions before.

  23. I love the longer hair – I am going with it too. I honestly think the shorter hair we were both toting is aging.
    That necklace has been such a fabulous pick.
    You are both looking very healthy and vibrant.
    All the best!

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I share tips and inspiration for using what you already have in contemporary ways. Defining words include effortless, classic, refined, discreet, and elegant. My style is chic, minimal, and timeless with a bit of edge.