“What night is your Mom Prom party, again?” my husband asked as the countdown to Sparkly Ladies’ Night 2014 whittled down to single digits. “No, no, it’s not Mom Prom,” I replied. “You don’t have to be a mom to go. And Sparkly Ladies’ Night is a zillion times better than prom. Prom is for kids. It’s a letdown. This is fabulous.” We laugh. We hug each other. We make new friends. We cut loose. We indulge in wearing shiny, outlandish outfits. We strut our stuff in front of an appreciative audience: each other. We dance without reserve. We’re not there to impress anyone but ourselves.
The concept is infectious. To combat the late-winter blahs, you can pull together your own Sparkly Ladies’ Night and glam it up; since the concept itself is the hook, you can make it as big or as intimate as you like.
The original Sparkly Ladies’ Night evolved organically. What started as a dinner date for eight close friends in the quiet town of Marietta, Ohio grew into a blowout celebration that marked its fourth year last December. It’s the brainchild of fashion and graphic designer Nikki Butler, who dreamt it up as an excuse to don the glittery clothes she never had a decent reason to wear. They booked a table at a local restaurant, with a casual yet luxe atmosphere. Butler wore jeans, a sequin top, and a fur coat, and some fabulous jewelry.
Sparkly Ladies’ Night, the brainchild of Nikki Butler (far right), has evolved into a celebration of friendship, empowerment, and fun.
It’s the ultimate girls’ night out, and unlike a bachelorette party, there’s no agenda, no rights of passage; the focus is about the group itself. At our Sparkly Ladies’ Night 2014, there were straight women and gay women, mothers of five and women who are glad not to be parents. There were curvy women and thin women, women in their 60s attending with their grown daughters.
Sparkly Ladies’ Night is a time to be outrageous and candid.
To make the annual party more of an occasion, Butler rented out an event space, booked a DJ and a bartender, and incorporated the talents of some of her gifted friends and women entrepreneurs—a floral designer who provided stunning arrangements, a pastry chef who shared beautiful and delicious desserts, and a portrait photographer who captured the festivities for posterity
Such a fabulous gathering deserves delicious treats.
Anyone anywhere could throw a Sparkly Ladies’ Night. You either get it or you don’t. Obviously my husband doesn’t, but this night is not about the guys, anyway. For those of you who do get it, here’s what you need to know:
Pick a date that’s in the middle of an uneventful stretch of time. If you live in a cold climate, icky winter months are perfect. That’s when you need sparkle the most. Oscar night is an ideal opportunity for styling your own brand of Hollywood shine.
Invite people you love to be around. Ask your friends to do the same. The beauty of the concept is that its scope can be as intimate or grand as you want it to be.
Choose your spot. If you have a small group, make reservations at a local ‘fancy’ restaurant. If your group is larger, consider renting a venue. Remember that spending part of the evening in the public eye actually adds to the fun!
Hype it up. Throw a clothing swap party a month or so in advance. Have event pages on social media platforms and post sparkly inspiration (for example, “Keep Calm and Sparkle On” memes or pictures of your sparkly style inspirations).
Get your outfit together. Go grand with a fabulous new sequin gown or simply raid your closet and glam up your old favorites. A pair of shiny tights, a statement necklace and a stack of crystal bangles gives your standby little black dress a whole new spin.
Take photos galore. And look at them later on when you need a lift. Our 2014 Sparkly Ladies’ Night included a “selfie suite”—a corner of our party room with a silver backdrop where we could pose for impromptu group photos.
Nikki Butler overcame a difficult period in her life where she kept herself hid away. Now she has a successful career and a confidence that’s catching. It’s reflected in her Sparkly Ladies’ Night hashtag, #sparkleeveryday. “Sparkle,” she says, “comes from the inside.” But some outside sparkle certainly does not hurt.
by Sara Bir