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Articles of Interest » Other Articles of Interest » Mirror, Mirror on the wall, what shall I wear to the Ball

Mirror, Mirror on the wall, what shall I wear to the Ball

Author:
Jean Krupa (Jean Krupa currently serves as the Social Vice President for USA Dance. She served as Regional VI Vice President in 1999. She was a founding member of the Greater Daytona Chapter in 1990)
Date Published:
December 10, 2013

Holidays are coming and that usually means dressier events. What to wear is sometimes confusing. Depending on what part of the country you live in dress codes vary across the nation.

Dress is designated by the man's apparel, as women's styles are more subject to change. If a woman walks into a room and sees another women wearing the same dress it can be considered a disaster (:<). BUT when a man walks into a room and sees all the other men wearing the same thing, HE knows that HE got it right. Whew!!!!!

So that there is no confusion about proper dress, the following definitions of modes of dress are offered:

Dress Code #1 –Typical Formal Events to Celebrate the Holidays or Occasion

  • White Tie – Means a very formal evening affair. Men normally wear tails and white tie. Women wear long gowns.
  • Black Tie - Tuxedo or Dark suit. During the summer a white dinner jacket may be substituted. Ladies do not need a long gown.
  • Dressy Casual - Sports coat; tie is optional.
  • Casual - Very few restrictions.

NOTE: Men should not remove their jackets at White Tie and Black Tie affairs.

Code #2 – Special Formal Events (Often Charity or Holiday Balls, Fundraisers, Grand New Year's Events

  • White Tie - Means Ultra-Formal. Men wear full dress, white tie, vest, shirt and cummerbund. Women wear long gowns.
  • Black Tie- Means formal. Men wear Tuxedos, women wear cocktail, long dressy or dressy evening separates.
  • Formal - Usually means the same as Black Tie, but in some trendier cities like New York or Los Angeles, it could mean a black shirt, no tie with a tux. Women wear cocktail, long dresses or dressy evening separates.
  • Ultra Formal - Means White Tie. Means wear full dress… white tie, vest, shirt and cummerbund. Women wear long gowns.
  • Black Tie Opt - 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.
  • Black Tie Invited - 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 (maybe lace or sequined skirt with a sleek cashmere sweater.
  • Semi Formal -Is the trickiest of all dress codes. Usually it means that tuxes are not required, nor are long dresses. An evening event (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 Casual -Usually means no jeans or shorts. Similar to business casual, but a tad dressier.
  • Casual - Generally means anything goes.
  • Informal - Can mean the same as casual. However, when associated with a Special event good taste should prevail. A dress for her or a nice pair of slacks and shirt for him are informal, but respectful of the event.