There are some articles that just need to be written.
Each time that I find myself faced with a group event I hear the requests over and over again.
- May I wear jeans?
- What does smart casual mean?
- Do I need a gown to attend a red carpet event?
Generally speaking your host or hostess for the event will be able to give you a clue as to what is appropriate for their event. I’ve found that over the past five years since I’ve been attending red carpet events, cocktail parties, and brand events that one persons concept of casual business dress is VERY different than another.
Maybe it’s generational, but I grew up learning the difference very early on. I would NEVER wear jeans and a t-shirt to the country club, nor would I show up at a cocktail party in anything but a simple, but elegant cocktail dress. Emily Post I’m not, but she WAS required reading….even for a woman who grew up in the Woodstock generation.
If you’ve got a good functional (and classic) core wardrobe, this will be easy. If not, it’s time to build it.
1. If it’s business NIX THE JEANS- JEANS SHOULD NOT BE WORN. Events are BUSINESS. Do you ever see a PR rep wearing jeans? Is the woman speaking about the newest social media platform wearing jeans? Are the representatives from the brand wearing jeans? Then why are you?
2. If you want to be taken seriously, LOOK THE PART – I field e-mails and texts almost daily that ask me “How can I ahead?” “Why did so & so get that opp and not me? I was at the event too?” Blogging is a BUSINESS, and even though you may be sitting behind your computer at home in your yoga pants, the MOMENT you step out the door to meet with anyone for business, you need to be dressed for business.
3. You don’t have to spend a lot TO LOOK LIKE A MILLION DOLLARS. – I have a core wardrobe that’s simple, classic and elegant. I’ve worn my LBD for 6 years and while it seems like a lot of money when I handed over $250 for it, the average wearing probably cost me under $2.50. If I need a gown for a black tie event, I’d probably go to a consignment shop. Think before you make that purchase…
- Is it classic?
- Will I still be able to wear this in 5 years?
- Is it PRACTICAL?
- Can I accessorize it to change the look easily?
Don’t get me wrong, I want to have some trendy pieces, but my budget for those are limited to under $20 (and I probably only buy 2 or 3 per year).
The THREE BEARS, or does Goldilocks need a makeover?
Goldilocks tried all three bowls of porridge, chairs and beds before realizing what was “just right,” but you don’t have to make that mistake. Just like the 3 bears, there are 3 options when getting dressed.
Underdressing – Yoga pants, jeans, and shorts are fine for running your errands or grabbing a bite at that chain restaurant, but you don’t want to look like the sloppy one who doesn’t really care when in a business or social situation.
Overdressing – Over dressing can leave you looking tacky, gaudy, and down right cheap looking. Wearing a $500 dressed with more baubles than Tiffany will make you stand out like a sore thumb, and wearing a gown to anything but a ball or formal affair is just downright gauche. I was actually at an event one time where some of the people that I attended with were grossly overdressed. I heard chuckles and saw pointing fingers from the people that they were trying to impress. Needless to say, an impression was made, just not the one they were looking for.
Just Right – It took Goldilocks a few tries but eventually she got it. Simple, classic and timeless go just about everywhere. When you’re not quite sure – a little black dress can be perfect for a luncheon, meeting with the brand, or that red carpet event that you’re attending. I may tend to go with dresses, but you don’t have to, and color can make the difference that you want. A beautiful Ralph Lauren red dress with a statement necklace, a pencil skirt with a silky looking top, or some black slacks with a white shirt that’s accessorized with YOUR touch is all that you need, and will serve you well for MANY years.
Casual – Jeans, khakis, t-shirts, shorts, polo shirts, sundresses
Smart or Nice Casual – daytime dress, slacks & top, skirt & top
Business casual – Khaki, black or navy slacks or skirt with a nice blouse, a simple dress
Country Club Casual – A colored polo shirt and skort or skirt is PERFECT
Dressy Casual – Swap out a simple blouse for a dressy one. A simple skirt or slacks or EVEN NICE JEANS paired with a slightly fancier top will do, as will a dressier pants outfit or dress.
The next time, I’ll be tackling what to wear for the cocktail party or event you’re invited to.