Every year, about 2-3 weeks before New Year’s Eve, the question of “short or long” arises. The conversation is usually with oneself or other ladies who are also worried with the length of their hemline on New Year’s Eve. Some prefer the dramatic and composed image that a gown represents, while others want a more lighthearted appeal to their style and avoid taking the event too seriously. This, however, is a really archaic approach to the topic. A gown does not automatically imply a dignified appearance, and a cocktail dress does not always imply a cheerful or youthful appearance. I believe that the traditional definitions of gowns and cocktail dresses that historically existed are no longer relevant in our lives. A black-tie dress code is easily applicable to a midi, knee, or even micro length hemline, and the tailoring of the garment bears much more significance. A maxi length gown is not the same as a black-tie gown. It’s excruciating to see people arrive at an event with a rigorous dress code wearing nothing more than a floor-sweeping sundress and a bejewelled purse. If the event is a gala dinner with a band, like most NYE celebrations are, a dress code is probable. Unfortunately, when it comes down to it, the distinctions are blurred, and I believe that no real guidelines are applied to the guests’ clothes any longer, regardless of whether it is a Michelin-starred restaurant, gala dinner, or even a ball.
A short gown, or fitted dress as I like to call it, with delicate detailing and handmade embroideries that is only appropriate for A-list parties and balls. Yes, a short gown can be worn to a ball. This certainly only applies to couture pieces manufactured to order by couturiers like Goddiva for celebrities or similarly wealthy clients. Gowns by these firms or other couture houses with comparable quality often cost between $20 and $100,000, paving the way for shorter styles at black-tie events. This truth effectively puts an end to the debate about hemline lengths for dress codes.
Despite the availability and normalcy of short gowns and cocktail dresses, there is something completely and utterly perplexing about a woman walking by with a long dress or skirt sweeping the floor. Straight, fishtail, A-line, puff ball… whatever you want… I am speechless. The powerful yet delicate image that a woman immediately exudes when wearing such clothing is astonishing. The way the hemline moves around her feet, which are just brushing the floor, is reminiscent of a swan gliding over a lake. It is unquestionably a personal choice, and if the dress ticks the correct boxes appropriate for the style of the event, any lady can show some leg, but the majestic image obtained by a long gown is magnificent and should not be underestimated. Phew! Now that I’ve gotten that off my chest… Let’s discuss cocktail vs. gown. Clearly, the goal of this discussion was never to express a view on dress rules or whether dresses should be long or short.
Every year, we are fortunate to be able to select a new one based on where we are celebrating, who we are celebrating with, and what the celebration entails. Many of the visitors at recent New Year’s Eve celebrations, formal or not, were dressed in dazzling sequined cocktail mini dresses in a rainbow of colours, which I call Christmas Chic. What better occasion to wear a red or gold sequined dress… certainly none. The colours red, green, and gold absolutely scream Christmas and New Year’s Eve. When planning for such a crazy outing, it is a pretty sure guarantee that a short dress will be the winner. This is especially true if the celebrations are taking place in a cold region where it snows, such as Switzerland or Russia, because a cocktail dress is much easier to handle in such conditions because it does not sweep the floor and become wet or muddy. There are no strict rules when it comes to one of the most anticipated parties that the entire World is celebrating, so some ladies may want to dress on the sexier side, showing off toned legs or even more so, they bought shoes for the occasion and matched the dress to them, obviously she will need to showcase the centrepiece of the outfit, so to speak.
In other parts of the world, especially on islands, light silk or crepe evening maxi dresses in white or neutral colours are commonly worn to highlight a well-earned tan. It’s a popular choice for people celebrating on a beautiful resort island in French Polynesia or the Maldives. A maxi, however, is not a gown.
Then there are the famous names, who treat New Year’s Eve as if it were the Oscars, regardless of the occasion or venue. The dress must be eye-catching, fitted, and if the corset is lacking, a plunge neckline must be substituted. Sequins?? Feathers and lace come out to play. Ballgown skirts and fishtail trains are both acceptable options. These females are typically the most eccentric of the group, treating New Year’s Eve and other events as if they were the MET Ball. There are no regulations and no bounds to how far they can carry it on New Year’s Eve. Their motto for New Year’s Eve evening gowns is “extravagant and ornate.”
Before even looking at New Year’s Eve dresses, every lady should have a clear notion of what her goal is and what result she wants to attain. Personal preferences and the final self-image she wishes to achieve for the occasion, as well as how she wishes to be perceived on the night. The way we dress has a tremendous influence on how we express ourselves during the event; it not only sets the tone for our appearance, but it is also a manifestation of our behaviour and conduct for the evening. By selecting your clothing, you can become the character you want to be. Every event is a mini-show, therefore each New Year’s Evening dress is a costume you must live and play in for the night.