You’ll receive a free gift with purchase at the event. Nicole Miller will auction a one-of-a-kind dress, you’ll enjoy Heaven Hill cocktails and 10 percent of the night’s proceeds will benefit the Backside Learning Center at Churchill Downs.
The Nicole Miller representative will be available Thursday to help with your wardrobe selection as well as from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday, March 11 at Rodeo Drive, 2212 Holiday Manor Center.
Whether it's Valentine's Day, an anniversary, a reunion, or your 50th birthday party (why not?), there are moments in life when we want to ramp up our sex appeal and we often start with our clothing. But the quest for sexy style is occasionally fraught with peril.
One woman's slinky date night dress is another woman's worst fashion disaster. The rookie move is to take the obvious route and reach for the tightest, shortest garment you can squeeze into and it often leads to an un-sexy evening of tugging at your hemline or fasting at a fabulous restaurant as you struggle to exhale in your Spanx. Not the effect you were aiming for.
There's nothing wrong with wanting to look and feel sexy – on date night or any other day for that matter. And anyone can pull it off – regardless of body type, age or personal style. It's just a matter of putting a little life experience and common sense into the style equation and (for some) realizing that your life is not a Victoria's Secret catalog shoot.
"Sexy doesn't have to be about showing a lot of skin or wearing something tight," said Lucie Stansbury, owner of Liv Boutique in St. Matthews. "It's about wearing something you feel really good in."
While part of dressing and feeling sexy is being confident enough to break the rules and make your own, there are guidelines that can streamline the wardrobe selection process. To get at those, I talked to a few fashion experts around town, photographed three women of different ages who all manage to exude an effortless sexiness, and threw in my own expertise from years of dressing women of all ages and shapes.
Here, our ageless, size-less sexy style primer:
Rule No. 1: Be comfortable.
Really. "Sometimes I see young girls in these crazy high heels and slinky dresses and they're tripping over their own feet and I think they look miserable," said Carrie King, 39, Realtor and co-owner of Homepage Realty in St. Matthews. "I feel sexy when I feel great in what I'm wearing."
The emotional part of the getting-dressed-to-wow equation is what tends to get overlooked, but it's where every great outfit should start.
Slip and falls are not seductive.
Let's be honest: Heels are generally more flattering than flats. They elongate your legs and your entire silhouette – they can even slim your waist and sculpt your backside. (All that from something without an ounce of Lycra in it.)
But the mistake many women make is wearing a pair of too-high heels that hampers their intended plans.
"The way you move in your clothes is as important as the way they look when you're standing still in the mirror," Stansbury said. "Wear high heels but not so high that you impair your movement." Even a little kitten heel can upgrade an outfit from work to wow. Don't be a hero.
Be strategic with accessories.
Think of accessories as the highlighter of your ensemble – use them to emphasize some features and de-emphasize others.
For instance, a pair of long earrings can draw attention to your shoulders if you're wearing an off-the-shoulder sweater. A short necklace can make your neck a focal point in a strapless dress, while a long one can draw attention elsewhere. A cocktail ring can play up a pretty manicure or direct a gaze anywhere it goes.
Don't overlook the power of a well-chosen statement piece.
It's OK to dress younger if you feel younger ... within reason.
Raquel Koff, 58, in a sexy fitted turtleneck and knee-length BCBG fringe leather skirt from her Rodeo Drive boutique. (Photo: Matt Herp, Matt Herp, Special to the C-J)
"A 50-year-old with a great body can rock a cropped top if she feels good in it," Stansbury said. "And it depends on where you're going. If you're on vacation, go for it."
Just don't go too far.
"Your look has to evolve," said Raquel Koff, owner of Rodeo Drive Boutique. "I'm 58 and I can't dress like I was 28, for sure. Where then I would have worn a really short tight skirt and high heels, I wouldn't do it the same way now. I would wear a sexy, fitted dress and high heels, but the dress wouldn't be quite as short or tight and the heels wouldn't be quite as high."
While there's no age limit on trends, most women I talked to agreed that there is a point where balancing your risque pieces becomes more important. Where that falls precisely depends on your figure, your personality and the context.
"There are times when I wear the same piece as my 19-year-old niece, but I usually put it together in a more sophisticated way," King said. "For example, I wear those lingerie style tops, but I wear them underneath a fitted blazer with a pair of flared pants. She'd wear it with short denim shorts."
Don't forget the touch factor.
Fabrics that feel wonderful to the touch are not only a pleasure to wear, but they make you look touchable too.
"Cashmere is universally sexy," Koff said. Pair a cozy cashmere sweater with some leather leggings – no matter what your age – and you may never wear a tight dress again.
Pick one body part.
Crissa Chandler, 23, a computer technology student and model for Heyman Talent, balances a plunging top with high-waisted curve-hugging pants. (Photo: David Harrison, The CJ)
If you like rules, the thinking that you should limit yourself to revealing one body part per outfit is a pretty good one, especially as you get past your 20s. Rock a short mini skirt but skip the cropped top. Go for a plunging neckline but not the short leather shorts.
"If I wear a backless dress, it's covered in front," said Crissa Candler, 23, a computer technology student and Heyman model. "If I wear something short, I balance it with a flowing top."
It's a rare women who can manage to showcase every physical attribute all at once and still project an air of effortlessness.
Which leads me to another bit of style wisdom: Trying too hard isn't sexy in any decade.
Christine Fellingham can be reached at email@example.com or (502) 582-4472.
Our guide to the best shopping steals & deals
The allure of Black Friday has always been lost on me. I'd much rather sip my coffee a few hours later, at the kitchen table, while enjoying a rare lazy morning with the family then sip it out of a thermal cup at 6 a.m. while standing on a sidewalk with a couple hundred frenzied, over-caffeinated strangers.
And the thought of racing around stores trying to grab the last big screen television, hot toy or i-thing makes me want to throw out the wish lists and go back to handmade gifting. I may cover shopping for a living, but that's not shopping - it's a blood sport. And, while I have friends and family members who swear by this tradition, it's just not for me.
I'm going to suggest an alternate holiday shopping ritual that might be a keeper: Get up when you wake up. Eat breakfast together (how often do you do that?) and head out for an unhurried day of local browsing and buying.
Chances are, you won't get into it with some jerk in the audio visual department, you won't find yourself fretting in the parking lots and you won't wind up throwing elbows over a pile of some crazy object you didn't even know you wanted until everyone else rushed for it.
The gifts you take home will be more personal, your conversations more pleasurable and your pulse rate lower. And if you think the kids won't enjoy it, you're wrong.
I've found that teens and tweens are often intrigued by browsing through less generic items they haven't seen a million times before at a chain store or on their devices. And, odds are, they'll be able to snag some free cookies, tea, mulled cider that you're more likely to spot in a cozy little shop than you are, say, at Target. The holiday season is a great time to introduce them to the concept of supporting small businesses.
And if you're looking for deals while you're supporting local entrepreneurs, there are plenty to be found. I've listed just a few below. And, then, of course, there's the fact that when you buy local, you're already getting more for your money: a meaningful gift and a contribution to your neighbors and friends who make our city such a unique and vibrant place to live.
LOCAL BLACK FRIDAY AND BEYOND: A SHORT LIST OF STEALS, DEALS AND DISCOUNTS
Whether you’re avoiding the mega-chains or looking to do some less frenzied shopping after you escape, there are plenty of deals to be found between now and Christmas at local retailers. If you don’t see your favorite stores here, check their Facebook page and check the pages of the stores below for additional sales. Or follow me on Twitter, where I’ll provide regular updates (@herscene).
1301 Herr Lane, Suite 170, (502) 708-2822
As part of the Westport Village Small Business Saturday celebration, this trendy, well-priced boutique is offering 20 percent off everything on Nov. 28.
Clay & Cotton boutique in Norton Commons. Nov. 20, 2014. (Photo: Jessica Ebelhar/The Courier-Journal)
1341 Bardstown Road, (502) 456-5536
This laid-back source for luxe bohemian fashion and home decor will be offering 20 percent off all new apparel - from lines like Johnny Was, Nomadic Trader, XCVI Westonwear, Testimony, from this Saturday, Dec. 21, through Dec. 29.
3725 Lexington Road, (502) 891-0079
Bring your gently-used coat into this St. Matthews boutique as a donation to the Salvation Army coat drive during the weekend of Nov 27, 28 and 29th and you'll receive twenty-five percent off your entire purchase.
12123 Shelbyville Road, (502) 253-1350
Both Friday and Saturday, their civilized early bird special - 30 percent off storewide - runs from 10 a.m.-noon. After noon, it's 25 percent off storewide (excluding custom items). And monogrammable purses are marked down to $24 - from $38. (Add $10 for the monogram). And if you spend $200, you can choose a free gift from under their tree.
5045 Shelbyville Road, (502) 896-6755
Check out their annual Thanksgiving sidewalk sale, Friday-Sunday at 5 p.m., for deals on decor, gifts, craft items.
805 East Market Street, (502) 681-5576
A favorite destination for locally-made clothing, accessories, artwork, home goods and more, this NuLu hot spot has their big holiday push on Small Business Saturday. They'll have a grab bag of discounts where customers can draw random five, 10, 15, 20, 25, 50 or 75 percent and "one item free" cards.
JOSEPH'S SALON AND SPA
3938 Dutchmans Lane, (502) 897-5369
Starting Monday November 23, through Tuesday, December 15, get twenty percent off of any Aveda gift sets including their aromatic hair, bath and body products and candles. (Regular prices ranging from $17 to $85).
1201 Story Ave. in Butchertown Market, (502) 365-3405; 11613 Main Street in Middletown, (502) 797-3400.
Their handmade, natural beauty products for her and him are the perfect pampering gift for just about anyone. On Black Friday and Saturday, they'll offer giveaways to the first 50 shoppers and 20 percent off all sleepwear ... plus everyone who spends $25 or more gets their choice of a free lip balm, lip scrub or two-ounce lotion.
801 E Market Street, (502) 690-5707
During the NuLu Holiday Open House this weekend, this cozy boutique filled with handmade (on the premises) beauty products, candles and gifts is offering 20 percent off all holiday merchandise. They'll also have extended hours, prizes and flash sales on Small Business Saturday and 20 percent off their online products on Cyber Monday with the code cybermonday2015.
This wonderful, locally-owned toy store is the best place to browse with your kiddies and will make you remember days before the mega toy store ... and they're offering 15 percent off everything on Small Business Saturday.
The remodled interior of Rodeo Drive, in Holiday Manor Shopping Center. Oct. 20, 2015. (Photo: By Pat McDonogh, The CJ)
2212 Holiday Manor Center, Louisville, (502) 425-8999
If you haven't been to this freshly renovated designer boutique full of coveted lines like Alice + Olivia, Tracy Reese, Nicole Miller and Stuart Weitzman, now's the time. Starting Dec. 1 through Christmas Eve, you can save 20 percent off a single item every time you bring in a donation for the Family Scholar House, a wonderful community organization that supports women and children who have experienced homelessness or domestic violence. (Items needed include toiletries, spa kits, lotions, picture frames, perfumes, scarves and any items that make great small gifts.) And during their Twelve Days of Christmas (the 12 days before Dec. 25); they'll also be sending out email blasts and posting about special last-minute deals on social media.
12121 Shelbyville Road, (502) 254-0400
In case you haven't been yet, this friendly shop in Middletown is the perfect place to pick up thoughtful gifts for teachers, hostesses, babysitters, friends, family, you name it. And starting Monday, Nov. 23, they're offering 20 percent off everything right through Small Business Saturday. After that, they'll have specials every day through Christmas - on scarves, jewelry, ornaments. Check Facebook/TwoChicksandCo daily for details.
657 S Hurstbourne Parkway, (502) 423-9822
This inviting East End boutique has piles of cashmere wraps, fur scarves, gloves, fabulous accessories and designer fashion from Joseph Ribkoff, Frank Lyman and don't forget those crazy-flattering Lizette pants. On Black Friday and Small Business Saturday, you can enjoy refreshments, free gift wrapping and a gift-able $40 fur key chain/purse charm with every purchase over $200.
Reach Christine Fellingham at (502) 582-4472. Follow her on Twitter at @herscene.