The holiday party season is in full swing and I have exactly one thing on my mind: ball skirts. Believe it. My go-to for parties last year was a DVF jumpsuit. If you are just getting on that train, good for you. Stick with it. Jumpsuits show confidence without being over the top.
If you, like me, are always searching for the next best thing, if you seek a new way to dress for a party that isn't the same outfit recycled, might I introduce you to the ball skirt? It may seem crazy, but trust me, this one piece can add magic and functionality to your social life. Think holiday parties, weddings, and for the very bold, an evening out. As your very own personal stylist for women in the Seattle area, I will prove to you, Dear Reader, it can be done.
Let's begin with a definition of ball skirts. They are exactly what you think they are: a ball gown cut in half. My favorites include pockets. The most efficient way to find the right one for you is to hit the Nordstrom website or visit a store. I very rarely send folks to just one retailer, but I'm obsessed with this up and coming style and Nordstrom is really the place to find it locally. Here are a few of my favs.
Now that you know what I'm talking about, let's dive right into how you wear them.
When, where and how do I Wear a Ball Skirt?
1. With a leather crop top.
If you are over 35, it's unlikely that you see yourself running off to buy a crop top. But, I can promise you, there is a time and place for them. (If you need more on this see my post about How to Wear a Crop Top.) One of the reasons I adore a ball skirt is because it is truly functional. It's long enough to allow you to wear comfortable shoes or boots. It empowers you to look stunning while keeping you warm. It also allows you to go out without shaving your legs or if you can't find the right hosiery. Because ball gowns are high waisted, they show off the smallest part of your frame, so they are flattering for most body types. A leather crop top adds edge to the look without actually showing your stomach. And, it ensures that you don't look like a bride, which is a key component of styling. I recently wore this crop top with the floral ball skirt above to a holiday party and expect to rock it again for New Year's (despite having another original plan). It's just that good together.
2. With a sexy long sleeved top.
I often hear women complain about feeling cold in cocktail attire. Try a ball skirt and a long sleeved top. If this is for an evening event or a wedding, you'll want to make sure the top is still dressy. Long sleeves mean you can avoid having to layer a jacket or sweater over top. As an aside, if you need a jacket with a ball gown, a leather option or blazer can work, depending on the length. If you are still cold, leggings are effective and can't be seen.
Remember to show off your tiny rib cage that this high waisted style showcases. If you are heading to a more conservative affair, like a wedding or baptism or bar mitzvah, a fitted long sleeve top with less sex appeal will do. You might notice that I'm sticking with tops from Forever 21 right now. It's important to be strategic when investing in pieces. You'll be spending $100, $200 or even more on your ball skirt, so why not save on the top? If you don't see yourself wearing crop tops except with high waisted options, find more affordable pieces. Who are we kidding? Forever 21 is a one stop shop for crop tops under $40.
3. With something the sparkles.
Tis the season! If you are a girl who adores sparkles, this is an unexpected way to pull some bling into your look. Boxy tops are better for apple shaped bodies and this piece from Forever 21 (again, think cost per wear), is comfortable, stylish and works with a ball skirt. It can also minimize your stomach, although, don't discount that same effect from a fitted crop top. The boxy top also works well if you absolutely do not want a crop top, but still want your outfit to be full on party. If you are ready for a cropped look, try the option on the right. If you have a triangle or rectangle shaped body the style of the black top is just right for you. If you have an inverted triangle shaped body, the spagetti straps will likely make your shoulders look more broad. Stick with a thicker strap. A shiny top works well for New Year's festivities or formal events throughout the year.
4. With a classic tee.
It's common to buy a dress (or jumpsuit!) for holiday parties and then just shove it in the back of your closet until a friend comes over to borrow it two years later. The ball skirt gives you more freedom to utilize the piece throughout the year, depending on the fabric and print. Initially, I looked a burgundy and gold option but then fell in love with the blue and black floral skirt above. Ultimately I went with the blue. Why? Because the burgundy and gold skirt can really only be worn in colder weather. However, I plan to use the floral skirt with a more casual top in the spring for a Bar mitzvah in LA. Personally, I LOVE it with this striped boatneck top. A long sleeved striped top is as versitile as a basic tee and more interesting. Mixing prints shows confidence and skill. Plus, stripes are great with florals. Remember to go with necklines that flatter your frame. A v-neck or deep scoop neck is universally flattering. Boatnecks maximize your breasts and work unless you have broad shoulders. In that case, go for the v.
If the stripe/ print combo is too bold, opt for a solid skirt and the striped top. Or, try a basic white tee or a ribbed tank top and the ball skirt. A shoe with a heel seals the deal. Let your accessories (or lack thereof) complete the look. Options include a chunky necklace, a leather cuff, a large cocktail ring, diamond studs or pearls. A clutch is best with this voluminous skirt.
5. With a classic button down.
Think Diane Keaton. Classic, sophisticated and totally appropriate for a work event when you are the boss. A pressed button down balance out the feminine ball skirt. Solid white, chambray or classic patterns are great to start. A bold necklace is a must for this look. Try this at a dressy wedding and style it for the season. It works well in the warmer months, but still keeps you comfortable for the chilly weather. This is also a way to ensure you are covering your skin for occassions that call for that. Just make sure that you tuck in your top to show off your small rib cage.
Ball skirts are functional, fabulous and timeless. Because they make such a statement, you'll likely put your skirt away for a couple of years after multiple wears; but know that you can bring it out once again when the mood strikes. Also, this is a nice primer to think about wearing maxi skirts throughout the year. More on that another day....
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