FEMAP gala – What to wear

Three sparkly, gala-appropriate gowns


The FEMAP Foundation, as you may know, is one of our region’s most important charitable organizations, helping thousands of people living in abject poverty.

To help fund their good works, they host one of our area’s major parties, the Friends of FEMAP International Gala. Each year this event has grown in attendance and significance; the seventh annual gala will be this Friday, Sept. 28, at the Civic Center.

I have been a serious supporter of FEMAP – Federacion Mexicana de Asociaciones Privadas – since I visited the organization’s hospital in Juárez about 10 years ago. I was amazed at the quality and quantity of medical services provided with miniscule resources. Truly, I was astonished.

Since then FEMAP has expanded and focused on economic as well as public health concerns of the U.S.-Mexico border region. Well-known community leaders involved in FEMAP include Guadalupe de la Vega, Adair Margo and Dr. Jack Heydeman, as well as Mary Ann Dodson. It was Mary Ann who took me and five other women to Juárez in her famous vintage station wagon.

It was a girls’ day-out road trip with all the appropriate laughs on the way over. I came back humbled by the extraordinary dedication and results that I had witnessed.

The FEMAP gala is an opportunity to pull out all the stops, look like a princess, and remind yourself of your inner and outer beauty and glamour.

Tickets are still available. Visit www.femap.org or call Anna Aleman, executive director of the FEMAP Foundation, at (915) 544-4151.

This gala is a Venetian Masquerade theme, and the exquisite invitation states “formal attire.” Anna tells me that every year she hears from many women wondering what to wear. Well, here is the scoop.

Either cocktail length or long ball gowns are appropriate. Both are in fashion now, so choose the length that makes you feel the most fabulous. You can find some fabulous short, flirty, and glamorous dresses in El Paso stores this season – shop around this week and try some on. Long, of course, is always safe and very dressed-up.

Either way, remember that one of this year’s top fashion trends is the return of lace and illusion – sheer fabrics used to keep a dress modest, but not necessarily all covered up. For instance, think of black lace over nude-colored fabric – it’s not as heavy as solid black and it can look very sexy without being immodest.

The best evening dress colors are nude, rich Bordeaux red, chocolate browns, emerald greens and sapphire blues.

You aren’t likely to feel like Cinderella at the ball in that tired old dress in the back of your closet that you drag out every year. So get out there and pick out something new that makes you feel like a million bucks.

The dress is just the start. Here are some tips for feeling over-the-top beautiful this Friday night:

• Impeccable fit. Have your dress fitted by a professional. Truly, this is one of the keys that make celebrities look a cut above. You should do it, too.

• Elegant shoes. Wear something strappy and feminine in platinum, silver, titanium or nude. You may want an evening shoe with a platform that gives you height, but still has the comfort for dancing.

• Makeup. Few of us are really pros at applying our cosmetics, so make an appointment with a professional makeup artist. You will be shocked at how beautiful you really are in the hands of an expert.

• Fresh manicure and pedicure. You may want to add a little sparkle or experiment with a daring new color.

• Jewelry. You may have the perfect jewelry in your vault. If not, add glitz and glamour. Focus on lots of layered bracelets and stunning flamboyant earrings. At Tres Mariposas, we just received some gorgeous evening pieces in well-priced costume jewelry from designer BeJe. You might want to take a look.

• Spanx. Even skinny girls like the confidence boost of a foundation garment’s smooth line.

• Host a pre-party. Invite a small group to your house for a get-together before the gala. Share the excitement of the evening with a few of your favorite people.

• Limousine. Hiring a car service is another way to make the evening elegant. Have the limo pick everyone up at your pre-party. You’ll have a built-in designated driver for the trip home.

• Plan ahead. Line up a reliable babysitter, so you won’t have to panic at the last minute. A few smart women I know also have “Plan B” for child care on a special night like this, just in case.

You will be ready to treat yourself to a beautiful evening in support of a beautiful cause!

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