The Silicon Prairie Awards are right around the corner on May 2. The SPAwards is a formal affair, but black tie doesn’t have to mean boring. We checked in with Heather Hooton, half of the duo behind fashion photographers Heather and Jameson and portrait photographers Hooton Images, for her take on black tie.
As the official photographers and videographers of Omaha’s Fashion Week, and regulars of Omaha Design Center events, the Hootons are no strangers to fashion and a great source for tips on how to look and feel your best at a black tie event.
What are some dos and don’ts of formal wear?
Do get inspired by the runway! This look that I wore to Omaha Fashion Week was entirely based on on the Givenchy Spring 2017 Ready-to-Wear look #8. My photoshoot stylist glued a belt and a coaster together to make this necklace and the dress was a vintage find from local designer NueVintage. It was super inexpensive to put together but I got SO many compliments!
Don’t wear something you’re not comfortable in. Yes, you want to go all out, but if your shoes hurt and will keep you stuck at the table instead of milling and having fun, what’s the point?? If your dress doesn’t fit right and you’ll be tugging at it all night instead of focusing on friends and cocktails, what’s the point?? Test run your outfit beforehand at home – eat dinner, do some light chores and feel out your look. If you aren’t DYING to take it off after an hour, you should be okay.
Do embrace menswear. Suit jackets aren’t just for the boys anymore, and with the re-birth of the statement shoulder, you can rock those oversized 80s blazers like a boss.
Don’t wait until the last minute. Black tie outfits take time and you don’t want to be in a flustered mess right before the event. Start shopping now. If you find something perfect then, great! If not, you still have plenty of time for more trips.
How can people achieve a formal look on a budget?
Omaha has many INCREDIBLY talented designers who can create a custom gown for you or alter an existing gown for much less than you think. You are guaranteed to be the only lady in that dress, receive a ridiculous amount of compliments and support a local artist.
The quickest and easiest solution to a black tie or black tie optional event has to be the jumpsuit. (They currently have several to DIE for at Hello Holiday.) It’s sophisticated enough to stand alongside gowns, simple enough that you don’t have to do a bunch of work beforehand.
Also, do you remember all of those fashion designers I mentioned? You can always rent a gown from them, too! Browse the Omaha Fashion Week Facebook photos, find a designer you like and write them!
But the best advice I can give people is to spend time. Spend time trying things on, check out different local boutiques, take a break for a glass of wine and then spend more time shopping. You can check out one of the amazing consignment stores in town like Esther’s and Scout, or you can go hardcore thrifting at places like Salvation Army, Thrift World, Thrift America and Goodwill.
If you buy a simple dress, splurge for statement earrings (which are ALL the rage on the runway right now) from a local designer like Heather Kita, Earthen Joy or someone being featured at a local art gallery.
2017 Silicon Prairie Awards
When: May 2, 2017, 7-10 p.m.
Where: Omaha Design Center (1502 Cuming St)
For sponsorship and table reservations, contact Brian Lee at email@example.com or 402.345.5025 x343.