The time of year has arrived when party invitations seem to appear in your mailbox every other day. In addition to figuring out transportation for the celebration and what hostess gift to bring, you’ll also need to pick out an outfit. Even when the invitation doesn’t directly tell you how to dress, you can let some cues guide you.
Appearance of the Invitation
Take note of how formal the invitation itself is. An invitation in tuxedo colors is a hint that the event will require more regal affair. On the other hand, an invitation with a tropical decor or cartoon characters suggests a more informal fair. In fact, the party may even have a theme that you should dress for.
Once you know the event location, you can begin conducting some research online. Take a look at pictures on the venue’s website to see how guests dress at celebrations hosted there. Whether the event is indoors or outdoors will also tell you how prepared to be for the elements. Consider logistics too. If you’ll need to walk through a potentially muddy field to get to the party site, make sure that you wear the right shoes.
Time of Day
An event taking place in the morning or afternoon is likely to be more informal than one hosted in the evening. A party during in the late afternoon or early evening may very well require cocktail attire. The time of day can also give you a hint as to what meal you will eat or if the food will be more of a light snack. A sit-down dinner often requires fancier clothing than an afternoon party with appetizers.
Dress for the Occasion
Of course, you also must take into account what type of event you’re attending. For a wedding or an evening ball celebrating a holiday, you should plan to wear formal attire. On the other hand, if your friends are inviting you over for their annual holiday party, you can likely wear more casual clothing. Think about whom you will see and meet at the event to consider what type of impression you’d like to leave.
While you should take clues from the invitation itself, you also need to be aware of some specific dress codes, listed from the most formal to the most casual.
If you are invited to a white-tie event, note that you have received an invitation to the most formal of all affairs. A full-length gown is most appropriate for women, and many men will adorn themselves in a jacket with coattails.
A black-tie event is also quite formal. Tuxedos and full-length gowns are likely to be the choices of many guests.
For an evening event that isn’t a white-tie or black-tie celebration, you’ll probably wear semi-formal attire. For example, you could go with a suit or a cocktail dress.
A cocktail dress is appropriate in this situation too. However, your accessories and styling will be less glamorous than for a semi-formal celebration.
While you don’t want to show up in sweatpants or athletic gear, you can relax your outfit a bit for a casual event. You could opt for slacks and a nice shirt.
Treat each celebration as its own affair. Evaluate the circumstances; conduct any research you can. By doing so, you can show up in just the right outfit.