Life of the Party

She’s got a stack of invitations and nothing to wear, but these shops can fix that.

By Leah Finn December 8, 2008 Published in the December 2008 issue of Seattle Met

Candy Coated
At Sweetie, Gossip Girl–addicts and downtown VIP-listers can satisfy their sugar cravings without bursting the zippers of sexy, ruched black-and-white slinkers and attention-getting, silver-sequined slip dresses. The gala goodies in this slim shop include minis and maxis by designers Trina Turk and Tracy Reese, but for the soiree of the season, ask owner Joeanna Purdie to direct you to the matte-silk tuxedo-inspired frocks in vivid shades of hunter green and deep ruby. Sweetie, 4508 California Ave SW, West Seattle, 206-923-3533;

Back in Black
All year long, Madison Park’s Canopy Blue outfits the neighborhood’s Lucky magazine readers in great-butt jeans and easygoing jersey tops, but come holiday season the basic pieces make way for killer Little Black Dresses. This year, there’s the time-honored Diane von Furstenberg wrap dress, a ’20s-style mini in jet-beaded chiffon, and a flirty, scoop-back frock with a ruffled collar. Add a sparkly ultra violet clutch to any of the above, and a luxe scarf, and have yourself a ball. Canopy Blue, 3121 E Madison St, Ste 103, Madison Park, 206-323-1115;

Uptown Girls
Jeri Rice
is a native Northwesterner, but after 27 years of dressing Seattle’s doyennes in designer finery, she speaks haute couture like a Parisian. At her expansive namesake emporium, crystal chandeliers and spiral staircases set the scene for classic black suits and off-the-shoulder sheaths. With personalized wardrobe consultations offered at your place or theirs, Rice’s team will green-light the embroidered Marchesa dress with the pearl-embellished Valentino sandals—or suggest the just-right alternative. Jeri Rice, Fairmont Olympic Hotel, 421 University St, Downtown, 206-624-4000;

Piece It Together
Hanii Y’s frayed, unfinished styles give a reveler a detached cool amid perfectly coiffed cocktailers, and even flowy floor-length numbers can feel carefree. But if party dresses are just a little too too for your taste, scout out separates at La Ree and put together a festive ensemble. Menswear-inspired jackets by Nili Lotan and edgy layering pieces by “It” designer Alexander Wang make for striking statements while drapey, shimmering tops and structured jackets dress up wide-leg jeans. La Ree, 11 103rd Ave NE, Bellevue, 425-453-7868;

Global Economics
At Alhambra, “earthy” means organic fabrics and boho favorites, sure, but it also signifies international appeal. The shapes of the moment—from boxy and asymmetrical to lean and clean—in fabrics from all over the globe meet under intricate, wrought-iron arches designed to mimic Spain’s famous fortress. Turkish-born co-owner and tastemaker Serpil Kaymaz watches over it all through her architectural eyewear. If you lose your way, ask her to direct you to the spray-painted tulle dress with a jeweled mesh overlay. Alhambra, 101 Pine St, Downtown, 206-621-9571;

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