Ok, here it is – the clue to de-coding the dress code hmmmmm… dum, dum, dum…

It all depends on what the guy is wearing!!!! That’s the rule of thumb, the barometer of sorts. So, what I mean is if the invitation calls for Black Tie Optional and the gentleman you are attending with will be wearing a tux then you can/should wear a black tie gown. If it’s Black Tie Optional and he is wearing a suit (that is the option my guy usually picks if optional is an option) than a cocktail dress is appropriate. Dressy casual – well in this case the guy will probably wear a sport coat but not a suit, maybe with jeans (that’s the oxymoron part, jeans + a nicer top = Dressy Casual) so that’s your guide, get it? Even if you are attending the event sans gentleman you can still use this rule to figure out what to wear there. Country Club Attire usually means no jeans but still casual, not a suit – so if the man is wearing a sport coat and slacks or a collared shirt then we ladies follow that lead. Honestly, Night Club Fabulous is a new one for me but in my professional opinion I would NOT have your man wear a white leisure suit a’la John Travolta in Saturday Night Fever. I’d try a fun collared shirt and jeans, maybe a sport coat or better yet a leather jacket? And then you get to do the same – something fun with a little fabulousness – something not completely office appropriate – so add some sparkle, lace, leather or a sky-high heel to fab it up.
To answer some of the readers posts (And thank you for posting!!! It is so nice to know there is a conversation happening!) Funky Black Tie translates to the gentlemen, ditch the basic black tie and add a fun or unusual tie/vest or even a tux jacket – think a deep navy blue velvet tux jacket. And ladies that then gives you the opportunity to take it up a notch too — add fun stockings or a bag with jewels, pile on the bracelets – a single something that makes a statement and takes your black tie ensemble from stuffy to funky. Festive dress codes usually occur around holiday party time – a great way to make outfits more festive is to simply add bling, sequins, sparkle, metallic – they all add to that festive feeling.
I’m a visual person so we’ve comprised some appropriate “looks” for the various dress code hmmmm…. moments.

Cleveland-based personal stylist and fashion blogger.

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