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Angela Bassett ‘s Stylist Reveals the Secrets to Dressing For Black Tie Events!

Angela Bassett always steals the show on the red carpet. The Black Panther star knows how to pack a punch with her looks, selecting electrifying jumpsuits or bold dresses that feature larger-than-life details. In other words, basic and boring aren’t part of Angela Bassett ‘s fashion vocabulary—and it’s all thanks to her longtime stylist Jennifer Austin.

And while you’re likely not walking the red carpet at the 2023 Oscars on March 12, Jennifer is here to help you channel your inner Angela and bring the wow factor to your next black tie optional event.

“The trick for her is to keep it simple, but, of course, we’re going to be over the top,” Jennifer told E! News in an exclusive interview. “I keep her silhouettes clean, classic and simple so she can feel effortless and move. The most important thing is to make sure that she feels confident and that it also functions for what she has to do.”

But, also, don’t forget the fun.

“It’s fashion, we’re supposed to feel joy,” Jennifer reminded. “The clothes are supposed to invoke what we’re feeling on the inside. Buy things that you love, that sing on your skin and show your personality. Clothes are an outer reflection of our inner personality, always let that shine no matter what.”

Of course, we’re only scratching the surface here. Keep reading to get the lowdown on Jennifer’s fashion advice so you can turn heads at your next outing. As she put it, “Since you’re going to be looking, let me give you something to look at.”

How can you get out of your fashion comfort zone?

According to Jennifer, the best way to push yourself is by taking baby steps. She said it could be as easy as trying a different silhouette, opting for a bright color or enhancing your favorite feature—your arms, legs or décolletage. 

“Color always draws the eye,” she said. “It’s a fresh way to bring energy, light and youthfulness to any look. Get a color that you love, that sings on you, and then start building from there.”

But instead of emphasizing how you want to step out of your comfort zone, think about the why. Jennifer noted that your ensemble tells a story, so what is it that you want to share?

“When I dress Angela, my job is to make her light shine brighter, so any time you dress for events, that is the goal,” the stylist continued. “Remember that you’re creating a moment, and in that moment, what is the thing that will set you apart from everyone else but still be in your comfort zone?”

How can you dress for your body type?

Before Jennifer selects pieces for her clients, she always asks them an important question: “What is your body part that you love the most?”

“That’s where you start,” she said about finding clothes that suit your body type. “Anything that you’re trying to minimize, like for people who are top heavy and if that’s something they’re insecure about, break up the silhouettes. Put a darker color on the top and a lighter color on the bottom, because your eye is drawn to the lighter color and it minimizes the top.”

For an all-over flattering effect, she said, “If you’re round, then either do one solid color or a whole print, so your eye dances over the whole body instead of focusing on one area.”

Can you wear short dresses to black-tie events?

In the words of the stylist, “If your body can do it, then do it.”

Jennifer enjoys shaking up the red carpet and wants others to apply that same mindset to any events they’re preparing for. “We’re so used to seeing gowns and the same silhouettes,” she said. “Get out of the status quo of what fashion is because we have rules and we have unwritten rules.”

What is a foolproof styling hack?

If you’ve ever had an issue with zippers, Jennifer said that rubbing “a little candle wax on a zipper will make it go up and down.”

What are the dos and donts of dressing for a black-tie event?

Jennifer’s biggest do is adding color to your look. “It’s very easy for people to keep it easy and wear black,” she pointed out. “But take that extra step to find something with color and you’ll be surprised by your outcome. I guarantee you that your color option will make you shine better than if you’re in something black.”

As for her don’t? She said it’s never a bad idea to leave some mystery.

“Don’t be low-hanging fruit,” she shared. “Everyone has this need to be naked all the time. There’s a class and sophistication that has been missing in certain areas. You don’t have to be naked to grab everyone’s attention.”

She continued, “You can convey that same sexiness with a great-fitting gown or suit—that will do the same thing as if you were standing up there in a sheer, illusion dress with electrical tape across your nipples.”

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Source: E!Online

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Chiara Lombatti
Chiara Lombatti
When Cristina Yang’s mankind hate, and Sherlock Holmes’ deductive skills meet Randall Pearson’s anxiety and Jamie Fraser’s multilingualism (featuring Claire Fraser’s curls and Kate Pearson’s voice). Translator and feature article with a great love for cinema, TV series and books.


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