Party Time - Decoding social dress definitions

Most party invitations include a required dress code quote which can, and does, send a lot of people into a spin of ‘what to wear…’ It finds men, as well as women, facing a similar dilemma. Some quote ‘black tie’ attire and mean a tux for him and long dress for her while others use it because they want you to dress smart. One party you’d be wise to dress appropriately for is the office-party. A concept loaded with hierarchical and social issues were an appropriate dress choice can assist in keeping your work profile intact.

When choosing any party look, remember that not every occasion calls for a new outfit and a few key pieces can effortlessly transform a garment, to create the desired effect. Choose outfits that are consistent with your personal style as it will enhance your overall appearance and project a confident image. 

Use these definitions to help you dress the social code:

White Tie means ultra-formal. Men wear full dress, with white tie, waist coat, shirt and cummerbund. Women wear long gowns.

Black Tie means formal. Men wear tuxedos, women wear long dresses or dressy evening separates.

Ultra-formal means white tie. Men wear full dress, with white tie, waist coat, shirt and cummerbund. Women wear long gowns.

Formal usually means the same as black tie, but in some trendier cities like London & New York it could mean a black shirt, no tie with a tux. Women wear cocktail length, long dresses or dressy evening separates.

Black Tie Invited or Optional means you have the option of wearing a tuxedo, but it should clue you into the formality of the event, meaning a dark suit and tie would be your other option. Women wear cocktail, long dresses or dressy evening separates.

Creative Black Tie leaves room for trendy interpretations of formal wear. He can go more modern with a tux - maybe a black shirt, no tie. She wears long or short dresses or evening separates.

Semi-formal is the trickiest of all dress codes. Usually it means that tuxes are not required, nor are long dresses. An evening wedding (after 6 PM) would still dictate dark suits for him and a cocktail dress for her. Daytime semi formal events mean a suit for him and an appropriate short dress or dressy suit for her.

Cocktail Attire means short, elegant dresses for her and dark suits for him.

Dressy and Business Casual usually means sleek trousers and dressy shirt, no jeans or shorts skirts. 
Casual generally means anything goes.

Informal can mean the same as casual. However, when associated with a wedding or other special event, some form of decorum and good taste must prevail. A dress for her or a nice pair of trousers and shirt for him are informal, but respectful of the event.

©2018 DressYourWay Image & Style Consultancy E.& O.E 

Winter Guard

This season's main trends see the leather dress as one of its key items, alongside the return of the cape to grace the winter streets. One of my all-time favourite garments, its a worthy addition to any collection. From hats and oversized scarves, in furs and tweeds to a bit of eighties, nineties and shiny silver, there is something there for everyone. Here are a few key items you might want to consider investing in if you would like to update your seasonal collection:

Screen Shot 2016-10-31 at 18.21.38.png

Statement oversized outerwear of bold furs and doubled up wool coats

Hats and scarves: a great style statement and a good way to add colour to your outfit

Everlasting leather: think soft luxe textures, coloured leather dresses, tops and skirts

Animal print top to toe: hard to imagine but it is still one of the hottest trends….

Something tweed: a longer lasting trend in the fashion arena so worth investing in if you like it

Anything shiny silver, rust, garnet, deep greens, sapphire blue and amethyst

Lush silk: dresses, skirts and tops made of silk scarves, the more retro the better  

A statement cape: long or short, patterned or plain wool, lather, tartan or nylon.

Layering: from thin knits to doubling coats, give it a try, you might like it… 

Have fun with it and always DressYourWay, 


Summer White

Anne fontaine.jpg

For summer 2018 you will be wise to invest in white, whether you are in a hot or cooler climate. Wearing white is chic, elegant fresh and as timeless as black. However, if you decide to go for it please pay attention to the following:

A classic white blouse is a key basic all year round not just for summer. Short and fitted or a longer tunic cut, worn with a trouser suit or a pair of jeans, it will refresh your collection. Styles and fabrics vary, so let your choice reflect your shape and lifestyle. Take a look at Anne Fontaine's collection for ideas;

Avoid sheer and see-through whites for work at all cost but do wear them away from the office. When you do, remember to always wear nude and NOT white lingerie under white.

Add colourful pumps to skinny white jeans and soft shade heels to white dresses 

Replace the LBD by a statement LWD, the shops are full of options at the moment.

If you feel that white washes you out don't wear it. Replace with soft champagne or a very faint blue to complement your skin-tone.

A white shirt worn with embroidered or colourful bras are, for some, a fashion statement. However, when wearing it to the office or with a white T-shirt it can look a little too 'casual' so consider the occasion.

A white suit in the office can imply superiority to your colleagues and might place you apart from them. Consider this effect and judge accordingly. You might want to wear a white waistcoat with the suit in stone or soft shades of cream instead. 

Wearing white shoes will attract attention to your feet. Choose the style carefully and establish which one will emphasize the finished effect you are looking for. Often, a floral or two-tone design will soften the effect but remember to select a matching handbag. 

Have fun with it and as always, DressYourWay, Danit

Step Into Spring


The current spring/summer season is packed rich with new and ‘recycled’ styles. These looks offer even the most unassuming and modest, the opportunity to dream while looking chic and current. chic. I, as a known japanofile, particularly enjoyed seeing the strong influence of japanese design on the various runways. 

This time of year is a time to experiment with new. However, if you find change difficult, start small. There is no point in spending money on garments you will never wear just because the industry urges you to do so.  Keep your lifestyle in mind and only when you feel ready, take a little step to experiment with a new design or shade. Done correctly, these additions can transform your personal-style and add confidence to your dressing process. It might even awaken a whole new you….  

Some  ideas to look for are: 

Go bold in shades of green yellow and purple, or romantic in soft monochromes of pastel hues

Try some sheer and translucent fabrics or tule, satin and fringe if you feel it suits your personality

When deciding on an outfit, don’t shy away from combining geometrics dots & florals  

Bejewelled, triple or as evening-wear;  Denim is a key spring item. 

The Parka - dressy or casual, it is a very useful item for the uk spring.

As always, DressYourWay,