Cold Weather Party Dress How-To – Q&A with Christa Spengeman of Bow & Drape


It’s the time of year when our mailboxes fill up with invitations to all kinds of holiday and New Year’s Eve parties…office parties, house parties, cocktail parties. It’s exciting – but sometimes challenging – to find the perfect dress. Christa, from made-to-order dressmakers Bow & Drape, sat down to explain how to pick the right dress for your body and how to deal with winter weather without  sacrificing your style.

SB: What dress shapes are best according to body type?


  • Hourglass – The Jackie is perfect for an hourglass shape. The silhouette is designed to accentuate curves.
  • Pear – The Michelle Swing is beautiful on a pear shape figure. The combination of the full skirt and the fitted top is an interesting contrast.
  • Apple – The Twiggy is well-suited and flattering for apple figures. This 60’s-inspired shift dress is a simple and chic look.
  • Petite – All our silhouettes have the option to select hem length. For a petite shape, any design with a mini or knee length hem will be ideal.
  • Tall – The Diane Maxi is stunning on a tall figure.

sketches of some of the dress styles Bow & Drape offers

SB: What little black dress can I wear to fancy cocktail parties but also to more casual holiday parties? How should I accessorize in both situations?

C: The black Twiggy with a scallop hem and brass beading is a versatile and classic look. For a fancy cocktail party, I would accessorize with a statement necklace and bright colored heels. For a more casual look, I would accessorize with black tights and jewel-toned flats.

Little Black Dress worn two ways

LBD – Bow & Drape, necklace – ASOS, blue pumps – Rachel Roy, opaque tights – Ralph Lauren, flats – Madewell

SB: How do I pick the proper skirt length for my body?

C: A good rule of thumb when choosing the hem length on a skirt is where the skirt falls around your kneecap. The skirt should hit below the knee or an inch above the knee.

SB: You offer a few different necklines. What is the most flattering for a small bust and what’s better for a larger bust line?

C: On a small bust, the boatneck is an elegant option. On a larger bust, the v-neck is very flattering.

SB: It’s cold in NYC during holiday party season. What dress shapes and colors look best with winter accessories like tights or slick knee high boots?

C: Any silhouette can be paired with tights for a more seasonal look. The Twiggy is a perfect silhouette for knee high boots; I love the combination of a simple shift dress and a bold boot.

This holiday season, I love our emerald shade – it is a rich color that will make a statement.

The Diane Maxi is also a nice option for a holiday party. This maxi dress covers your legs and is a timeless, classic design.

how to wear a dress in cold weather - party outfit

Left: long sleeve shift – Bow & Drape, gold drop earrings – Heather Hawkins, brass cuff – Pamela Love, opaque tights – Ralph Lauren, knee high boots – Sam Edelman Right: wrap maxi dress – Bow & Drape, leather jacket – Alexander Wang, horn earrings – Gabriela Artigas, t-strap pumps – Elizabeth & James

SB: What are your favorite ways to stay warm while your dressed up and jetting around town?

C: Our Perfect Scarf is my favorite winter accessory. The extralong length makes it easy to stylishly wrap and keeps you warm. Also, a wool coat and a hat are staple pieces for winter weather.


leopard ball cap – Anthropologie, red belted wool coat – Diane von Furstenberg, floppy brim fedora – Rag and Bone, cropped double-breasted wool coat – DSquared, red felt cloche – Anthropologie, scarf – Bow & Drape, knit sleeve jacket – Mossimo, knit pom-pom hat – Neiman Marcus, wool trench – Helene Berman

SB: How can I accessorize an embellished dress without going over the top?

C: Earrings are a great accessory when your dress has a lot of detail. I think a complimentary pair of earrings adds a nice balance.


pink wrap dress with embellished belt – Bow & Drape, silver plated crystal earrings – Lulu Frost, crystal and bead earrings – J.Crew, crystal drop earrings – Kenneth Jay Lane

SB: What silhouettes are best for going from the office to dinner?

C: The Jackie and the Diane are great silhouettes for the office and translate well to a night out. Also, the Twiggy can be belted or unbelted to accomodate different occasions.


black peplum dress – Bow & Drape, black and white kitten heels – Ann Taylor, tote – J.Crew, peplum jacket – TopShop, statement necklace – BCBG Max Azria, geometric clutch – BCBG Max Azria, pointed heels – Kurt Geiger

SB: Do you have any styling secrets you’d like to share?

C: Making sure that your shoes compliment your outfit is very important. I always make sure I have the appropriate style shoe for any occasion.


color block bow pumps – Isaac Mizrahi, ankle strap D’Orsay with embellished heel – Steven, ankle strap sandals – Tibi, patent pumps – Alice & Olivia

1 comment
  1. Apple said:

    Omg!!! I totally agree but what about going to New Years Parties!! It’s still cold so maybe a cashmere sweater over a colored blouse…..It’s kind of different but very antique and stylish!!! So if you get teased about how you dress…..Oh Well…..Be who you are because thats the cutest Prada accessorie!!!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s