Tuesday, July 6, 2010

What to wear?

With wedding and event season in full swing many of you are probably dealing with the common question of what the appropriate attire for the occasion will be. Summer adds even more of a dilemma because the weather widens your options. This post today is about how to make the right decision if you are a guest and keep it simple if you are the host.
Terms like black tie seem obvious, but people often wonder, "Does that mean I have to wear a black tie?" It is confusing these days: Men can wear a gorgeous black suit with a monochromatic shirt and tie, or a single breasted black suit with a bow or straight tie. Both are acceptable at a black-tie event, as is the more traditional tuxedo. With women, I have noticed that black tie conjures up one thing: a black dress. This is disappointing because formal attire is a lot broader than we have been conditioned to think. It just means dress nicely as you can. Black tie is a more conservative atmosphere - therefore, shoes not sneakers, boobs should be kept under wraps, and hair and makeup should not be too over the top. But that doesn't mean that you can't bring a little bit of your personal style to the outfit. Guys can wear outrageous cufflinks or funky striped socks that peek out only when they are seated. Men's fashion designer Paul Smith offers amazing accessories for this purpose. Women have more choices: a fabulous broach, cool hair accessories, and of course great shoes and clutches. A moisturizer with a bit of sparkle in it across the upper chest and neck can look quite magical.
When you're inviting people you know well, you can create your own attire. I've seen casual chic used a lot in regard to dress. Simply, casual chic for men means that it's fine to wear a coat, no tie, an open collar, and a great pair of jeans - but no flip flops. Flip-flops are casual but not chic! The same rules apply for women, but if the flip-flops happen to have grown a nice wedge heel, I will lay down my sword. Girls can get away with a lot more in the dress code arena simply because we have so many options. We can wear a cotton halter dress with some chandelier earrings, but if a guy wears a simple cotton shirt, he needs to at least accessorize with a good pair of shoes. Casual chic also does not give you license to dress like a slut. We have thrown events ranging from Bohemian Chic to Cocktail Fabulous to Simply White. On that note, you can demand that your guests wear one color to your party, but keep in mind that at least half the people might not be so happy to comply. Guys find it relieving to be told what to wear, but women think that being forced to wear white on a fat day is the kiss of death.

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