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Dress Conservative and Still Have a Little Style

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Dear Budget Fashionista: I’m the female dinner speaker for an evening black tie military event (I’m not military). The soldiers will be dressed in blues and I need to be comfortable. What do you suggest?

The Budget Fashionista: The key to situations like this, when you’re speaking to a more conservative and traditional audience, is simple elegance. As the speaker, you want people to pay attention to what you say, rather than what you wear. However, as a stylista, you want to add a little of your own style.

In this situation, start with a very simple foundation—like a simple black or dark blue shirtdress (like the one here at Silhoulettes) or a simple black or blue pants suit. Now, if you’re a hot mama like me, and have a little extra dough, you might even consider a red dress with a more conservative, but still feminine, cut like this like the hot little number shown above from Ann Taylor.

Next, use this trick I use whenever I speak in public—wear a fabulous, but simple, necklace (make sure it’s doesn’t reflect light, you don’t want to blind your audience) or scarf close to your neck/face. Why? The placement of a scarf or necklace close to your face draws the audience’s attention towards your mouth, and of course, your words.


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