A Night at the Opera: Black-Tie Romantic

I’m lucky to have a job I love that also allows for many opportunities to get gussied up. And I’m extra fortunate to be related to some really talented people. One such person is my niece, an up-and-coming designer in the Philippines, Aisha Romero. She made a beautiful ball gown skirt for me, and I knew just the perfect occasion to wear it — opening night at the opera. The question was, how do I put it all together?

detail of fabric from Aisha Romero Designs ballgown skirt

The skirt my niece made me is of a heavy, impressionistic, flower-patterned fabric. Both the colors and pattern have a romantic feel, not to mention the inherent femininity of a full, ball gown skirt with a defined, banded waistline. The opera opened Halloween night, and the weather had begun to cool down in Houston. Digging around in my closet, I found a dusty rose sweater from the Gap with a nice shimmer to it, perfect for an evening look. This sweater that I’ve owned for years perfectly complemented my new skirt.

accessories for a night at the opera -- forever 21 headband, banana republic crystal collar necklace, bcbg gold strappy sandals

But a simple sweater and fancy skirt do not a black-tie outfit make! Nothing dresses up a look more than the right accessories, head to toe. I already knew I had the right shoes. Never mind that I was wearing a floor-length skirt. You still have to have a fabulous shoe underneath all that, and these BCBG gold strappy sandals fit the bill.

Rimmel London lasting finish lipstick in bordeauxNext, I wanted something eye-catching around my neckline. I dropped by Banana Republic, knowing that they’ve been featuring a lot of bold, crystal jewelry lately. I picked up this crystal collar necklace that is high voltage on the sparkle. Not only is this necklace great for this outfit, but it’ll be the perfect go-to accessory for many fancy night-out ensembles.

I still felt like I needed a little something more. Perhaps a hair accessory? So the day of the opera, I went to Forever 21 on my lunch break, because it’s the only clothing store within walking distance of my office. Lo and behold, I found a headband with stones colored to match my skirt. Best of all, it cost less than $4. This would work just fine.

With my outfit put together, I made a plan for my makeup. The romantic color palette and sparkles gave me a vintage inspiration. I went with a smoky grey eye, soft glowing complexion with a bordeaux lip. Want to know the trick to maintaining a deep-colored lip all night long? First line your lips with a similar shade, filling in your lips with the liner. Then apply a coat of your lipstick. Lightly blot with a tissue, and then dust a loose powder over your lips. Apply another coat of lipstick. Voila!

jenn at a night at the opera

I received a lot of compliments that evening. While I love an edgy, fashion-forward, slinky look for evening, it was fun to look soft, girly, and romantic. What’s your favorite formal look?

Images: Forever 21 headband, Banana Republic necklace, BCBG sandals, all other photos – author’s own

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