Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Dress Code Guide

The party season is here, and all sorts of Christmas parties, get togethers, formal occasions and dinners beckon. A big part of the etiquette of these social scenarios is knowing exactly how to present yourself and what clothes are appropriate for the occasion. There is nothing worse than turning up somewhere either under or over dressed, and you spend the rest of the day or evening feeling self-conscious and uncomfortable. Years ago everyone had an in depth understanding of what to wear for what occasion, now however, it can be a bit of a minefield. I’ve put together a quick and easy guide to help you out when it comes to going out this festive season. 

White Tie
This is the smartest of smart and even a tiara would not look out of place at a white tie do. Wear your most extravagant ball gown with long elegant gloves and a sleek up do. But who has a ball gown lying around?! Don’t panic there are charity shops and 2nd hand shops that stock a weird volume of extravagant gowns. Or there’s always hiring! 

Black Tie 
Black tie is less extravagant than white tie, but still quite formal, and is used for most awards ceremonies, commemorative dinners and balls amongst other occasions. Floor length evening dresses are required, but more recently A-Listers have been known to turn up to red carpet events showing a bit more flesh than you might usually consider. You don’t need to bag a ball gown for this one though, and a smart maxi will look the part with a pair of heels. If you’re on a budget why not check out some of the fab maxi dresses from George at ASDA that fit right in with the glamour of black tie, without the price tag.

This is a perfect opportunity to crack out your little black dress, or other similar outfit. Dresses of knee length or just above are best and don’t be afraid of a little bit of sparkle at a cocktail event. Or a lot! I’m loving wearing a sequined blazer over a simple black dress. Any rules go really you can get away with going bright and bold or staying simple and classic.

Smart Casual
More and more, events like office parties have smart casual dress codes. This always confuses me and I worry I’ll be too smart or too casual. Basically I’ve decided it’s better to be slightly overdressed than underdressed. Avoid jeans and anything that looks too worn, unless that’s the style you’re going for – if so try a silky cami top and statement jewellery to balance it out. Tops, smart trousers and skirts are just as acceptable as dresses so you have much more scope to get creative.


Whatever parties you have lined up, don’t panic about what to wear. It’s not the 1900s anymore, and dress etiquette is not something that is expected of you. Take a couple of ideas from the above to make sure you don’t stand out like a sore thumb, and if you’re really having trouble don’t be afraid to send a quick text around to the other guests and ask for help! I always pre-coordinate outfits with my friends so even if we’re all overdressed, we’re all overdress together! 


*this was a sponsored post


  1. Great post! x

  2. Love the post, such a great break down of what they mean! x

    Maddy from UNSTITCHEDD 

  3. Lovely post!

    Emma x

  4. I really love your smart casual outfit :)
    Water Painted Dreams xxx

  5. I always worry about dressing up too little or too much for parties but this helps put it into perspective for me. I just bought a new party dress and I think it will fit perfect for my event now.

  6. I've never heard of white tie before, shame, great post.


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