In 1876, philanthropist and entrepreneur E.H. Harriman founded New York City’s first Boys’ Club to provide inner-city boys with a safe haven.   Today in three clubhouses and a camp, BCNY provides high-quality programming to over 4,000 New York City boys.  Over 75 percent of members live in households at or below the poverty level.  Fundraising for BCNY is aided by the Women’s Committee a multi-generational, hands-on group who have a real presence at the clubhouses for homework help, field trips and other specific projects, such as renovating a playroom or creating an in-house library for the boys.  But the girls dress up very well, witness the ultra glamourous evening at the DIOR sponsored Fall Dance in October, celebrating the 68th year of the Black Tie event.   

For the Annual Awards Dinner held at the Mandarin Oriental on May 17,  the “what to wear” attire is a little more subdued.    When the invitation calls for Business Attire, assume that most folks will be coming straight from the office, and that the dress will be a bit understated.  So save your low cuts for another event, and arrive on time and dressed for success. 

Ritchie Howell, the Women’s Committee President observed,   “ The Boys Club of New York Awards Dinner is our largest fundraiser of the year, where we honor those that have made a difference in the lives of thousands of boys and the ripple effect that has on their families and communities.  As this evening is about our mission and soul, it seems fitting to keep it business attire but women might enjoy being slightly more dressed for tradition’s sake.   Optional:  (This year, I know how thrilled we are to honor both Hillie Mahoney and Val Carlotti–two members of the Board of Trustees. Hillie helped start the Women’s Board and as a result remains instrumental to all the good works performed by the Women’s Board and the millions of dollars it has raised since its creation.)

We consulted Dennis Basso on the subject of Business Attire, a generous BCNY supporter and an expert par excellence on making women look and feel beautiful.    

“The day you know you have an event in the evening it is very important that what you select in the morning to wear is either a very simple dress or pant suit. Either can be changed by jewelry and a handbag. If you choose a black linen shift for example, you could wear gold earrings, an hermes scarf and an easy shoe .. a walking shoe. To change the look to evening, you could bring a tote bag and put in it a pair of sling-backs or pumps and some pearl earrings. When you are going day into a night time business attire event you don’t have to get overdone . . .  don’t want to be overdone. A dressy shoe and earrings can really transform your look.  And you could even throw in a clutch bag or shoulder strap into your tote bag to carry as well. Your dress or pant suit becomes the blank canvas that you can transform. But avoid something that says daytime daytime. Don’t start with a print blouse and trousers which is very difficult to turn into an evening look. If the outfit is basic, accessories can change it completely.   The key is to keep the outfit basic and wear accessories.”

Hilary:  I love Dennis’s suggestions and agree completely! I actually was going to choose a print dress to wear but thought better of it after speaking with him. This little black dress by Stella McCartney is super easy to dress up or dress down. It also has a forgiving silhouette which every woman can appreciate. I am drawn to white accessories right now and would wear this white tote during the day with these fun silver flats to run around in. And tucked in my tote will be my transforming pieces for the night to come. High heels, glam jewelry and a simple black clutch will do the trick. And what to do with the tote .. why check it of course! 

KK:  Once again, Hilary and I are on the same page, choosing an LBD, Little Black Dress as the “canvas,” that Dennis suggested.  Business Attire does not mean boring, especially when shopping  a stunning Michael Kors Sheath.   Consistently chic, stylish and as generous as they come, Michael was the underwriter of last week’s Central Park Conservancy’s Hat Luncheon, where so many of his fashionable looks were on full display.    He is also one of the few designers who creates fashion at a remarkably lower price point with the same fabulous results.  The cut of the dress is perfectly simple with a fluid draping on the sleeves, one of the romantic, Victorian trends this season.  I also turned to Michael to accessorize. For day, a pair of kitten heels or pumps, and found this snakeskin tote to be a useful size.  And when the weather can’t make up it’s mind, you can –  by choosing a smart looking trench coat.   In the evening, it is time for some ruffled sandals and clutch, complementing the soft folds of this ensemble.   Pearl earrings and a stylish wrap are all you need to complete the day to night adventure, and take it all in stride.   Let’s see . . . 8 am breakfast meeting,

 9 am to the office, 1 pm lunch at desk,  4 pm Randalls Island lacrosse game,  6 pm Mandarin Oriental.   Did I miss anything?

Jamie Gregory an active volunteer and member of the Women’s Committee highlighted the philanthropic importance of the evening.   “This is a wonderful event that honors our community’s heroes who have given generously to this organization.  It is because of them that we can help set hundreds of boys a year on a positive path to adulthood.”   For questions or additional information, please contact Haley Meyer at [email protected] or (347) 505-5389.

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