Party Dress Code Deciphered

It’s the party time of year, the invites are dropping through the letterbox or into the inbox, and you’re all excited. Until you see the dress code. Lounge Suit? Cocktail? White Tie? What do they mean? Fear not, we’re here get those dress codes deciphered, and ensure you won’t get it wrong!

Of course, does it really matter? Well, in certain situations, probably not. But, if you are a traditionalist, you will want to stick to the correct attire, so getting those dress codes deciphered is key.

For guys, it’s usually pretty easy – but for the women it’s a minefield of hem lengths, colours, embellishments and more! We’ve picked five dress codes to decipher for you.

WHITE TIE

If you get an invite that requires white tie, then you are moving in the right circles! It’s the most formal, and rare of all dress codes. It’s worn in the evening, specifically for royal ceremonies or balls. It used to be more common, back in the Downton Abbey days, and it’s an excuse to really dress up!

For men, it’s tails, and for the women, it’s full-length gowns. Apparently, according to Debrett’s, that manual of all things ‘proper’, it’s traditional to show some décolletage! With your gorgeous gowns, go for striking jewels, and even a tiara if you fancy. Carry a small, elegant evening bag, maybe add some long evening gloves, and a smart evening coat, cloak or wrap.

party Dress codes deciphered twpl-r: Silver emebellished gown, £99.99, nude Deco style gown, £119.99, both New Look, black plunging neckline gown, £180, French Connection, blue gown, £195, Debut @ Debenhams

BLACK TIE

Probably the most popular of evening dress codes for balls, and parties, black tie for the guys is simple – a tuxedo. For the women, it’s a minefield. You can wear a shorter, or midi dress, but if you want to play it safe, go for full length. And remember, your dress doesn’t have to be black!

But…don’t go for full on crazy colour or theme unless the code is festive black tie, or creative black tie. Women can wear trousers, or jumpsuits, but a palazzo cut is better than tight fitting. Don’t wear a tiara, keep your jewels to a minimum (no-one likes a show-off!) and carry appropriate accessories.

Party dress codes deciphered onel-r: red gown, £29.99, H&M, glittery maxi, £42, BHS, belted jumpsuit, £42, BHS, black and white maxi dress, £tbc, New Look

COCKTAIL

This one should explain itself. A man should wear a smart suit, three piece is great. For the women, a cocktail dress is all you need. That’s a party dress to you and me. Gauge the event you’re going to on how short or not this party frock can be.

Do the same with straps or not, how glitzy your look is. Cocktail is the dress code most dependent on what the party is. Evening bags, statement heels, big jewels – gauge your look by your event. Two pieces for women are acceptable.

dress codes deciphered cocktail Clockwise, from top left: blue lace overlay dress, £99, Debut @ Debenhams, black embellished neck dress, £38, BHS, fringed dress, £39.99, New Look, skirt and top, £72, Julien Macdonald @ Debenhams

LOUNGE SUIT

Probably the most misinterpreted dress code, and well, it’s not a surprise really – what on earth is a lounge suit?! Well, it doesn’t actually exist. This dress code means for men, a daytime suit, a work suit, and for women a simple, unfussy day dress.

This dress code is usually reserved for daytime events like christenings, lunches, receptions, and business events in the day or evening. Don’t wear a ballgown, don’t wear a maxi dress, don’t wear glitter, and you should be fine!

dress codes deciphered lounge suit Clockwise, from top left: Blue long sleeve dress, £65, JOY, cream lace dress, £29.99, H&M, brocade full skirt dress, £tbc, Debenhams, organza shift, £55, BHS

FESTIVE

A festive dress code does not necessarily mean your Christmas jumper! Unless you know that will go down okay, avoid!

Think sequins, and festive colours. Green and red and gold are perfect for this dress code. If you don’t want to wear a dress, and you reckon your event will allow for it, try some glittery jeans and a subtle sweater or blouse. If you feel like you can, have fun with this dress code, men and women!

dress codes deciphered festiveClockwise, from top left: Red ruffle dress, £49.99, H&M, glitter jeans, £24, baroque glitter jumper, £28, both BHS, red dress, £56, French Connection, red and green sequin dress, £95, JOY, green sequin dress, £39.99, New Look

White tie is the most formal, and rare, of dress codes, worn in the evening for royal ceremonies and balls. It may also be specified for formal evening weddings.

White tie is also known as ‘full evening dress’, ‘full dress’, ‘evening dress’ or, informally, as ‘tails’.

– See more at: http://www.debretts.com/british-etiquette/british-behaviour/h/dress-codes/white-tie#sthash.IJoQWbIP.dpuf

White tie is the most formal, and rare, of dress codes, worn in the evening for royal ceremonies and balls. It may also be specified for formal evening weddings.

White tie is also known as ‘full evening dress’, ‘full dress’, ‘evening dress’ or, informally, as ‘tails’.

– See more at: http://www.debretts.com/british-etiquette/british-behaviour/h/dress-codes/white-tie#sthash.IJoQWbIP.dpuf

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