I had never been to a “black tie” event before I moved to England. I now go to about a half dozen a year. And this has required a significant change in my wardrobe. These are all additions, tucked back in the depths of my wardrobe/closet for most of the year, but I need to have clothes available for such occasions. When I first moved here, I focussed on more traditional attire–I now have several ankle-length ball gowns. But I’m a tomboy, an engineer/physicist who wears trousers (BrE)/pants (AmE) [blame @lynneguist for my language-based notation] all of the time. So I’ve been searching for a way to be both comfortable and appropriately dressed at said occasions.
When I was in China earlier this year, I had the chance to drool around the Shanghai (Xintiandi) store of Shanghai Tang, one of the premiere Chinese fashion brands. I was in love. Interesting clothes, beautifully made, and distinctive compared to what I normally see when I try to shop for things to wear to fancy occasions. I bought a top, which was the single most expensive piece of clothing I have ever had and I hope you agree with me that it was worth it:
Black, of course. Just as in the photo.
Tonight it made its debut, at the black tie dinner I had to attend for work. I wore it slightly open at the top, with a sequined silky tank underneath and plain black trousers. I jazzed it up with chunky gold and semi-precious stone jewelry. I am not a super fashionista, but I have to admit that I felt special in this ensemble, and far more comfortable than I’ve ever been wearing a ball gown at a dinner thing. Shanghai Tang, you have my loyalty and given what I see in your online catalog, I’ll be back for more.
You can blame me for your annotation, but I don’t think you can blame England per se for the black tie events. I’ve lived in the UK for 11 years and have never been invited to one. So the question is open: are you just hanging out with fancier people in the UK than you did in the US, or are there more fancy situations in the UK than in the US. I think there’s quite a bit of fancy in the US if you’re in the right milieu, but how would I know. I never got to go to black tie things there either. Not even the prom.
Years ago one of my students (from Hong Kong) gave me a Shanghai Tang t-shirt. I didn’t know the brand name at the time. It was definitely something a little different.
Can’t go wrong with a Shanghai Tang, and the piece you got is classic. Love how you jazzed it all up — and with your hairstyle (which I could kill for) — WOW. 🙂