Stepping Up Your Style: Outfit Ideas and Inspiration for the Association Forum Foundation Honors Gala

This year’s Honors Gala is a sneaker ball! Read on for ideas and inspo on what to wear.

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On June 22, 2023 the Association Forum Foundation will host its annual Honors Gala. The theme is “where tradition meets innovation” and everything about this event mixes old with new! Previously, the event was black tie, but not this year. This isn’t your average dinner event. Get ready for a night of non-stop fun, energy, and entertainment that will leave you buzzing for days. We’re shaking things up with an altered dress code – dressy, but with a twist!

What does that mean? It means you should come dressed in evening/cocktail attire, but the Foundation encourages you to wear your best pair of sneakers.

Not only will you have a blast reconnecting with your association peers and industry icons, but you’ll also be supporting a great cause. We’re raising money for scholarships through the Association Forum Foundation to support the empowered leaders of tomorrow on their journey. So, let’s come together and make a difference while having the time of our lives!

Now, what to wear? Sneaker balls have become a popular trend in the world of fundraising and social events. Blending fashion and comfort, these unique occasions offer a fresh and exciting twist on traditional black-tie affairs. Following are some ideas and inspiration to help you make a bold fashion statement while staying true to the Gala’s sneaker theme.

1. Sneaker-Centric Outfits

The foundation of your ensemble will be, of course, a pair of stylish sneakers. Opt for a pair that complements your personal style, whether it’s sleek and minimalist or vibrant and eye-catching. Classic white sneakers or black high-tops are versatile choices that can go well with various outfit combinations.

2. Elevated Evening Wear

While sneakers are the focal point, don’t shy away from dressing up your look. Consider pairing your sneakers with elegant evening wear to strike the perfect balance. For men, a well-fitted tailored suit in a bold or classic color, worn with a crisp white shirt and accessorized with a pocket square, will create a sophisticated and fashion-forward ensemble. Women can opt for a chic cocktail dress with a flowy or fitted silhouette and interesting details, like sequins or asymmetrical cuts.

3. Creative Pairings

To truly embrace the theme of the event, think outside the box and experiment with unconventional pairings. Mix casual and formal elements for a unique twist. Try combining a tailored blazer with a graphic t-shirt, tailored pants, and statement sneakers. For women, a flowing evening gown with a denim jacket and finished off with a pair of colorful sneakers, can create a playful and fashionable look.

4. Accessorize with Confidence

Accessories can elevate any outfit and tie the entire look together. Choose statement accessories that complement your sneaker choice. For men, a stylish watch, a pocket square, or a bold tie can add a touch of sophistication. Women can opt for eye-catching jewelry, such as oversized earrings or layered necklaces, to add a glamorous touch to their outfit.

5. Embrace Color and Prints

This event is all about celebrating personal style, so don’t be afraid to incorporate vibrant colors and bold prints into your outfit. Experiment with bright sneakers in complementary or contrasting colors to make a statement. Consider incorporating patterns like floral, animal print, or geometric designs into your clothing to create a visually striking ensemble.

6. Dress for Comfort

One of the advantages of a sneaker ball is the ability to combine style with comfort. Make sure you choose sneakers that not only look great but also provide ample support for a night of dancing and socializing. Look for pairs with cushioning, breathable materials, and a comfortable fit.

This year’s Honors Gala will allow you to showcase your personal style while supporting a worthy cause. By combining fashionable sneakers with well-curated outfits, you can create a look that’s both unique and sophisticated.

Join us for an unforgettable experience that will leave you feeling energized and proud to be a part of something that will make a difference. We believe One Idea Can Change the World®. Your support of this event will help make it a reality. 

About the Author

The mission of Association Forum is to advance the professional practice of association management. Founded in 1916, Association Forum serves 3,000 association professionals whose efforts serve more than 27 million members and generate $10 billion in global annual expenditures. Visit for more information.

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