Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Deciphering The Dress Code.

Lately the line between casual and formal wear has become increasingly blurred. There is much effort required in following traditional guidelines of dressing for an event, and so it is that blue jeans have become a red carpet norm, when they used to only be fit for ditch digging.
Whether this is for better or for worse is personal opinion. Shouldn't you be allowed to dress in whatever way you choose? On the other hand, we can all appreciate the old adage that dressing well is akin to good manners. Think of a woman you consider elegant...would she attend a special event in jeans? No? So why should any of us aspire to less?
My personal style is somewhat conservative, so please feel free to disagree. In my opinion, when you are friendly with those putting on the event, you may know what is acceptable based on more than the guidelines of an invitation. If however, you are at all unsure, it may be best to familiarize oneself with traditional standards of dress so as not to make a faux pas.

White Tie:
Men should wear tuxedos with tails, without exception.
Women should wear full length evening gowns, with long (opera) gloves.
Remember this?

This is a perfect example not only of white tie dress, but also, just how outdated it is. But if an occasion ever calls for it, you'll know.

Black Tie:

Men should wear tuxedos, sans tails.

Women should wear full length evening gowns, but you can definitely skip the gloves now, unless you like them. Be extremely careful should you choose to get creative here, and only do so if you are very familiar with with the host/hostess. The invite said black tie for a reason. If a gown really rubs you the wrong way, you may want to try a tux in a feminine cut. Here are a few examples of what I think is appropriate for a black tie event.

Beautiful open back on this gown, a nice back can be incredibly sexy.
Mary L Couture Open Back Jeweled Gown. $306.00 at Saks.com

Aidan Mattox Niteline Women's Sleeveless O-Ring Long Silk Chiffon Dress. $360.00 at Bloomingdales.com

Amsale Party One-Shoulder Chiffon Gown. $770.00 at saks.com

ABS One Shoulder Gown $435.00 at saks.com

ABS is known for recreating fashion do's. I absolutely adored this look on Katherine Hiegl at the 2008 Oscars. The skirt of the ABS version is a bit of a letdown though, but I'm seriously considering buying this dress and seeing what some good tailoring can do to it. So, come awards season, if a celeb is wearing a dress you love, remember to look out for a version from ABS coming soon.

Cocktail allows for a slightly more sexy and provocative style of dress. These dresses are generally not far below knee length, and depending on how much leg you like to show, they could be much higher than knee length.

Mandalay Beaded Dress. $1250.00 neimanmarcus.com

Mandalay Jewel Collar Dress. $965.00 neimanmarcus.com

Phoebe Couture Tier Petal Dress. $330.00

BCBGMAXAZRIA Strapless Faux Two Piece Dress. $298.00 Nordstrom.com

Notte by Marchesa One-Shoulder Chiffon Dress. $660.00 neimanmarcus.com

Diane von Furstenberg Devette Sequined Dress. $525.00 saks.com

Shout out to SGHI reader, Samantha, who inspired this post.


Toussane said...

Well I don't think its neccessary to be so conservative in this day and age, but I do feel you on your point about the hosts calling it black tie for a reason. I guess doing your own thing is not for all the time.

Kamilah said...

Thanks for your imput Toussane.
I understand people have different styles. Age, and the region you live in count for alot as well.
You hit the nail on the head with your comment, I consider it a sign of respect to your hosts to dress according to the invite.
Plus, generally guys hate to dress up, so if they're forced to wear tuxedos, then women shouldn't choose to wear whatever they want, just because they dont have to wear a specific uniform.