Not all parties are created equal. Neither are the dress codes on the invites you are mulling over RSVP'ng to. If you're not up to speed in the wardrobe department, we're here to help avoid any eye-rolls directed your way this holiday season with a cheat sheet on what to wear.
When Your Invite Says 'Cocktail'
Don't think too casual. Take this to mean dressing down is totally inappropriate so polo shirts on men are a definitive no, and super-short sexy minidresses stay put in the closet.
Do wear a dress that falls just above the knee. Pair it with a fab pair of heels.
Gents, you can't go wrong with a buttoned down shirt, a nice pair of slacks, a jacket and a tie.
When Your Invite Says 'Lounge Suit'
Don't ever mistake lounge to mean a 'chill wardrobe'.
Do know that a 'lounge suit' dress code is not as formal as 'Black Tie'. Ladies, your attire for the occasion should ideally be a business suit, business dress, or a business skirt paired with a fitted shirt or blouse and finished with a cardigan (in lieu of a jacket). As for the men, your checklist should include a dark suit (grey for early morning/afternoon) with black shoes and socks, a white shirt and a matching tie to complete the outfit.
NB: A chocolate Prada/Tom Ford/Oswald Boateng/suit works very well too
When Your Invite Says "Black-Tie'
Don't botch your chances at making an impression. Black-tie events are at the top of the rung on the social ladder. So, there's no screwing this one up.
Do channel Daniel Craig's James Bond if you're looking at a style statement. This will necessitate a classic tuxedo for the men. That's a white dress shirt with covered buttons, a cummerbund, self-tie, and black patent shoes. Key dress detail: your trouser colour and material should match your jacket.
If men think Bond, then women should visualise having a 'Bond girl' moment as perhaps an aristocrat with a yen for high fashion. Ladies, your dress is ideally a gorgeous gown that perfectly caresses the floor. Heels should be stylish, but not over-the-top; jewellery is fine — make a statement however, with estate jewellery.
Think Lorna Myers and a re-worded Truman Capote quote — "Lorna Myers had only one fault; she was perfect. Otherwise she was perfect".
THERE IS NO SUCH DRESS CODE AS CASUALLY ELEGANT!