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Stylists forecast fashion trends at inaugural balls and parties

Thursday - 1/17/2013, 7:25am  ET

An inaugural ball fashion display at Neiman Marcus in the District's Mazza Gallerie. (WTOP/Katie Howard)
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Katie Howard,

WASHINGTON - Old Hollywood glamour paired with Washington's more conservative look will be the essence of the evening wear spotted at inaugural balls and Washington area parties.

Peplums, color and Grecian goddess one-shoulder necklines will be popular among women ballgoers, and slim cut tuxedos with a pop of color are on tab for the men, according to area stylists.

Lauren Matthews, a personal stylist in Washington with Style for Hire, works with both women and men. She says the looks worn at Sunday's Golden Globes awards are good predictors of what party-goers will wear at inaugural events this weekend.

Nancy Reagan red, white and navy blue

"This year there is a lot of red -- from bright red to crimson red," Matthews says. "The color works for a lot of women with different skin tones."

Red is flattering for many women, and it makes a statement when entering a room so accessories can be more minimal, she adds.

Matthews says she is also seeing a lot of nude and blush tone color dresses made with lace, silk, taffeta and chiffon, and the trend is a "nod to old Hollywood 20s and 30s style but with an added modern flair."

She says shift-style dresses with beading, lace and jewel details could make an appearance during Inauguration events.

"It's a style flattering on a lot of women and not specific to any season," she says.

Another complimentary look and trend for women that has made its way from sportswear to evening wear are peplums. Matthews says the flounced material slenderizes waistlines and creates curves or an hour glass look.

Lauren Rothman, founder of fashion consulting firm Styleauteur and fashion blogger for The Huffington Post, also points to the Golden Globes red carpet as a place from which inaugural looks may be borrowed. She is also seeing a lot of "Nancy Reagan red" in formal wear.

While some of the Hollywood trends will make an appearance this weekend, Washington tends to be a more conservative town, Rothman says. If the cut-out shoulder or "peak- a-boo trend" is worn at the inauguration balls, the dresses will probably have netting or an overlay attached, she explains.

Kara Allan, a stylist for Style for Hire, works with clients throughout the Washington area who will be attending this year's festivities. Allan says she is seeing a lot of "regal Grecian goddess looks" with material off the shoulder as well as diamond embellishments and lace on gowns. Popular hues include navy blue, red, purple, black and white, gold and silver or metallic combinations.

Longer sleeves, higher necklines

This year, Rothman says she avoided dressing her clients in strapless, but instead picked dresses with higher necklines and longer sleeves like the black and white gown worn by actress Julianne Moore and the two- piece evening gown on actress Anne Hathaway at Sunday's Golden Globes.

Matthews says the more covered up gowns are a safe bet among Washington party-goers as "D.C. is a more conservative town (where you) show not too much skin, but a little something."

Allan agrees the one-shoulder look and three-quarter length sleeves on gowns could be popular at events around town.

If your dress shows some skin, cover ups in faux fur or bolero jackets complement this season's gowns and dresses.

Allan warns that "accessories are to complement, not compete -- particularly with dresses that already have built-in jewelry" at the neckline of the dress or subtle details like a ribbon tie waist.

Stay away from accessories that are too "matchy," she says, adding that it's best to keep accessories and jewelry simple.

The James Bond look

The classic tuxedo and evening suit looks for men are also seeing updates of slimmer pant legs and jacket lapels.

Matthews says men can't go wrong with wearing a tux, but she advises it should be "nicely cut with a slim leg."

Monochromatic suits in navy blue or charcoal gray, instead of all black, and thin pin stripes can present a dapper look, she adds.

"Instead of a bow tie, try a tie in an evening-type fabric like a sateen," Matthews suggests.

Allan points men to consult actor Daniel Craig's red carpet looks because "whatever it is, he just rocks it out." She adds that mixing navy blue and black makes for a newer tuxedo look in a more modern cut as the "flamboyant, wider lapels" look is a little more dated.

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