Journal Stories: Secrets of a bored girl
Dress Codes Deciphered
The holiday season is nothing really but party after party after family dinner after wedding after New Year’s event after gala. You have many events to attend and many outfits to wear. Fun! Wait… what exactly is Creative Black Tie?
I’ve already been to one anniversary party (granted I was bartending at said party), and have seen some of the things people wear to fancy events. Wow.
Ladies’ Home Journal recently sent out an article in their newsletter about “Deciphering Party Dress Codes,” and I thought it was perfect for our previous beauty discussions, with a few added pieces of advice from my Flowers Journal.
White Tie is the dressiest, most formal type of event. Long, formal evening gowns are expected; gloves are optional. According to LHJ, this is the time to go all out with beading, fur stoles and Monolo Blahnik pumps –whatever those are. Think: Red carpet at the Oscars. This is not the time for a little black dress.
Hair and makeup should be elegant and understated. A French twist with a polished part and non-greasy shine would be the perfect hair style. Expertly applied red lipstick and delicate eye makeup would also be a perfect fit. Flashy fake eyelashes and gaudy body glitter are a definite “no” at White Tie events.
Black Tie is less dressy than White Tie, but still formal. Clothing choices include long gowns in satin or velvet, shorter knee-length dresses with glamorous heels (the statement piece) and dressed-up separates, like a beaded skirt and shell set (no skirts suits ladies, it’s not the office).
Hair and makeup follow the same basic rule as White Tie: elegant and polished, but I think a Black Tie event is the time to pull out shiny hair, which conveys energy and poise.
In order to get that “Shot at Fame” hairstyle, rub gel through damp hair. Blow-dry, and then curl half-inch sections If you want the glamour waves, use two different irons of different heat settings and sizes for curls that really “wow.” Pin those sections to your scalp with bobbins and let hair cool. Then, take your curls down. Brush through until they become soft, light-catching waves. Finish with a high-shine hair spray. Viola!
Black Tie Invited/Black Tie Optional is, again, formal, but not in the utmost dressy. I’ve never heard of this type of event. Black Tie Optional usually refers to men’s clothing (tuxedo or dark suit); women can follow black tie dressing rules.
Creative Black Tie Formal is formal but with a trendy twist. Modest gowns worn at White and Black Tie events give way to fun options, such as a cashmere sweater with a satin ball gown skirt, tuxedo pants and silk halter, or a red-carpet-inspired dress by a hip designer (or something that just looks like it’s from a hip designer –I can’t afford designer clothes at all).
Hair and makeup can reflect trends, too. Try sleek, straight hair worn down or a posh ponytail. To do: Flip hair upside down to position the pony as high as possible and secure with a tie. Back comb the top inch of the loose tail to add some “oomph.” LHJ said to try a fun lipstick color like purple or orange… I’m going to stick with the old standby: red.
Cocktail Attire is festive and fun; not as dressy as White or Black tie events. Stick to knee-length dresses with details like lace or cutouts, pair with kitten-heel (no clue) shoes or sexy, strappy sandals (my fav). I have a black cocktail halter dress with ruched torso and black- and white-flowered layers for the skirt. Super cute. I wear it everywhere.
Cocktail parties call for festive hair and makeup, too. I think this is where you can pull out the body glitter, or at least a shimmering lotion, and the glossy lips. For your hair, I recommend the textured bun. Blow dry hair with a diffuser to bring out natural waves or create spirals with a curling iron. Use your fingers to rake hair back into a mid-level bun and secure.
Dressy Casual/Elegant Casual is informal and relaxed, but still chic, like the VMAs. Think: Anything Taylor Swift wears to an award show or performance. That girl is adorable. You could also take LHJ’s advice and wear a pair of slim slack with a sweater set in a bold color like fuchsia… or something a little younger. Try wearing a straight, knee-length skirt and cashmere shell or man-tailored trousers and a silk blouse. For hair and makeup, keep things simple, as you would at the office. Casual means you don’t try very hard. However, this is not the time for jeans or sweat pants and graphic tees. Of course, I can never think of a time for graphic tees unless you’re going to an Ed Hardy party.
There you are! Dress codes deciphered for your reading pleasure. Thanks to LHJ for my newsletter! (I read way too many newsletters…)