Posts tagged ‘dress’

February 28, 2011

Dressing for the occassion, formal attire

So you receive this invitation for a holiday party or a wedding or something and it specifies “formal attire” – what now?

Good question because simply saying you “formal attire” leaves room for interpretation – as the meaning has changed over time.  There is black tie and white tie (for guys) and most men I know (all??) don’t know the difference and if they do they sure don’t have either a black or a white tie attire handy. Then there is semi-formal but what used to be semi might now be okay for “full formal”

When in doubt ask about the expectations.

That look will get him into every party, pic: ohdiscount.com

Assuming we are talking a wedding here, big event, but not exactly royalty getting married “formal” would most likely imply for the gents: full suit with necktie or bow tie, maybe a vest (too hot??), leather shoes and belt, tasteful watch, body piercings removed.  However, it could mean that a tuxedo (formal in the traditional sense) is required, so better find out.  Btw, few men own these things –  that’s what tux rental places are for.

Woman would wear either a long evening gown or (careful here) a very nice cocktail dress, knee-length kind of thing (e.g. for a day time wedding).  In my experience it is entirely more comfortable to be dressed too nicely then being the only girl in a flowery garden party dress when everybody else is head-to-toe in silk.

Okay, so I admit it, that whole blog was just another excuse to show a picture of an immaculately dressed Daniel Craig.  For pictures of formally dressed women just open any of the “girly” magazines and you’ll see more than enough.

February 10, 2011

Dressing for the occassion, part 1

One of the eternally confusing things to me when I first moved to the US was the dress code. I expected people in business school to wear dresses and suits only to realize that wearing anything other than jeans/shorts, a t-shirt and sneakers would invariably result in the comment “wow, you dressed up today.”

I was shocked to see people in pink sweat suits at the symphony and unprepared for the first formal event I attended where everybody – other than me – knew that that meant long evening gown for the ladies.

Business casual for (pretty, young) women, pic: corporatejourney2u.com

Even the language around dress codes is somewhat confusing, especially when it comes to very formal events – which most people rarely or never attend.  So let’s look at the different dress codes in a somewhat systematic way starting with the ubiquitous “business casual”.

Many companies, even the once stodgy banks, these days expect business casual attire.  As the name indicates this is in the middle between casual (jeans, short, t-shirts, etc.) and business (suit).  Business casual is classic rather than trendy, neat, clean clothing, not too baggy, not too tight, definitely not revealing too much cleavage or a bare mid-riff.

Guy in business casual, pic: artofmanliness.com

For guys it is rather simple: khaki or dark pants, a pressed shirt, if you need it a sports coat or maybe even a nice sweater.  Leather belt and decent shoes – sneakers stay home – but so do neck-ties.

The how-to and how-not-to quick guide for men, pic: alanadawes.com

Women can dress pretty much the same.  sounds sort of boring and is but business casual is not about excitement.  Skirts shouldn’t be too short (forget what you see on TV, lawyers don’t prance around in micro-minis), tops not too tight, shoes not to high, wheels not to spiky, everything in solid colors, the clothing should not be too bright (bright accessories can be okay).  Pantyhose is mostly optimal.  Jewelry shouldn’t be too big and flashy – you get the idea.

Since pictures say more than a 1000 words I included several pics in this blog.