No Longer Grey

The sartorial experiments and ramblings of a girl named Sarah

Dressing for a Cocktail Party: To LBD, or Not to LBD

by Sarah on January 18, 2019, one comment

When you’re a kid, going to a party means wearing either clothes you can get cake on or clothes that you would wear to sit for a 1950’s family portrait. When you’re a teen, it means wearing shoes people can step on and a jacket that can get lost in some frat basement. But with adulthood comes complications, and nothing is more complicated than the ambiguous “cocktail attire”. What’s a girl to do? Even though I’m not technically of cocktail age, cocktail party clothing doesn’t require an ID. Read on for some tips on how to nail the perfect party look.

  1. Check the invite in the off chance that the perfect outfit formula will be printed on the back. When it’s not, consider the season, the venue and time of day of the fiesta. Plus, if the invite was over email, it’s probably a less fancy party than one with a calligraphied invitation. Also be sure to RSVP, because the least fashionable thing is to show up unannounced.
  2. Consider the LBD. It’s appropriate for every season, every event, yada yada yada. In the summer, a lighter fabric is in order, while in winter, velvet and brocade reign supreme. With an LBD, it’s all about the styling. Necklaces, statement earrings, big rings and barrettes (for a look at some serious bling, click here) can all help to refresh a simple dress. My personal favorite option is a pair of wild shoes.
  3. If you decide to reject the LBD on the grounds that you think can do better and it’s worth it to at least consider another option, try literally any other dress (unless you have a really really perfect LBD and/or are terrified of spilling drinks on yourself and always wear black to protect against that eventuality). But if you’re anything like me, this is the moment you’ll realize you don’t own any non-black dresses. Resolve to fix that and look for other options.
  4. Try a suit. After all, the guys at the party will wear one, so why shouldn’t you? A dark suit if you’re looking for something sleek, a brighter one if you want to stand out a little more. An unbuttoned silk shirt underneath always looks chic, or a lacy cami for a more feminine take. If Hillary can do a pantsuit, so can you.
  5. Reject the pantsuit because you maybe look a little too much like Hillary. Save the pants and go for a blouse or button down up top. Add some dangly earrings and a swipe of lipstick. With a more masculine outfit, heels never go amiss to make the look a little more girly. Don’t be afraid to play with a little color. I’m a big fan of neutral colors, but pull a Samantha Jones and get some color up in there.
  6. Wonder whether or not you’re actually pulling off your outfit and probably end up in an LBD. C’est la vie.


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