In Vienna, I find that I'm often standing in front of my closet wondering "What should I wear?". Not an atypical question for anyone, but seemingly I do it more often here. What's the type of event? Is it a local event, international event or the American community? Am I going on my own or in the capacity of "the wife"? Is it an official function? These are all questions that help me narrow the choices down, and inevitably I end up going back to the same basics: sheath dresses with a jacket or sweater, a black pencil skirt or tailored pants with a crip white shirt...and then I try and set off the basics with one catching accessory that's not too over the top (Over the top seems to belong in baroque details here, not on people).
Invitations don't provide a lot of guidance on what to wear, and when they do it's not particularly useful. Guidance such as "Wear national costume or lounge suit" doesn't mean too much to the average young American, no matter how traveled, and it leaves you with images of potential trick or treating opportunities and neon cocktails with the Bee Gees in the background - neither of which fit on the Vienna scene. So picking an event ensemble is an instinct you develop over time, but when in doubt, turn to the classic fashion icons for advice...you know who they are...Coco, Grace, Jackie, Audrey - the usual suspects. The funny thing about Vienna is that their style is never out of style - in that sense, when in doubt, just pick something that was fashionable in the 60's - it's still relevant here.
However, I'm always on the lookout for modern insipiration too and find that in the character of Dr. Addison Montgomery - ever since she waltzed in to Grey's Anatomy wearing that knockout Gucci pencil skirt and killer heels, she conveyed the image of classic but forward. In Private Practice, they've adapted her look to be a bit more friendly towards the sunshine of southern California, but the basics are still there and would work for almost any occasion in Vienna: sheath dresses, pencil skirts, and comfortable tailored basics, and of course, one catchy - but not too catchy - accessory. When it doubt, turn to a recipe that works...
All photos from www.abc.com