Have you been invited to an event and had no clue as to what is actually appropriate to wear?

How a stylist breaks it down…

One of the first and most obvious is the small print on the lower right or left corner of the invite indicating the dress code – cocktail, formal, casual chic, business casual, business formal, festive…etc… [I especially adore the ‘Martini Chic’, ‘White Tie Smart’, ‘Miami Swank’ etc. these types of requested dress codes make me want to go even more!] The web offers images and definitions, but after that, you must decide -within those parameters- the brands and styles that work best for your physique and personal style.

Next, consider the appropriate fabrics and colors of the season, and, of course, the weather for what is appropriate to wear. Extra lightweight fabrics like linen/linen blends cotton, silk and lighter weight wool gabardine in summer… more gutsy fabrics like velvet in winter [and yes, velvet is only late November through first weeks of March]. Seasonal hues of color are usually obvious. When in doubt, rich jewel tones are timeless. The time of day for the event usually calls for different looks…morning affairs are more conservative than cocktail parties.. Florals tend to be more daytime than night, for instance.

The venue. Special affairs at country clubs typically hold more formal affairs than, say, banquet halls. A ceremony in a religious institution calls for more conservatively dressed-up looks than at a residence or courthouse. Think through the venue before you decide what to wear. Of course, the longitude and latitude dictates cultural details for the event …nowhere in the state of Kentucky would a female guest at a wedding wear head to toe black, yet in New York, just three states away, this is quite common. Just as Miami attire differs greatly from that of Boston. Scrutinize what NOT to wear. Especially when the affair is religious, be respectful. Choose conservative over your most fabulous…don the head covering if that is what is observed during this type of event.

The invitation itself: what is the weight of the card stock? The heavier the stock, the more dollars invested in the party – in general. What is the font of the print? A cursive font is more formal than block print. The all white with silver or gold colors on an invite typically reveal the formality of the affair. Invitations with lots of color tend to be more on the casual and or festive side.

Lastly, ask yourself what would you like to see your guests wear if you were hosting this celebration?? People who dress up show the host that they are adding ‘flair’ to the event…and, of course, well-dressed guests are perfect subjects for photographs showing a great time! One consideration is to visualize your entire look: your hair, outfit, accessories, and shoes – the whole photograph. Now pair that vision alongside this invitation: do they pair well together?

Hopefully, you know the person who invited you…determine from there the feel of their personality. The process above should alleviate most apprehension. However, it is not inappropriate to ask if you remain in doubt. All in all, anticipate those photographs!!

Questions pertaining to DRESSING APPROPRIATELY may be sent to tashia@theHLNcompany.com. (It’s better to know than not to know ~)

Tashia Rahl is the owner of The Hottest Latest Newest Company, inc [aka HLN] – the foremost dependable wardrobe management firm in SOUTH Florida. Providing styling advice across three continents to men, women, and kids since the mid 1980’s, HLN brings a life-long learning experience of ‘dressing to succeed’ in whatever your heart desires.