Etiquette and dress codes for evening wear have changed so much over the years that you are often left wondering what to wear. We break down these rules for you, so you know just what to pick for an evening out.
What’s the Occasion?
It’s usually the first question that pops to mind – and a good one to get you started. Has your host mentioned dress code? If so, she has made your work a lot easier. However, if there is any ambiguity, do a mental assessment of what your evening is going to be like.
Black Tie or Black Tie Optional
Yes there’s a huge difference. For a black tie event hosted on a large scale like charity balls, a special evening at the opera house, or a gala celebrating awards and accomplishments, you should opt for floor length gowns, or if you prefer shorter, go with your favourite LBD but accompanied with suitable jewellery.
You can sport gowns with embellishments and sequin dresses too, provided they are not strapless or thin-strapped. If you prefer shorter dresses or pastel shades, we recommend a dressy jacket or some jewelry to make sure you’ve dressed the part.
When it’s black tie optional, you can play with your look some more. For instance, long cocktail dresses with stylish purses and footwear and minimal or no jewellery would be a good look. For the more adventurous, a tux-style pantsuit or a well-fitted, pleated maxi skirt can be fun.
Wedding Celebrations or Rehearsal Dinners
The rules vary a bit if you are part of a wedding party. A huge wedding no-no is anything in white – to keep from upstaging the bride. As long as you steer clear from white, you can’t go too wrong.
Although most brides specify a dress code for the wedding itself, you may not have any instructions for the other celebrations. Take this to your advantage and play well with colours and fabrics. You can try silk or silk-blend dresses, shorter lengths and a more playful hairstyle as well.
If you are simply heading out for dinner, again play to the crowd. An intimate dinner does not have any specific dress codes. Just play to the weather and your after-dinner plans like dancing or movies.
If you are accompanying your spouse for a formal dinner though, dress up a bit more. Choose anything from sheer blouses with knee-length skirts to formal strapless dresses with a wrap.
Take a look at our Evening Wear collection and choose the right outfit for your event.