Whether it is the holiday season or a wedding save-the-date, there is something exciting about that first rip into an invitation. For many of you, your immediate thought is “What am I going to wear?” As you mentally tear through your closet, you know your heart has already set on purchasing something new. And why shouldn’t you? Even if you are recycling a gown, create a new look with different heels or a statement clutch. When attending a party, the most important things to keep in mind are feeling your best, being somewhat comfortable (fashion can be a slight pain!), and following the dress code. While it is acceptable to be a bit overdressed, you never want to be underdressed. Being underdressed means so long to feel ‘comfortable’.
Cocktail Attire: For women, this could mean tastefully short to a bit longer dresses; a good rule of thumb is for the length to range from mid-thigh to one inch below the knee. Tailored pants are acceptable, as well. Keep it interesting with bold color accents, fitted cuts or a unique textile. Silk, shantung, brocade, and velvet are your go-to cocktail fabrics. You can also spice things up with embellished garments or beading and sequins! For men, keep it simple with a nice dark suit.
Semi-Formal: Women should dress more formally than required for cocktail attire. Pantsuits may still be worn if they are refined in construction. Dresses length ideally ranges from an inch above the knee to two inches above the ankle. Taffeta, Chiffon,
Silk, Satin, Sateen, Gossamer, Brocade, Velour, and Velvet are all semi-formal approved fabrics. When it comes to men’s attire, don’t bother with a tuxedo; a dark suit and tie will suffice.
Business Formal: Business formal is very similar to semi-formal when it comes to women’s attire but it is even more modest. Women’s clothing should be carefully tailored and nothing revealing should be worn. Men can wear a suit and tie.
Black Tie/Formal: To play it safe women should avoid wearing pants or dress suits; these are rarely appropriate as formal wear. Instead opt for a dress ranging in length from knee to ankle, varying from a straight sheath dress to a full skirt and fitted bodice. Taffeta, Chiffon, Silk, Satin, Sateen, Gossamer, Brocade, Velour, Velvet, and Velveteen are all considered the textile norm. Colors may vary seasonally, but black remains a consistent favorite. As for the men, it’s time to break out that tuxedo!
Festive: Festive is very similar to the cocktail. Men can don a suit with a holiday-inspired tie or for even more casual-festive attire, a red colored sweater with nice slacks. Women add a bit of sparkle or holiday bent to your cocktail attire. A red silk blouse or beaded sweaters with black tailored pants are both appropriate.
For guests, following this dress code will keep you in the clear for any social events in your calendar! If you are hosting an event and would like to modify any of the above information or specify a different dress code than what is standard, be sure to inform your guests of your expectations so they can arrive fully prepared to enjoy your event to its fullest.