How to Pick the Right Dress for Every Event You’re Attending This Fall
There’s always a big temptation to play it safe when it comes to dressing up for special events. Works-for-anything LBDs are almost too easy to fall back on, while your desire to not outshine the bride, hostess or guest of honor (or completely break the bank) might make you lean toward classic silhouettes and low-key colors you can repurpose throughout the year. If that sounds like your formalwear M.O., then this is the season to let it go. We mean, you only get decked out like this a handful of times throughout the year — don’t you deserve to show up to the party in your dream dress (think: trend-leaning, timeless feeling and always flattering)? The answer should be a resounding YES.
For Your College Roomie’s Wedding
“Make a statement in a unique ‘exit dress.’ All about the back details, this dress will make you feel chic and sexy without revealing too much skin.” – Jessica Mullevey, Rent the Runway
Theia Black Matte Dress ($150 Rental, $995 Retail)
“Go with a dress you actually like and will wear again. Something easy but with a dramatic neckline or open back like the Fleur Dress is special, not stuffy. You can even wear it to brunch the next day.” – Yael Aflalo, Reformation
For Your New Neighb’s Housewarming
“Transition the typical ‘girl next door’ floral pattern into fall with a darker palette for a romantic yet friendly vibe.” – Jessica Mullevey, Rent the Runway
ERIN erin fetherston Cara Dress ($70 Rental, $325 Retail)
“I’d probably choose something a bit more casual for this. The Oriole Skirt is low-key enough for a daytime BBQ or pool party, but still works for having drinks that night. Just wrap it up and you’re good to go.“ – Yael Aflalo, Reformation
For Your BFF’s Baby/Bridal Shower
“Ditch your basic sheath for an unabashedly feminine style for a baby or bridal shower. Dresses, skirts and rompers with Victorian details like delicate lace or beading are always right.” – Jessica Mullevey, Rent the Runway
STYLESTALKER Visions Skater Dress ($60 Rental, $239 Retail)
“This is a special day for your bestie, so you want to make sure all the attention is on her while still looking nice. Go with something soft and elegant — nothing too over-the-top or that shows too much skin. The Callado Dress is lovely and not too tight, so you have plenty of room to run around, help with gifts and refill mimosas.” – Yael Aflalo, Reformation
For Your School’s Homecoming
“Homecoming is just the warm-up/pre-game for prom, but you should still look really cute. The Miramar Dress is more fun than a regular cocktail dress: there’s a bow on it, there’s a little cutout, plus you can tighten up the straps — that way you can dance without having to keep pulling your top up all night.” – Yael Aflalo, Reformation
For Your Weekend Work Conference
“Black and white options always make a bold yet professional statement. Mixed media fabrics add interest to a black shift and a great statement outerwear piece will keep you warm and pulled-together later in the season.” – Jessica Mullevey, Rent the Runway
“Business doesn’t have to mean boring. Go with a classic A-line dress like the Betty Dress with a lace-up heel and chic blazer.” – Yael Aflalo, Reformation
For Your Fancy Dinner Date
“The best bet for a dressy dinner date is a sleek, modern style that makes you feel incredible and highlights your figure. You want to be rocking the dress, you don’t want the dress to be wearing you.” – Jessica Mullevey, Rent the Runway
Jay Godfrey Soori Sheath ($75 Rental, $396 Retail)
Also try: WOW Couture Bandage Mesh Panel Dress ($81) + American Apparel Ponte Off-Shoulder Cross Back Dress ($72)
“You want to look great and show off a little without feeling overexposed. The Corsica Dress has a lace-up neckline to highlight your assets, but a longer midi length for some balance on the bottom. Throw on a sexy pair of heels you can actually walk in and you’re there. “
For Your Thanksgiving Festivities
“There are endless opportunities to sport neutrals like black, grey and camel, but why not embrace the biggest colors of the season in burgundy or teal? They’re flattering on virtually every skin tone and bring a subtly festive feel to your look.” – Jessica Mullevey, Rent the Runway
Halston Heritage Garney Jumpsuit ($85 Rental, $525 Retail)
For the Perfect Dressy Yet Functional Bag
“For a black tie or cocktail event, go for a structured clutch with an inside pocket and an optional shoulder strap for ultimate functionality.” – Jessica Mullevey, Rent the Runway
Diane Von Furstenberg Handbags Evil Eye Minaudiere ($50 Rental, $328 Retail)
Where do you go shopping for your fall formalwear? Tell us how you like to style your look for fall occasions in the comments below.
Getting the word out about your brand takes time, drive, and ingenuity. And it doesn't come easy for many entrepreneurs. As part of our collaboration with Office Depot, we're chatting with Selfmade alum Taylor Morgan McPherson, founder of Sustainable Sparkle Bar, about ways in which she scored press as a solo startup brand and what she learned from Selfmade to take her brand marketing up a notch.
B + C: How did you know Sustainable Sparkle Bar was your business to start?
Glitter has always been my thing, so when I started my event company I decided to make it my niche. I started telling people I threw glitter-themed parties where people would get sparkled with glitter body art and makeup. Six months after that I applied to my first festival and to work with SUR restaurant in West Hollywood.
B + C: What's one strategy that's helped you start your business?
I honestly can't say that I've had a specific strategy that I've followed when it comes to getting my business off the ground. I have a PR background so I was just constantly pitching new business and posting on social media.
B + C: What's the biggest challenge you face as a small business owner?
I would say creating a stable income and revenue stream. With a seasonal, event-based business it can be very up and down.
B + C: What was your most valuable takeaway from Selfmade?
The relationships I made and the push to start an email database.
B + C: How do you stay motivated?
I love what I do and I believe in myself 100%. Staying motivated isn't the hard part. Pushing myself to do the work and staying accountable is the hard part.
B + C: What's your best organizational tip? Do you use any apps that help you manage your business?
I keep multiple to-do lists, hand-written and digital. I also tell clients and partners that I will have something to them by a certain time or day so I have to stick to it.
B + C: What's one piece of advice you would give to female entrepreneurs on the brink of starting?
Just do it, take the leap. And don't worry about what anyone else says to thinks.
B + C: Who inspires you in the entrepreneurial space?
Issa Rae, I'm so inspired by everything that she's created being a creative and a black woman. It's my dream to have my own show one day based on my life and where I give advice and talk about the world. She's doing it and making people laugh and giving people joy. And it's based in LA. Watching Insecure only further cemented my dreams of wanting to live in LA.
B + C: How did you hear about the Office Depot scholarship?
One of my friends that I met through Camp No Counselors saw an IG ad for it and nominated me.
B + C: What has receiving the scholarship to Selfmade done to help you start/grow your business?
It's completely helped me level up and take my business to another level. Selfmade helped me host my first virtual event and taught me how to set up my website to sell tickets to events and get RSVPs.
B + C: How have Office Depot services or products helped you accomplish more in your business?
I got new cards to send in all of my orders with my discount code on them. I also bought a really cool 4K camera that I now use for my social media.
Let Office Depot OfficeMax help you stand out in the crowd. From signs, posters & banners to promote your business, to marketing materials to keep your customers informed, Office Depot OfficeMax offers a full suite of business services & solutions to help you & your business get noticed.
Head to Office Depot's Selfmade page to check out even more amazing business resources (and discounts!) to help you accomplish more on your entrepreneurial journey. These offers are available for a limited time only, so be sure to take advantage of all this goodness while supplies last. Want to join the next Selfmade cohort this summer? Check out all of the scholarship details right here.