The Outnet editorial director, Rebecca Tay dishes out party wear shopping tips

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The Outnet editorial director, Rebecca Tay dishes out party wear shopping tips
RSVP ready: How to ace your festive season look according to Rebecca Tay

Tell us about your role as editorial director at The Outnet.
As editorial director at The Outnet, I oversee all of our messaging. I work very closely with our fashion and marketing teams to make sure that the product that we present on our website is the right stories for the right time. And making sure that our best brands are presented in a way that is relevant for that time. At The Outnet, we believe that a great dress is an amazing dress whether it's from two years ago or two months ago or even two weeks ago.

Many people have the misconception that The Outnet is an e-commerce site great for slash-offs on designer pieces. But that isn't true, isn't it?
When we were founded in 2009, we were still part of the Net-A-Porter group. We started as the sister site to Net-A-Porter. At that time, 85% of our stock came directly from them, which also meant that there were no questions on authenticity. And that question is still never there. Now six years later, it's flipped completely. We now buy 90% of our stock directly from the brands and we only work directly with them.

The Outnet is also known for its exclusive collaborations. Tell us how this idea came about and how important it is to have these collabs.
We always talk about how we partner with the brands featured on our site. We collaborate with them in many different ways such as making sure that we're presenting the brand at the right time that they want us to present them, or doing exclusive collaborations with them. We've worked twice with Oscar de la Renta to produce two exclusive collections using iconic fabrics. For those two collections, we worked very closely with the team and gave them input on the kind of silhouettes we know our customers really love and, the fabrics we think they would like.

For our 5th birthday, we worked with 17 designers to reissue one exclusive piece from their archives. We did the same thing again for our summer campaign this year called Postcards From. We always work directly with the designers and it can range from curating what goes on the site to working with our buying team to pick out pieces that we know will resonate well with our customers.

At THE Outnet, we always say you need an LBD, but you also need a LRD (little red dress) and a LWD (little white dress) for summer.

You have a knack for curating shopping themes for The Outnet shopper. What goes into creating these edits?
We have our What To Wear section where we use the data we learn about our customers and curate special shopping themes for them. Our customers are busy working professionals who try to travel almost six to nine times a year just for leisure, so curating and editing our themes revolves around their lifestyles. It could be anything from a workwear story to a travel story; and making sure it's the right time.

The Outnet What To Wear

For example, during the Christmas period, she is going to be looking for party wear so we will do one around party wear. In January and February, we have a lot of searches for activewear therefore we do an edit for those looking to meet their New Year's resolutions. We also use the global events calendar to help guide us. When Coachella and Glastonbury comes around, we do festival edits. We also take notice of what's trending at the moment. For example, during fashion week if we see a lot of people wearing fringe, we will do an edit of fringe styles to make sure we are always on-trend and relevant.  

The festive season is around the corner, what  styles are you currently coveting for the festivities?
I'm always a big fan of colour. I love wearing bright colours around the festive season. It's one season where you can bring a little bit more glamour to the table whether it's through an embellished dress or accessory. We have a lot of amazing Olympia Le Tan clutches that are splurge worthy for the festive season. I also think that it's important to think about beauty. For the first time, we've launched our holiday beauty collection of limited-edition exclusive gift sets. Makeup and accessories are little things that can help lift everything up this festive season. 

OLYMPIA LE-TAN Never Love A Stranger embroidered clutch

What style advice do you have for women looking for party wear?
Pick the trend you like the best and then pick a piece that really represents that. If you like velvet, opulence and the Victorian era, rich textures is quite on-trend this season. But rather than going out with a full head-to-toe look, pick one piece. Splurging on that hero piece of the season is going to make a difference this party season.

The LBD is everyone's go-to party piece. We're looking to really change things up this year. What would you recommend we try?
At The Outnet, we always say you need an LBD, but you also need a LRD (little red dress) and a LWD (little white dress) for summer. Those are our three must-haves. Not only do you need a LBD, but the red dress will also change things up and is a spot-on colour for the festive season. If you really want to dress up a black dress, it's all about your accessories. Pick a pair of colourful earrings. Shourouk and Kenneth Jay Lane have amazing statement accessories. If you can splurge on a new pair of sandal heels, I recommend Giuseppe Zanotti or Gianvito Rossi. Picking the right pair of shoes makes a huge difference.

For the girl who doesn't do heels, what's an alternative that will still do the same justice to your ensemble that heels can  — and preferably without the pain?
That girl is in luck actually. Fancy flats are such a big trend right now. We've got great ones from Daniele Michetti. Choose pointy flat shoes that you can dance the night away in. Preferably a pair with lace-up details or a little bit of mesh or sparkle.

Who are your go-to designers for party wear?
I would say Chloé. You always feel comfortable in it. There is nothing worse than feeling a little uncomfortable at a party or not knowing what everyone else is going to wear. In Chloé, you always feel elegant and you feel like you're wearing the dress as opposed to the other way around.

Share with us your personal styling tips for the party season.
It's important to feel comfortable. If you're about to step out of the house and something doesn't feel right, take the time to reassess and think about what doesn't feel right. Is it because you feel like you need a different lipstick colour, or you need a different pair of earrings? Always follow your gut instinct.  

Mini bags are still trending. If we had to downsize to just a few items, what do you think they should be?
These days, I find carrying a little card case for your credit card and driving license is all you really need. A lipstick is an important item to have with you all the time. If you're really in a pinch, you can always use your lipstick as a blush for quick touch-ups. But, I think the biggest challenge is the phone. It's one item that doesn't always seem to fit into a mini bag. But then again, you can just wear it on the side.

For a person that is on a tight budget, what would you recommend she get that will be worth her investment this party season?
A dress. Dresses are actually our number one selling category across the entire site all year round especially in Singapore. I think it's because it's so easy. You can throw a dress on and even if you choose to put on a pair of sandals or heels, everything else is just extras. The dress is the highlight. Invest in a good dress that you love for the party season. Alexander Wang has amazing dresses you can wear for many different occasions, and that you can dress up and down. Stella McCartney for something a little more tailored. Isabel Marant is also a good brand to scout for dresses that are a little bit more casual and easy to go from day to night or boardroom to bar. 

Text: Dora Aljoofri-Shrestha

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    Cover image: Instagram | @rebeccatay
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