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On special night out, shine like a star  

Nothing says special occasion more than this Jacaranda

Nothing says special occasion more than this Jacaranda empire waist black gown, sold for $54.99 at KaRa at Smith Haven Mall in Lake Grove. Credit: William Perlman

Watching the stars cross the red carpet during awards season makes a lot of us mere mortals feel we need to step up our wardrobe — especially when it comes to going out for a special occasion such as an elegant dinner or party.

“It doesn’t matter what age group, people like watching the red carpet to see what colors and styles are in,” says Danielle Merollo, personal shopping director for the Americana Manhasset shopping center. “They’re looking at the trendsetters.”

Merollo says to set your sights every year on the stars attending such events as the Grammys, Emmys and Oscars to get the scoop on what’s next in the latest looks.

“What you see at the Golden Globes and Oscars will hit the stores in June — they’re doing a season ahead,” Merollo says of awards show fashions.

 As usual, certain colors were among the awards season trends this year, and joining the color bandwagon with just an accessory in a hot hue is an inexpensive way of getting on trend.

Pink was worn by Emily Blunt, Laurie Holden, Kate Nash and Gemma Chan, and bright to dark reds were the choice for Rumer Willis, Laverne Cox and Jane Fonda. Black with silver was seen on Rachel Weisz, Mandy Moore and Lupita Nyong’o .

A lot of male stars rocked traditional tuxedo looks, but the group that showed their peacock sides included John Krasinski, Henry Golding, Michael B. Jordan, Eddie Griffin and Mahershala Ali. They were seen suited in colors including blue, burgundy and green, and in polka dots and checks from designers such as Louis Vuitton, Ermenegildo Zegna and David Hart.

So, if you want to steal the style of a Hollywood A-lister or kicking things up a notch by just accessorizing in a trendy color, here are some outfits that should make you a winner.

Tips for formal occasion outfits from various stylists:


  • For cocktail parties, an above-the-knee dress with high heels is a winning look. It can be a dress in an interesting color or with embellishments but keep the look sophisticated. When in doubt, wear your LBD — the little black dress should be a staple in any woman’s wardrobe.
  •  A floor-length dress or gown is best for an elevated occasion such as a black-tie event.
  • Wear a clutch with your special occasion outfit because larger bags are far too casual and bulky for dressy looks. Buy a clutch with an attached chain that can be tucked inside the bag so you have the option of wearing it on your shoulder or carrying it in your hand.
  • A rhinestone necklace, ring or bracelet can give your outfit some bling if diamonds don’t fit your pocketbook.


  •  If you’re not wearing a bow tie, your tie should reach the top of your belt.
  •  A half- inch of the cuffs of your button-down shirt should peek below the jacket sleeves. 
  •  Always tuck a shirt collar into the lapel of the blazer for a neat, well put-together look, whether you are wearing a tie.
  •  Make sure your shoes are shined.
  • Always have a stylish black belt and an elegant pair of black shoes on hand for special occasions. They’ll be your go-tos for many outfits.


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