Party Dresses for Upscale Engagements
Inconsiderate men often complain that women take too long to get ready for a night out. But of course that is the case. The guys need only slip on a suit, while the girls have to do their hair, apply their makeup and find the right dress. One reason women sometimes struggle when it comes to the dress is that they are not sure what is expected of them. When attending a social event, for instance, there is often a dress code. Let us take a moment to review them.
A black tie affair is the most formal social gathering. Men are expected to wear tuxedos, while women can choose between cocktail dresses, formal gowns or long dresses. There are also white tie affairs, which are just as formal. The only difference is that the men wear white bowties instead of black ones.
Creative Black Tie
A creative black tie invite gives guests the option of dressing down a bit. Men can wear black suits instead of tuxedos and women can wear shorter dresses or evening separates.
As the name implies, guests are not expected dress up for semi-formal affairs. Dinner or cocktail parties with close friends and acquaintances are generally semi-formal. Men should wear dark suits and women can wear cocktail or party dresses. Professional women sometimes wear dressy suits to semi-formal events.
The dress code for business formal is the same as semi-formal for the guys, but the girls are expected to dress in tailored suits or long dresses.
The standard cocktail party doesn't have a well-defined dress code. The guys usually dress in dark suits and the women wear party dresses.
When an invitation calls for a casual dress code, it often means that men should wear a coat and tie and women should wear shorter dresses. More often than not, casual affairs are held during the warmer months when gowns or formalwear would be terribly uncomfortable.
Because the dress code for the girls is more complicated, it requires further examination. One of the most confusing things about eveningwear for women is the rather broad definitions. Everyone knows, for example, what a tuxedo is. But what about a cocktail dress, an evening gown or a party dress?
Once again, these dresses are defined by the formality of the event. The most formal dress is the evening gown. The difference between the gown and the other two is that it is longer and that it is often made of heavier, more luxurious and expensive fabrics. An evening gown is generally made of satin, silk, velvet or chiffon. Its hemline can range from tea length and ballerina to full-length gowns. Evening gowns are far more accessible than ball gowns, since they are available in any silhouette, including A-line, trumpet, sheath, empire and mermaid.They may have halters, straps or sleeves. Evening gowns are worn at black tie and white tie events, while ball gowns are obviously only worn to balls.
Cocktail dresses were created specifically for semi-formal affairs. The length of the dress varies widely. Some cocktail dresses are rather revealing, with a hemline that falls just above the knees and others drop all the way to the ankles. The most common length for a semi-formal dress is called tea length, which about two inches above the ankles. Ballerina length dresses are a little longer, as they actually reach the ankles.
Shorter cocktail dresses are often seen at upscale clubs or at more casual get-togethers. These dresses were known as ‘late afternoon' numbers before cocktail parties became all the rage in the 1950s. They were also called ‘early evening wear,' since women would often wear them out to dinner or to a local speakeasy or salon.
What then is a party dress? Well, a party dress can be any of the aforementioned. Cocktail dresses, evening and ball gowns are all officially party dresses. Some are worn to formal parties, while others are worn to semi-formal and casual affairs.
The little black dress (LBD) is arguably the most popular party dress in the history of fashion. Created by world famous fashion designer Gabrielle "Coco" Chanel in the 1920s, the LBD is the quintessential cocktail dress. It is flirty, fun and affordable. Because of its elegant simplicity, the little black dress is perfect for any semi-formal occasion.
One-shoulder dresses toe the line between semi-formal and formal dresses. Depending on the hemline and the material, they may be a bit of both. The style is quite popular with younger women who want to show a bit of skin in a reserved and elegant way.
Beaded cocktail dresses can be worn by women of all ages. Though they are undoubtedly on the casual side, they are quite comfortable and flattering for most figures. The beaded dress is actually quite popular for less formal wedding ceremonies.
At the end of the day, party dresses should be fun. As important as dress codes may be, they should never get in the way your enjoyment. It's a party, after all.