|heels||–||Ivanka Trump (similar)|
|ring||–||Charming Charlie (current version)|
|stole||–||The Limited (similar)|
|lip||–||Burts Bees lipstick (Sunset Cruise) and lip balm (Red Dahlia)|
|nails||–||Vinylux (Red Baroness)|
Follow me to the perfect holiday evening, full of glitz, glamour, and one hell of a show. If you’re looking for a solid new holiday tradition, I can’t recommend the Joffrey Ballet’s Nutcracker enough. This year’s is particularly good. They’ve updated the story to take place in Chicago around the time of the World’s Fair and the result is a spectacular show that is refreshingly local.
If you’ll oblige, I’d like to share our evening at the Joffrey with you as well as a few tips on how to truly do it right.
We arrived on a shockingly cold December evening–though to be fair, I’m not sure the Siberian temperatures of the Chicago winter should shock me anymore. Due to this, we nabbed our tickets and rushed into the lobby, away from the cold.
When you’re heading to the ballet, take it as an opportunity to get truly glammed up. It’s not every day a girl has the opportunity to wear a gown, so take advantage. I featured this dress as part of my 12 Party Dresses of Christmas feature this year. I liked it so much I decided to wear it to my work’s holiday party in January, but when we decided to attend The Nutcracker this year I immediately reappropriated it.
If you’re attending The Nutcracker, I highly recommend a longer dress–not only are they elegant, they help keep freezing air away from bare legs–in either a bright color or with a metallic shimmer. It’s the holidays–it’s time to go big.
Nice as the main lobby is, you’ll quickly discover that the torrent of attendees rushing through the main doors makes it altogether too frigid to feel comfortable–at least on cold days. What do you do? First, check your coat. I saw an astonishing number of people stuffing coats uncomfortably into their chairs. If you’re treating yourself to a nice evening, it’s important to enjoy all the little details and fineries. Check your coat.
Then, whisk yourself up the marble staircase to the mezzanine lobby.
Procure yourself a glass of bubbly and settle in.
The mezzanine lobby is gorgeous–the floors are covered with rich, plush carpet and the walls are lined with ornate fireplaces.
Eventually, make your way to your seat.
I’d recommend seats at the balcony’s edge or, if you’re looking for something more affordable, the far sides of the balcony. The seats there are perfect for people-watching.
If you’re like me, though, you’ll forget entirely that the mezzanine lobby is so plush, warm, and inviting. So lets descend back down the stairs to the main lobby, where we waited before the show.
To say it was chilly is a massive understatement, but fortunately I had the perfect accessory: a fur stole. Of course mine is faux, but if you have the coin I see no reason not to splurge on the real thing. An accessory like this is a downright requirement for evening wear on a chilly night. It helped keep the goosebumps at bay, as did the champagne.
While we’re here, sipping our drinks, lets take a moment to chat about the rest of the outfit you might wear. First, if you really want to treat yourself, get a mani–maybe even a pedi–to glam things up. I chose this shimmery holiday red. Usually I prefer non-shimmery polish, but for the holidays I make an exception.
I find that a gorgeous clutch is a necessity to complete an evening wear look such as this, and after the marble clutch at Asos I had my eye on sold out almost instantly, I decided to go hunting for something similar on Etsy. I’m so glad I did. I couldn’t believe how many gorgeous vintage purses I found on Etsy, and all of them were astoundingly affordable. I don’t think I’ll ever look elsewhere.
I snagged the earrings and the cocktail ring in this look from Charming Charlie. I went for a vintage look to match the handbag.
Anyway, when your glass is empty, make one last pitstop at the bathroom and head in to your seats.
Where you will be dazzled with this display:
The lights will go down, the curtain will come up, and you’ll spend the next two hours watching incredibly talented dancers, taking in a Nutcracker that is uniquely Chicago.
I particularly liked the Sugar Plum snowflake dance, complete with falling snow:
The principal dancers were all fantastic.
I wanted to point out, though, that the leads were different in our show than the main leads–probably because we saw it on a Tuesday. My favorite dancer in the whole show was the female lead, Cara Marie Gary, who I wanted to mention because she was simply spectacular. These photos were provided to me by the Joffrey, and her main role is as one of the Venetian dancers. You can see her below on the left. Cara, if by some chance you’re reading this, I loved your performance!
I seriously can’t overstate how beautiful I found the costumes and how talented the dancers were. The duets made me swoon, the battle scenes were gripping, each nation’s dance in the second act had a unique flare, and the lead dancers were achingly good. I particularly liked the Arabian dance and I also enjoyed what they did with the Russian Dance. In keeping with the theme, they changed it from traditional Russian dancing to Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show. There were quite a few moments in the second act that were good for a laugh, but many more that were just simply stunning.
When it all ends you’ll be wanting more–I certainly was.
I just realized I forgot to mention lip color. Let’s chat about it while we’re on the way out. For this look, I actually layered some tinted lip balm over my lipstick. I thought it created some nice dimension. I used a medium lip color (Sunset Cruise) and layered a much darker lip balm (Red Dahlia) over it. I like this method because I don’t particularly like carrying lipstick with me and reapplying it. I do, however, always have chapstick on me and put it on all the time. So this method is a nice compromise between looks and functionality. You can put on your lipstick once and touch up your color, and keep chapping at bay, throughout the day or night.
If you’re like me you’ll make your way out with a grin plastered on your face and an intention to come back every year.
Shop the look: