The first thing to remember is that style is not some innate thing that the Angels handed down to only the few deserving elites. There are ways to learn how to dress well enough that an invitation to meet the Queen will delight and not flummox.
But why is it important to ‘dress for the occasion‘? Surely our individuality, creativity and forbearance will shine through even the dowdiest outfit?
The sad fact is that a well-dressed person generally gets taken more seriously – and gets more leeway – than someone who gives no thought to their appearance. Geniuses such as Einstein and Picasso can get away with a dishevelled outfit; regular Jane Soaps can’t. We need to dress a certain way in many social situations and it’s only when we’re alone at home that we can dress without giving other people a thought.
Here are some tips to ensure that you always look appropriate, no matter what the occasion is.
This depends on your hosts – some people are more formal than others and would expect their guests to don something more conservative. Find out in advance, though it’s nearly always better to dress slightly more formal. A black dress would not go amiss in this situation.
New Year’s cocktail party
Feel free to break some rules for New Year’s and have some fun. Wear something short if you dare but wear tights if you’re not too confident about the shape of your legs.
Not all companies are black-tie establishments so this rule does not apply to everyone. The IT and creative industries are known for their more relaxed attitudes towards blazers and ties. But it’s still important to look polished, to an extent. Fashion magazine editors might scoff at formal attire in an interview. But it’s safe to say that interviewees at nearly all other industries should wear something crisp and classic.
The first date
It’s tempting to go overboard with the jewellery, make-up and high heels but this is yet another instance where it’s safer to go with the ‘minimalist’ look. Chances are that your date does not work in fashion and your labels will fail to impress them. Wear something that matches your personality but is still down-to-earth.
The former rules have given way too much ambiguity and this makes dressing for black-tie weddings more difficult than in previous years. ‘Black-tie’ used to require dresses to be proper gowns – nothing less than floor-length affairs. But these days the rule has relaxed a bit and cocktail dresses would work as well as something longer.
Gray & Osbourn wrote this article about how to ensure you always wear the right outfit at any social occasion.