Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Carson Goodwyn's favorite dresses for Prom 2013

Editor's Note: Style savvy teen blogger Carson Goodwyn of Charlotte takes over this blog to write about her favorite prom dresses for 2013. 

Somewhere out there is a future prom queen fretting about finding just the right dress. So many considerations...

You must find a good fit, something that flatters your figure. You want a dress that is comfortable both seated at dinner as well as on the dance floor, and something that photographs well. In the digital media age, there will be pictures! Not only of the professional variety, but front porch photos taken by your parents, Facebook and Instagram, among others.

For this blog, I got the challenging but exciting task of searching out the hottest trends in prom dresses. I went into the process expecting to uncover more of the usual sequins and sparkle. And while it might be out
there, the hottest trend in dressing up for high school’s biggest night, is dressing down. Yes, you read that correctly. The prom is going shockingly casual. Girls are saying goodbye to taffeta and silk shantung, and hello to the maxi dress.

It's no secret society is going casual. It’s evident in the business world, in church services and theater performances. Soccer moms run around all day in their lululemon and I have even seen people board airplanes in something akin to pajamas. So it’s not surprising that the prom would
follow suit.

Although I still love the art of a structured dress, there are some definite benefits to wearing a maxi dress to prom. There are many maxi dress collections to choose from and the fabrics are lightweight, airy and comfortable. You can find maxi dresses in an array of colors, solids and printed designs. The ever present black/white trend is making its way to prom, too.

Maxis can be found at many price points and are often very affordable at under $300. BCBG, Young Fabulous & Broke, and Mara Hoffman are exceptionally priced lines. The hi-low design (shorter in front, longer in the back) is all the rage and allows more freedom in walking and dancing. It also gives you a chance to show off your footwear! Another trend is the sheer skirt, often visible from the knee down. This is fun in that it provides a touch of peek-a-boo in a very safe place. But probably the best part about wearing the maxi to prom is that you actually might wear it again…that is if you can get past the fact that you will appear no less than 75 times on Facebook wearing it.

This prom season you will see maxis paired with heels, wedges and if you are ultra chic, the light bootie. Your extra cash can be spent on statement jewelry such as layered link bracelets, cuffs or heavy chokers.

Even though the dresses are easy going, the pursuit of finding that perfect dress is not. It is every girl’s dream to attend prom. Girls spend months prepping for their prom, and on average, try on 20 or more
dresses. It can be, well, exhausting!

So what’s worse than spending three months searching for that perfect dress? Meeting yourself at the punch bowl! It is a girl’s kiss of death to show up and find another girl wearing the same dress. My mother once
told me the story of two ladies appearing in the same dress at a wedding. One lady was so embarrassed, she drove home and changed into a new dress between the ceremony and the reception.

However, in the past couple years, social media has all but eradicated this problem. Girls are using Facebook to create their own prom groups. Their selected dress options are posted for all to review and covet. By the time the big night rolls around, everyone is well aware of the dress choices of their girlfriends and can arrive stress-free and full of self-confidence.

For Prom 2013, here are some of my favorite selections:
Strapless silk chiffon cherry red maxi by Alexis, $595, Neiman Marcus.

Black and white Alice + Olivia with leather bodice and box pleated sheer chiffon skirt, $598, Sloan.

Block print halter maxi, $448, BCBG.

Suboo Pagoda contrast with sheer skirt, $325, Saks Fifth Avenue online.

Young Fabulous & Broke halter maxi with sheer skirt, $286, Neiman Marcus.

White lace Candela Stella maxi with sheer skirt, $297, Chezelle boutique.

Clover Canyon boho print maxi, $290, Chezelle boutique.

Fuchsia hi-low Alexis maxi, $575, Sloan boutique.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Spring Trends at Opera Guild Luncheon

The Opera Guild of Charlotte, a support group of Opera Carolina, gathered at Neiman Marcus at SouthPark mall recently for a fundraising luncheon featuring a fashion show of spring's best looks. Proceeds go to support Opera Carolina and the Guild's young professional vocal competition awards and grants, and to further music education and interest in opera.

Here's video of the fashion presentation:

One of the first guests I spotted was Alison Van Pelt. She stood out in the crowd in a bright orange shift dress that was simple and stunning. It turns out it's a vintage dress with a matching jacket from the 1960s owned by opera supporter Barbara Scott, and that she gifted it to Alison. It was so much fun to get a photo of Barbara standing next to Alison.

The dress and jacket were so well made and looked so current. That's a testament to buying quality clothes - they'll never go out of style. "I'm going to wear it Easter Sunday," Allison said. 

A surprise guest was Alex Chantecaille, the daughter of Sylvie Chantecaille, creator of the Chantecaille beauty line that's sold exclusively at Neiman Marcus. She was in Charlotte for two days of promoting the line at the store. Here she is with store manager Kristine Matthews:

Naturally chic in that effortless way French women have, she spoke briefly about the organic and holistic philosophy of the line and how important it is to her that part of the profits support conservation efforts around the world. She passed around the new Shark Palette limited-edition compact filled with spring's best makeup colors, which also raises money to help ban unregulated shark fin trade.

We all sat at round tables with beautiful spring centerpieces and dined on a light and delicious salad plate and dessert from Delectables By Holly.

Department managers Susan Mitchell and Sarah O'Connor told us the new trends for spring. Models showed off each look from some of the world's best designers - Valentino, Etro, Prada, Bottega Veneta, Jimmy Choo, Christian Louboutin, Yves Saint Laurent, Escada, Reed Krakoff, Brunello Cucinelli, Armani, Nancy Gonzalez, Rachel Zoe, Alexis Bittar, Lela Rose, Stella McCartney and more. Susan and Sarah gave fascinating details of the craftsmanship that goes into the jewelry, shoes, handbags and clothes that were on display.

I know Emerald Green is Pantone's color of the year, but what people really seem to be wearing is orange. I'm seeing it everywhere, including on many of the guests and the models.

Susan and Sarah said that orange should be treated as a neutral, and that it's okay to wear different shades at once. 

Other trends are:

Ankle-length pants 

Jumpsuits (and don't think they're just for tall women - if they're tailored properly they look great on all heights) 

Bold prints 


They also encouraged guests to not put away their booties for the spring and summer - that they can be worn year round, even in August. 

Follow Olivia on Twitter @oliviafortson

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Last call this season for Duke Mansion cocktail party

March 22 is the last chance this season to enjoy the Duke Mansion's after-work cocktail party called Chill Chaser Evening. It's from 5:30 to 7 p.m. and admission is free, you just need to RSVP by calling 704-714-4445 or emailing

There is a cash bar (although you can use a credit card). Executive Chef Harrison Booth will provide the snacks.

I'll drink to that!

Friday, March 15, 2013

Opera and fashion at Neiman Marcus on March 21

Two of my favorite things in Charlotte will come together on Thursday, March 21, and I plan to be there to cover it. I hope you'll join me, although the clock is ticking to RSVP.

The Opera Guild of Charlotte, a support group of Opera Carolina, is having a luncheon featuring a fashion show of spring's best looks from Neiman Marcus. It's from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Neiman Marcus at SouthPark mall. Tickets are $40. All the proceeds go to support Opera Carolina and the Guild's young professional vocal competition awards and grants, and to further music education and interest in opera.

The official RSVP date is March 15 (yes, today, although I've been told you might still snag a spot if you RSVP by March 17 depending on space availability). You can reply by emailing

Tickets are $40; you can mail your donation to Opera Guild, P.O. Box 470132, Charlotte NC 28247.

I'm a huge fan of both opera and Neiman Marcus, so I will be there to cover the event. Please come over and say hello!

It will be the first day of spring, so I can't wait to get photographs of everyone looking fabulous on and off the runway.

Follow Olivia on Twitter @oliviafortson