This is a guest post by one of my favourite people, Robyn J., on her recent experience in getting ready for the AGA’s Refinery Late Night Party, and its rather unique dress code.
I was recently faced with a very unusual fashion challenge. The Art Gallery of Alberta hosts the Refinery Late Night Party every few months. These parties are usually a pretty swanky and a lot of fun. They organize entertainment, activities, and decor around one of the current exhibits. The theme for the Refinery Party in November was “Explorers of the North and the Monsters who Killed Them”, to honour the current “Up North” exhibit. The suggested dress code was ‘lumberjack formal’. Their only direction was “any combination of formal attire and woodsman survivalist is the idea. That might mean a nice gown and hiking boots . . . or a suit, tie and fur hat! Plaid shirts, bowties, huge beards, Michael Kors, wool scarves and patent-leather shoes.” Although this was an exciting challenge, I also felt that there would be a fine line between dressing like a lumberjack (a la Halloween costume) and incorporating lumberjack-inspired items into my outfit.
Of course, I scoured the internet for inspiration. I decided that I wouldn’t take the lumberjack theme too far and maybe just dress up a plaid shirt. My initial idea was along the lines of a plaid shirt, black leather mini-skirt and pumps. My next source of inspiration and advice was our favourite fashion blogger at Blue Collar Red Lipstick. She provided some really great suggestions that factored heavily into my final outfit: booties, layers of girly necklaces, and Sharon Stone’s Oscar outfit.
I loved how Sharon Stone’s outfit took a plain white dress shirt and made it both sexy and black tie appropriate. I loved the idea of the booties – dressy and edgy all at once. And the girly necklaces would help to glam-up the plaid shirt. All of this gave me a really clear vision for my outfit – I wanted something edgy, yet feminine. Now I just had to find all the pieces to put it together. Thankfully, I had a few weeks to shop. Here’s what I came up with:
I found my lovely sequined skirt at Smart Set. It’s meant to be quite loose fitting and this made it very comfortable to wear (and sit in). I think this also gives it the “rocker” vibe I was looking for. My plaid shirt was from Garage, on sale, and it’s so comfy that I’ll definitely get lots more use out of it. I found all my great accessories at Superstore (making them very affordable). I bought two sets of bracelets and mixed and matched to get the perfect combination. Finally, a wonderful friend agreed to lend me her booties, and they were the perfect finishing touch!