Traditional recipes

How to Decode an Invitation’s Dress Code

How to Decode an Invitation’s Dress Code

If you’ve been lucky enough to score an invite to Lauren Bush’s marriage to Ralph Lauren’s son David this weekend, then you might just be wondering what exactly to wear to the grand “black tie with a Western twist” wedding, to be held at Lauren’s Colorado ranch. A tuxedo or chaps? Heels or cowboy boots? Well, here you can do both (though we’d recommend the tux with cowboy boots and hat, as the bride will be dressed in a formal Ralph Lauren-designed gown).

When invited to black tie weddings, it used to be that knowing what to wear was straightforward: a tux for the men and a nice dress for the ladies. But nowadays, what’s admissible and what should be left in the closet can be confusing. After all what’s the difference between black tie, black tie optional, and black tie with a twist (below, right)?

The dress code confusion isn’t just found at the more formal end of the spectrum, either. Just last month, one New York woman wearing a long shirt over her denim shorts was asked if she was wearing anything on under her shirt at all, only to later be pulled from the Florida-bound JetBlue flight. Had she’d known short-shorts are too relaxed to be considered casual, she’d have had no issue. Maybe she figured if one man can get away with wearing something that resembles women’s underwear, short-shorts are OK? Then again, at least she wasn’t wearing pajama pants.

Generations ago, when the invitation specified formal attire, there was really one option for both men and women: a suit and a long dress. Nowadays, dress codes have relaxed. Cocktail dresses are now considered appropriate enough for formal events as long as they’re not too revealing. That’s exactly what one Alabama teen learned last year, when she was suspended for three days because of the strapless dress what she wore to her senior prom.

Whether you’re headed to a backyard barbecue or are invited to a formal white tie wedding (right), knowing exactly what to wear so you don’t commit a party foul and stick out like a sore thumb can be a challenge. That’s why we’ve deciphered eleven of the most common codes of dress that are likely to appear on party invitations. No, the “creative black tie” on that wedding invitation doesn’t give you creative license to forgo the tux altogether? But opportunities for expression of style abound about when it comes to your shirt, bowtie, and cummerbund. We’ll even help clarify the confusing nuances between business formal and cocktail dress to ensure you don’t commit a fashion crime of your own. Hopefully Jersey Shore’s Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino isn’t heading to a function at an old-fashioned club like New York’s Union League Club or San Francisco’s University Club any time soon. “Club attire” requires he wear at least a nice pair of khakis and a button down shirt. Now that preppy retailer Abercrombie & Fitch has offered to pay him to not wear their clothing, where else will he go to get his preppy chic fix?


Decoding Invitation Dress Codes

As the holidays approach, so do party invitations and the potentially confusing dress code requests. "The point of adding a dress code is so that everyone feels comfortable -- it puts everyone on the same playing field," says etiquette consultant and author Mindy Lockard. "Since the invitation itself sets the tone, you can use playful words in the invitation, but be very clear what you're saying in that dress code line the role of the host is to make this as easy as possible for guests." Got that hosts? Don't be clever with "Smoking Attire" or "Festive Chic" -- simply state what guests should wear.

If a dress code request is unclear, delicately ask the host for further explanation. "You can say, 'I wanted to check in on the dress code' or ask what people will be wearing and offer what you were thinking of," suggests Lockard. "Just ask for clarification."

Nowadays, the traditional codes have become a bit more casual, even more so outside of Manhattan and D.C. When it comes to decoding, white tie is the most formal (jackets with tails and a white tie for men, long gowns for women), followed by formal and black tie (a jacket without tails and black tie for men, gowns or a dressy knee- or tea-length dress for women), cocktail and black tie optional (a suit for men, cocktail dresses for women), business casual (work clothes such as trousers and a button-up for men and a skirt and top for women) and casual (which means anything non-dressy is appropriate, but know your host and the occasion to decide how casual that should mean). If you're party hopping and don't have time to dress between parties, dress for the fancier affair. "You'll feel more confident dressed up than dressed down," says Lockard.

And what if you don't like the cheesy holiday sweater dress code that a host writes on an invite? "When you RSVP to an event, then you're accepting the request of the host," says Lockard. "You're a bit of a poor sport if you choose not to go because you don't like the ugly sweater theme." Have you experienced bizarre dress requests? Share them here!


Decoding Invitation Dress Codes

As the holidays approach, so do party invitations and the potentially confusing dress code requests. "The point of adding a dress code is so that everyone feels comfortable -- it puts everyone on the same playing field," says etiquette consultant and author Mindy Lockard. "Since the invitation itself sets the tone, you can use playful words in the invitation, but be very clear what you're saying in that dress code line the role of the host is to make this as easy as possible for guests." Got that hosts? Don't be clever with "Smoking Attire" or "Festive Chic" -- simply state what guests should wear.

If a dress code request is unclear, delicately ask the host for further explanation. "You can say, 'I wanted to check in on the dress code' or ask what people will be wearing and offer what you were thinking of," suggests Lockard. "Just ask for clarification."

Nowadays, the traditional codes have become a bit more casual, even more so outside of Manhattan and D.C. When it comes to decoding, white tie is the most formal (jackets with tails and a white tie for men, long gowns for women), followed by formal and black tie (a jacket without tails and black tie for men, gowns or a dressy knee- or tea-length dress for women), cocktail and black tie optional (a suit for men, cocktail dresses for women), business casual (work clothes such as trousers and a button-up for men and a skirt and top for women) and casual (which means anything non-dressy is appropriate, but know your host and the occasion to decide how casual that should mean). If you're party hopping and don't have time to dress between parties, dress for the fancier affair. "You'll feel more confident dressed up than dressed down," says Lockard.

And what if you don't like the cheesy holiday sweater dress code that a host writes on an invite? "When you RSVP to an event, then you're accepting the request of the host," says Lockard. "You're a bit of a poor sport if you choose not to go because you don't like the ugly sweater theme." Have you experienced bizarre dress requests? Share them here!


Decoding Invitation Dress Codes

As the holidays approach, so do party invitations and the potentially confusing dress code requests. "The point of adding a dress code is so that everyone feels comfortable -- it puts everyone on the same playing field," says etiquette consultant and author Mindy Lockard. "Since the invitation itself sets the tone, you can use playful words in the invitation, but be very clear what you're saying in that dress code line the role of the host is to make this as easy as possible for guests." Got that hosts? Don't be clever with "Smoking Attire" or "Festive Chic" -- simply state what guests should wear.

If a dress code request is unclear, delicately ask the host for further explanation. "You can say, 'I wanted to check in on the dress code' or ask what people will be wearing and offer what you were thinking of," suggests Lockard. "Just ask for clarification."

Nowadays, the traditional codes have become a bit more casual, even more so outside of Manhattan and D.C. When it comes to decoding, white tie is the most formal (jackets with tails and a white tie for men, long gowns for women), followed by formal and black tie (a jacket without tails and black tie for men, gowns or a dressy knee- or tea-length dress for women), cocktail and black tie optional (a suit for men, cocktail dresses for women), business casual (work clothes such as trousers and a button-up for men and a skirt and top for women) and casual (which means anything non-dressy is appropriate, but know your host and the occasion to decide how casual that should mean). If you're party hopping and don't have time to dress between parties, dress for the fancier affair. "You'll feel more confident dressed up than dressed down," says Lockard.

And what if you don't like the cheesy holiday sweater dress code that a host writes on an invite? "When you RSVP to an event, then you're accepting the request of the host," says Lockard. "You're a bit of a poor sport if you choose not to go because you don't like the ugly sweater theme." Have you experienced bizarre dress requests? Share them here!


Decoding Invitation Dress Codes

As the holidays approach, so do party invitations and the potentially confusing dress code requests. "The point of adding a dress code is so that everyone feels comfortable -- it puts everyone on the same playing field," says etiquette consultant and author Mindy Lockard. "Since the invitation itself sets the tone, you can use playful words in the invitation, but be very clear what you're saying in that dress code line the role of the host is to make this as easy as possible for guests." Got that hosts? Don't be clever with "Smoking Attire" or "Festive Chic" -- simply state what guests should wear.

If a dress code request is unclear, delicately ask the host for further explanation. "You can say, 'I wanted to check in on the dress code' or ask what people will be wearing and offer what you were thinking of," suggests Lockard. "Just ask for clarification."

Nowadays, the traditional codes have become a bit more casual, even more so outside of Manhattan and D.C. When it comes to decoding, white tie is the most formal (jackets with tails and a white tie for men, long gowns for women), followed by formal and black tie (a jacket without tails and black tie for men, gowns or a dressy knee- or tea-length dress for women), cocktail and black tie optional (a suit for men, cocktail dresses for women), business casual (work clothes such as trousers and a button-up for men and a skirt and top for women) and casual (which means anything non-dressy is appropriate, but know your host and the occasion to decide how casual that should mean). If you're party hopping and don't have time to dress between parties, dress for the fancier affair. "You'll feel more confident dressed up than dressed down," says Lockard.

And what if you don't like the cheesy holiday sweater dress code that a host writes on an invite? "When you RSVP to an event, then you're accepting the request of the host," says Lockard. "You're a bit of a poor sport if you choose not to go because you don't like the ugly sweater theme." Have you experienced bizarre dress requests? Share them here!


Decoding Invitation Dress Codes

As the holidays approach, so do party invitations and the potentially confusing dress code requests. "The point of adding a dress code is so that everyone feels comfortable -- it puts everyone on the same playing field," says etiquette consultant and author Mindy Lockard. "Since the invitation itself sets the tone, you can use playful words in the invitation, but be very clear what you're saying in that dress code line the role of the host is to make this as easy as possible for guests." Got that hosts? Don't be clever with "Smoking Attire" or "Festive Chic" -- simply state what guests should wear.

If a dress code request is unclear, delicately ask the host for further explanation. "You can say, 'I wanted to check in on the dress code' or ask what people will be wearing and offer what you were thinking of," suggests Lockard. "Just ask for clarification."

Nowadays, the traditional codes have become a bit more casual, even more so outside of Manhattan and D.C. When it comes to decoding, white tie is the most formal (jackets with tails and a white tie for men, long gowns for women), followed by formal and black tie (a jacket without tails and black tie for men, gowns or a dressy knee- or tea-length dress for women), cocktail and black tie optional (a suit for men, cocktail dresses for women), business casual (work clothes such as trousers and a button-up for men and a skirt and top for women) and casual (which means anything non-dressy is appropriate, but know your host and the occasion to decide how casual that should mean). If you're party hopping and don't have time to dress between parties, dress for the fancier affair. "You'll feel more confident dressed up than dressed down," says Lockard.

And what if you don't like the cheesy holiday sweater dress code that a host writes on an invite? "When you RSVP to an event, then you're accepting the request of the host," says Lockard. "You're a bit of a poor sport if you choose not to go because you don't like the ugly sweater theme." Have you experienced bizarre dress requests? Share them here!


Decoding Invitation Dress Codes

As the holidays approach, so do party invitations and the potentially confusing dress code requests. "The point of adding a dress code is so that everyone feels comfortable -- it puts everyone on the same playing field," says etiquette consultant and author Mindy Lockard. "Since the invitation itself sets the tone, you can use playful words in the invitation, but be very clear what you're saying in that dress code line the role of the host is to make this as easy as possible for guests." Got that hosts? Don't be clever with "Smoking Attire" or "Festive Chic" -- simply state what guests should wear.

If a dress code request is unclear, delicately ask the host for further explanation. "You can say, 'I wanted to check in on the dress code' or ask what people will be wearing and offer what you were thinking of," suggests Lockard. "Just ask for clarification."

Nowadays, the traditional codes have become a bit more casual, even more so outside of Manhattan and D.C. When it comes to decoding, white tie is the most formal (jackets with tails and a white tie for men, long gowns for women), followed by formal and black tie (a jacket without tails and black tie for men, gowns or a dressy knee- or tea-length dress for women), cocktail and black tie optional (a suit for men, cocktail dresses for women), business casual (work clothes such as trousers and a button-up for men and a skirt and top for women) and casual (which means anything non-dressy is appropriate, but know your host and the occasion to decide how casual that should mean). If you're party hopping and don't have time to dress between parties, dress for the fancier affair. "You'll feel more confident dressed up than dressed down," says Lockard.

And what if you don't like the cheesy holiday sweater dress code that a host writes on an invite? "When you RSVP to an event, then you're accepting the request of the host," says Lockard. "You're a bit of a poor sport if you choose not to go because you don't like the ugly sweater theme." Have you experienced bizarre dress requests? Share them here!


Decoding Invitation Dress Codes

As the holidays approach, so do party invitations and the potentially confusing dress code requests. "The point of adding a dress code is so that everyone feels comfortable -- it puts everyone on the same playing field," says etiquette consultant and author Mindy Lockard. "Since the invitation itself sets the tone, you can use playful words in the invitation, but be very clear what you're saying in that dress code line the role of the host is to make this as easy as possible for guests." Got that hosts? Don't be clever with "Smoking Attire" or "Festive Chic" -- simply state what guests should wear.

If a dress code request is unclear, delicately ask the host for further explanation. "You can say, 'I wanted to check in on the dress code' or ask what people will be wearing and offer what you were thinking of," suggests Lockard. "Just ask for clarification."

Nowadays, the traditional codes have become a bit more casual, even more so outside of Manhattan and D.C. When it comes to decoding, white tie is the most formal (jackets with tails and a white tie for men, long gowns for women), followed by formal and black tie (a jacket without tails and black tie for men, gowns or a dressy knee- or tea-length dress for women), cocktail and black tie optional (a suit for men, cocktail dresses for women), business casual (work clothes such as trousers and a button-up for men and a skirt and top for women) and casual (which means anything non-dressy is appropriate, but know your host and the occasion to decide how casual that should mean). If you're party hopping and don't have time to dress between parties, dress for the fancier affair. "You'll feel more confident dressed up than dressed down," says Lockard.

And what if you don't like the cheesy holiday sweater dress code that a host writes on an invite? "When you RSVP to an event, then you're accepting the request of the host," says Lockard. "You're a bit of a poor sport if you choose not to go because you don't like the ugly sweater theme." Have you experienced bizarre dress requests? Share them here!


Decoding Invitation Dress Codes

As the holidays approach, so do party invitations and the potentially confusing dress code requests. "The point of adding a dress code is so that everyone feels comfortable -- it puts everyone on the same playing field," says etiquette consultant and author Mindy Lockard. "Since the invitation itself sets the tone, you can use playful words in the invitation, but be very clear what you're saying in that dress code line the role of the host is to make this as easy as possible for guests." Got that hosts? Don't be clever with "Smoking Attire" or "Festive Chic" -- simply state what guests should wear.

If a dress code request is unclear, delicately ask the host for further explanation. "You can say, 'I wanted to check in on the dress code' or ask what people will be wearing and offer what you were thinking of," suggests Lockard. "Just ask for clarification."

Nowadays, the traditional codes have become a bit more casual, even more so outside of Manhattan and D.C. When it comes to decoding, white tie is the most formal (jackets with tails and a white tie for men, long gowns for women), followed by formal and black tie (a jacket without tails and black tie for men, gowns or a dressy knee- or tea-length dress for women), cocktail and black tie optional (a suit for men, cocktail dresses for women), business casual (work clothes such as trousers and a button-up for men and a skirt and top for women) and casual (which means anything non-dressy is appropriate, but know your host and the occasion to decide how casual that should mean). If you're party hopping and don't have time to dress between parties, dress for the fancier affair. "You'll feel more confident dressed up than dressed down," says Lockard.

And what if you don't like the cheesy holiday sweater dress code that a host writes on an invite? "When you RSVP to an event, then you're accepting the request of the host," says Lockard. "You're a bit of a poor sport if you choose not to go because you don't like the ugly sweater theme." Have you experienced bizarre dress requests? Share them here!


Decoding Invitation Dress Codes

As the holidays approach, so do party invitations and the potentially confusing dress code requests. "The point of adding a dress code is so that everyone feels comfortable -- it puts everyone on the same playing field," says etiquette consultant and author Mindy Lockard. "Since the invitation itself sets the tone, you can use playful words in the invitation, but be very clear what you're saying in that dress code line the role of the host is to make this as easy as possible for guests." Got that hosts? Don't be clever with "Smoking Attire" or "Festive Chic" -- simply state what guests should wear.

If a dress code request is unclear, delicately ask the host for further explanation. "You can say, 'I wanted to check in on the dress code' or ask what people will be wearing and offer what you were thinking of," suggests Lockard. "Just ask for clarification."

Nowadays, the traditional codes have become a bit more casual, even more so outside of Manhattan and D.C. When it comes to decoding, white tie is the most formal (jackets with tails and a white tie for men, long gowns for women), followed by formal and black tie (a jacket without tails and black tie for men, gowns or a dressy knee- or tea-length dress for women), cocktail and black tie optional (a suit for men, cocktail dresses for women), business casual (work clothes such as trousers and a button-up for men and a skirt and top for women) and casual (which means anything non-dressy is appropriate, but know your host and the occasion to decide how casual that should mean). If you're party hopping and don't have time to dress between parties, dress for the fancier affair. "You'll feel more confident dressed up than dressed down," says Lockard.

And what if you don't like the cheesy holiday sweater dress code that a host writes on an invite? "When you RSVP to an event, then you're accepting the request of the host," says Lockard. "You're a bit of a poor sport if you choose not to go because you don't like the ugly sweater theme." Have you experienced bizarre dress requests? Share them here!


Decoding Invitation Dress Codes

As the holidays approach, so do party invitations and the potentially confusing dress code requests. "The point of adding a dress code is so that everyone feels comfortable -- it puts everyone on the same playing field," says etiquette consultant and author Mindy Lockard. "Since the invitation itself sets the tone, you can use playful words in the invitation, but be very clear what you're saying in that dress code line the role of the host is to make this as easy as possible for guests." Got that hosts? Don't be clever with "Smoking Attire" or "Festive Chic" -- simply state what guests should wear.

If a dress code request is unclear, delicately ask the host for further explanation. "You can say, 'I wanted to check in on the dress code' or ask what people will be wearing and offer what you were thinking of," suggests Lockard. "Just ask for clarification."

Nowadays, the traditional codes have become a bit more casual, even more so outside of Manhattan and D.C. When it comes to decoding, white tie is the most formal (jackets with tails and a white tie for men, long gowns for women), followed by formal and black tie (a jacket without tails and black tie for men, gowns or a dressy knee- or tea-length dress for women), cocktail and black tie optional (a suit for men, cocktail dresses for women), business casual (work clothes such as trousers and a button-up for men and a skirt and top for women) and casual (which means anything non-dressy is appropriate, but know your host and the occasion to decide how casual that should mean). If you're party hopping and don't have time to dress between parties, dress for the fancier affair. "You'll feel more confident dressed up than dressed down," says Lockard.

And what if you don't like the cheesy holiday sweater dress code that a host writes on an invite? "When you RSVP to an event, then you're accepting the request of the host," says Lockard. "You're a bit of a poor sport if you choose not to go because you don't like the ugly sweater theme." Have you experienced bizarre dress requests? Share them here!


Watch the video: So style ich ein Hochzeitsgast-Outfit #1. natashagibson (December 2021).