Monday, September 15, 2014

EVENT ATTIRE for MEN: Debunking Dress Code Lingo

Scroll down to see the lingo for Women
Guys who aren't fashion savvy and metrosexuals alike are often confused by dress codes.  Don't feel bad, gentlemen.  Dress codes on invitations have gotten out of hand!  Unless you're going to a Pride party, you're not supposed to know what attire "Fabulous" is or what tie to wear to fit the "Festive" theme.  Look no further!  Here are the standard terms with photos to help you know what to wear to your next event.  If you come across an attire request that's not on this list, send me a note or post a comment and I'll enlighten you.
  See also EVENT ATTIRE for WOMEN:  Debunking Dress Code Lingo here.

WHITE TIE:  Take this literally.  Wear a white bow tie or cravat.  Do not wear a cummerbund.  Vest with tails or waistcoat is appropriate.  Nice, shiny tuxedo shoes are the only way to go with this attire.

More on White Tie:

BLACK TIE:  Once again, you can take this literally:  Tuxedo with black tie.  Cummerbund can be worn with this, but vest is much more debonair.

More on Black Tie: 

BLACK TIE OPTIONAL:  Dark Suit with dark tie.  Dark shirts can be paired with the dark suit.  This one can look a lot like black tie.   The difference is in the type of tie and the fabric  and cut of the suit.  Black Tie is always a tux.  Black Tie Optional is a suit OR a tux.  If you have the tux, wear it.
  More on Black Tie Optional:

COCKTAIL/SEMI-FORMAL/FESTIVE:  Suit or blazer with dress pants and a tie.  This suit can be any color or cut, and accessories can be colorful or patterned.  Always wear a tie.

DRESSY-CASUAL/SMART-CASUAL:  Dress pants and a blazer or sweater, tie shoes, long sleeved shirt and vest with tie, blazer and dress shirt.  Ties are optional.

CASUAL:  Jeans and a jacket or sweaters are acceptable.  Don’t wear shorts to an event unless its VERY casual like a BBQ or a beach volleyball party. Casual pants and loafers work in this category.
More on casual attire:

BEACH:  Light fabrics and colors are best for beach weddings.  Here’s where you break out the linen and seer sucker 

EVENT ATTIRE for WOMEN: Debunking Dress Code Lingo

If you're planning a party, do your guests a favor and keep the lingo for the dress code standard.  Don't use terms like "festive" without something following it like "cocktail".  Don't be vague and say "Fabulous" or create your own term that only your friends know like "L.A. Formal".  There are only a few descriptions you need. Here I've listed the dress code standards for Women.  Feel free to send me a note or comment if you have specific questions or want to send a pic to see if what you're planning is acceptable!
See also EVENT ATTIRE for MEN:  Debunking Dress Code Lingo here.

WHITE TIE:  Formal, floor-length gown or ball gown, glamorous

NEVER wear white or off-white to a wedding unless it is very specifically stated that the bride wants guests in white.  Dark colored dresses are better than pastels.  Neutrals are ok.  Sequins and bling are not appropriate, but some accent beading is acceptable.

BLACK TIE Can be floor-length or tea length.  Mini dresses or skirts are not appropriate.  Color and beading is acceptable, as well as tasteful sequins.

More on Black Tie: 

BLACK TIE OPTIONAL Dresses can be floor, tea, or knee length.  Beading and sequins are acceptable. Understated glamour is best.  Accessories are a key player in dressing up a classic little black dress.

COCKTAIL/SEMI-FORMAL/FESTIVE:  This is where you get to wear a little more bling, depending on the event.  If it’s a wedding, tone it down with beading that is elegant.  If it’s a holiday party, a sequin dress in a cheery color is perfect.  Tea-length or knee-length is most widely expected, but floor length in a more casual material or maxi style is also accepted.  Dressy suits fit into this category as well.

DRESSY-CASUAL/SMART-CASUALSundresses, “church” dresses, “date” dresses

CASUALFor an event like a wedding or an evening party, shorts and jeans are not acceptable.  Shorter dresses in more casual fabric like cotton can be worn in this category and patterns and colors are very well accepted.

BEACHLight and flowing fabrics work best.  Remember that beaches can be chilly, so bring a wrap or coordinating jacket.  Sandals work best for footwear.  Don’t assume that the guests will be expected to remove their shoes.