By Bari Cener
We get it. After skimming the details of a Bar/Bat Mitzvah invitation – the date, the time, the place – you get to the very bottom and the hosts have requested a dress code that will make you question your wardrobe. Masquerade? Denim and Diamonds? White Party? Unless you’re living it up with P. Diddy in the Hamptons, you’re going to be sweating it out over the fashion statement you want to make. But keep your cool ladies; in most cases, you may be able to pull something from your closet and mix it with a trendy new statement piece. After all, you are one of a kind and your style should reflect that. To help, we’ve asked the experts to weigh in on what budding fashionistas can wear to parties that call for casual, black tie and everything in between; plus we’ve got some advice for moms, too.
“Even when an invitation calls for casual you should be dressed up nicely,” says Fran Arzanipour, owner of 2 B Seen in Syosset. Since today’s mitzvah can take place at a unique venue like a basketball facility or a racetrack, finding the perfect outfit that’s both comfortable and appropriate for the occasion can be tricky. “It can be as simple as leather leggings paired with a great top and killer shoes,” she says.
In Your Closet: • Waxed jeans • Dressy wedges • Metallic mini skirt
Go Shopping For: • Sparkly flats • Leather bolero jacket • An embellished sweater
Tell Your Mom to Wear: • A flowy, belted dress • Black slim fit pants • A textured blazer
Izzy (left) chose an ABS dress purchased at Sakes Fifth Avenue for her service. Julia (right) wore a MIGNON dress for her service purchased at A Step Ahead in Stamford, Connecticut – jacket from Bloomingdale’s
Photo credit (L) Bentley Waters Photography, (R) LiflanderPhotography.com
DRESS TO IMPRESS
You’ll have the most flexibility here, with Club Chic, Festive, and Party Attire all falling under this dress code category. It’s the perfect opportunity to show off your individual style with something a little different. A snakeskin embossed dress or a fur skirt is fun and modern and “pairing them with small, simple jewelry keeps it youthful” says Arzanipour. This is a time to be bold. Choose luxe fabrics; experiment with a color you’ve never worn before, and remember your best asset – confidence.
In Your Closet: • Leather leggings or satin pants • Sheer top • Dozens of bangle bracelets
Go Shopping For: • Bandage dress • Chain belt • Patterned palazzo pants
Tell Your Mom to Wear: • A leather dress • A silky halter top • 4-inch heels
Lindsey’s service dress is from David’s Bridal in Westbury, New York, with decorative rhinestone trim from M&J Trimmings in NYC
Photo credit: Alex M. Wolff’s Portrait Shoppe
BLACK TIE OPTIONAL
Black tie optional was originally created so that men who didn’t have a tuxedo in their closet wouldn’t feel obligated to rent or buy one. By contrast, the women who had a gorgeous gown they wanted to wear wouldn’t feel out of place. “If you’re lucky enough to be invited to a black tie optional affair after you’ve hosted your own, many girls and their moms cut the length of
the dress they wore to their own mitzvah,” says Andrea Campanile of Eleanor Shain, Ltd. in Brooklyn.
To flatter a smaller figure, a rhinestone-accented or beaded dress should be fitted to the body and hemmed just above the knee. For girls wanting less cling, try a bejeweled, corset-like bodice with an ombre tulle skirt. Depending on how embellished the dress is, silver or small-stoned jewelry can be added to finish the look.
In Your Closet: • Small silver hoop earrings • Short stretchy skirt • Your bat mitzvah dress
Go Shopping For: • A sequined sheath • Personalized clutch • Crystal corset-top dress
Tell Your Mom to Wear: • Faux fur wrap • Strapless satin jumpsuit • A perfectly draped cobalt blue or red dress
Carly’s hot pink ball gown is from 2B Seen
Photo credit: Simon Elliot Events
Right now, black tie dresses are very celebrity-driven, with looks from the red carpet being emulated by formal wear
designers. “Influences from the VMA’s, Oscars, and even the MTV Video Awards are all being transformed into versions that
smaller figures can wear,” says Schain.
Airy and light, chiffon moves with the body and can be mixed with a more structured fabric like leather for a sleeker look.
Satins and silks are being reinvented with crystals, large rhinestones and intricate beadwork, adding texture to traditionally
smooth materials. Edgy embellishments such as grommets, nail heads and studs are all over the runways, particularly on
spongy, stretchy fabric like neoprene. “Daughters want to dress like their moms, only younger” says Schain. But it may be
your parent who decides “what’s appropriate.”
In Your Closet: • Black or metallic heels • Stone-embellished clutch • Crystal jewelry
Go Shopping For: • Strapless sweetheart necklines • Neoprene fabrics in jewel tones • A feather wrap
Tell Your Mom to Wear: • An open-backed caviar beaded gown • A slitted décolletage • Vintage necklace
Grace wore a Morilee gown from A Step Ahead
Photo credit: Chad David Kraus Photography
NAVY IS THE NEW BLACK
The LBD will never go out of style. You can dress it up with stunning accessories, dress it down with a denim jacket and cowboy boots or wear it in leather for a chic rocker-chick ensemble. But on a 13-year-old, black can be overwhelming and, dare we say it, a little too sophisticated. Navy is a fresh way to wear this classic fashion staple in multiple textures and fabrics. Accented with metallic heels and coordinating jewelry, the result is youthful and modern.
While 3-inch heels are still the most popular choice for girls, many are choosing rhinestone encrusted sneakers and
boots instead of traditional sky-high stilts. One DIY mom bought her daughter a Converse-like sneaker with a small
wedge in the heel: “They came with studded stars, and then I embellished the rest of them with stones that matched her
dress,” says Randee Mandelbaum. “They were perfect.”
Photo Credit: DonaLisa Photography
Photo Credit: Jesse Hernandez Photography
DRESS HIM LIKE BECKHAM
Who says girls get to have all the fun when it comes to dressing up for their Bat Mitzvahs? Toni Cohn, boy’s buyer at
Lester’s stores, shares some tips on the latest styles for the guys for every type of party:
At A Sports Complex: Why not dress the part? Player-inspired gear from Kevin Durant and LeBron James come in
complete outfits, with matching jackets, pants, shorts and tees. “The three leading sports apparel brands are Nike, Adidas
and Under Armour,” says Cohn. “A coordinated outfit with (spotless!) sneakers looks pulled together” and will keep any
boy comfortable and coordinated while getting in on the action.
At A Club: A button down woven shirt from Robert Graham or Brandolini, paired with a premium jean is just the right
amount of casual-meets-dressed up. “At a fancier club, choose a flat front pant with clean lines but with the same kind of
shirt to keep the look laid back,” says Cohn. For boys who like a hipster vibe, a sport jacket with velvet trim, or an oxford
suede wingtip shoe adds a touch of cool.
Black Tie Optional: Trendy black tie optional attire is usually a sport coat, dress pants and a colored dress shirt.
But the real opportunity to show some style is with the tie. Think slim and choose plenty of color and texture. Geo prints,
plaids and tone-on-tone are the standouts this season.
Black Tie: Sometimes a classic is a classic for a reason. For a formal affair, a black suit with a white shirt and black tie is
still the best choice. If traditional isn’t your thing, why not be unique with a colored or patterned tie or a pair of suspenders
and a matching bowtie.
This story is from new 2014 Mitzvah Market Magazine. If you would like to request a free copy, click here.