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Stephanie Hayes, Katie Sanders, Kameel Stanley, & Keyonna Summers

Neiman Marcus' Ken Downing offers fashion tips for holiday parties



Major black Ken Downing, who says he has been interested in fashion "since I can remember remembering," has some pretty solid street cred given his role as senior vice president and fashion director for Neiman Marcus.

So whom better to ask what we should wear to holiday parties this winter season? We snatched a few minutes of Mr. Downing's time when he made a stop in Tampa recently to pose this burning question, and he delivered some most excellent tips.

It's all about attitude: "My number one tip is always confidence, confidence, confidence. At the end of the day, confidence is 95 percent of fashion. If you feel great in what you’re wearing, you look great in what you’re wearing. If you’re not feeling confident in it, you can’t carry it off."

Go bold with black: "I love the major black dress. Not the LBD of the past, but a terrific black dress that has a lot of va-voom and a lot of excitement. Generally with embellishment or certainly one-shoulder styles."

Bring on the bling: "Certainly costume jewelry and accessorizing is a great way to bring a lot of added excitement to something you already have in your closet. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with re-loving things you already own."

Nudity, or a little bootie: "I love the idea of a nude shoe. We saw a lot of it on the spring runways, and if you’re going to wear a terrific black dress, a black shoe is obvious. But wear a terrific shoe that has more of a neutral tone or nude tone to it. I think it’s super sexy and a really modern way to wear a little black dress.

"And also a shoe bootie. A lot of people don’t think of the idea of a bootie for an evening shoe, but it certainly brings a bit of that ’80s attitude that we saw so much on the fall runway. And it brings a little bit more of an edge to the idea of cocktail dressing. I love a great little high-heeled bootie with a cocktail dress. I think it gives it a real modern touch."

Deal Diva Colleen

(Photo: Though we might not all be able to afford Neiman Marcus' major black dresses, they have a lot of really great styles to use as inspiration, including the one pictured above, or this one, or this one.)

[Last modified: Thursday, May 20, 2010 5:22pm]


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