DRESSING UP: WHY DO WE DO IT?
Feeling great about your appearance is not dependent upon social obligations. You can dress up just because it makes you feel good. Most of the time, however, we put a lot of effort into our clothes when attending events with explicit dress codes. We should dress for two reasons in the best-case scenario: to boost our self-esteem and to look situationally appropriate.
Yet, knowing what is appropriate can be a challenge. Even when the dress code is explicitly stated, the jargon can be confusing. That's why we explained it here.
IF THE INVITATION STATES...
- Casual: You don't have to dress up. There is no dress code, so sneakers, jeans, and T-shirts are all acceptable.
- Dressy casual: You should dress up, but not too much. Many times, it's just a matter of wearing nicer shoes, a snazzier top, or pants that aren't blue jeans (although denim is fine with the right shirt -- more on that later).
- Business attire: Dress as if you were going to a client meeting. There is plenty of variation in this category. A suit, a knee-length skirt, or a blazer and khakis might be appropriate. Jeans and sneakers are definitely out.
- Cocktail: Dress more formally than you normally would. Wear separates in satin, silk, or velvet. Dresses. If in doubt, wear black.
- For black tie, you should wear an elegant dress - for example, a long gown or cocktail dress on the fancier side - or a tuxedo.
- For white tie, you should look very elegant. White gloves, floor-length gowns, and tailcoats are all on the table.