By Raquel Parks, CBS Detroit Blogger

January is the perfect time for a fresh start. It also holds promise for amazing things to come in the new year. It also happens to be the month that Detroiters can step out to enjoy one of the city’s most exclusive events, the North American International Auto Show Charity Preview.

The Charity Preview is held every year to raise proceeds to support a variety of children’s charities. Since 1976, the Charity Preview has raised over $84 million for southeastern Michigan children’s charities.

The Charity Preview is a traditional black tie affair which means attire is formal. When preparing for the big evening, it’s important to carefully consider what to wear so that you look glamorous and classy for the event. Here are a few tips in dressing for the Charity Preview.

Purple Cocktail

Purple Cocktail (credit: Raquel Parks)

Vibrant Colors Is Key

Formal wear can include a range of dressy attire. For men a basic suit or tux is the most appropriate. For women, the most traditional formal attire to wear is an evening gown. An evening gown in a vibrant color would be a perfect and classic choice for the Charity Preview.

Evening gowns also have a flowy movement to them which stands out nicely when you’re mingling throughout the large, crowd. An alternative to the evening gown is the cocktail dress. A cocktail dress can be just as classy and requires less fuss over extra material dragging while walking back and forth.

The hem line for the cocktail dress should come at the knee or can be slightly above the knee for this affair. As with a gown, it’s a great idea to pick a cocktail dress in a vibrant winter color to add extra appeal. Violet, red, emerald-green, and royal blue are some of the rich winter colors that would look beautiful for a dress.

Black is also an acceptable choice for a dress. Add a little colorful statement jewelry to make it stand out.

Cruising In Comfort And Fit

The key to dressing for the evening is comfort. Whether you’re wearing a long or short dress, make sure to choose a dress that accentuates your shape in the best way.

For example, if you have a small waist, don’t be afraid to wear a form-fitting dress that emphasizes your figure. If you have shapely legs, a flared, cocktail dress is a perfect way to showcase them in a classy manner.

Essentially, you want to wear what feels comfortable and makes you feel glamorous so you can enjoy the evening to the fullest. Accessories are also important to take into account.

Strappy Shoes

Strappy Shoes (credit: Raquel Parks)

Fully Loaded Accessories

Shoes complete the outfit so they should also make a statement. When selecting shoes, pick a pair that compliments the dress and stand out on their own. For example, if the dress is royal blue, try pairing it with silver, strappy heels with rhinestones. Before stepping out, don’t forget to bring a wrap to keep warm for the cold winter night.

A wrap made of velvet, satin, or faux fur is a way to stay warm and remain fashionable throughout the evening. Keep these tips in mind and you’re sure to look and feel amazing on the big night.

Fur Wrap

Fur Wrap (credit: Raquel Parks)

The North American Auto Show Charity Preview 2012 will be held Friday, January 13 at the Cobo Center from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. Tickets are $250 per person. For more information, check out our Guide To The Auto Show.

More pics from Raquel’s shopping trip.

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Get more style and shopping advice from Raquel.

Raquel is a Michigan native with a Bachelors in Journalism from the University of Michigan. She loves fashion and writing about life’s everyday stories. She has written for various local publications that include Dearborn Press & Guide and Detroit Fashion Pages. Raquel also writes for her own local events blog, Metro Diva Pages. You can visit Raquel’s blog at and follow her on Twitter @MetroDivaPages.


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