How to Dress for a Dinner Party

Honor the hostess of a dinner party by dressing in a manner that is appropriate. You should know in advance how formal the event will be and plan your wardrobe accordingly. The most thoughtful gesture you can make when attending a dinner party is through an understated yet elegant appearance.

Things You'll Need

  • Invitation
  • Telephone

Instructions

  1. Dress Appropriately for a Dinner Party

    • 1

      Take a look at your invitation. You can tell a lot about the expected tone of the evening ahead of time by the kind of paper and language used on the invitation. You may even find instructions stating "White Tie" or "Formal" or "Cocktail Attire" which can direct your wardrobe choices.

    • 2

      Speak to the host of the party a couple of days beforehand if you are in doubt as to the dress expected for the event.

    • 3

      Know that except for the most informal of dinner parties, such as BBQs or picnics, jeans and shorts are generally not acceptable attire when invited into someone's home for a dinner party.

    • 4

      Wear a sports jacket and trousers for an event where "Business Attire" is indicated if you are man. For ladies, matching pantsuits or skirt suits are suggested.

    • 5

      Tie one on for a dinner party where "cocktail attire" is indicated and wear a suit. The ladies should select a dress or pant suit that is slightly dressier than something that would be worn in an office context.

    • 6

      Dust off the tuxedo and black tie for an event that requires "formal attire." For the ladies, a evening dress with a light jacket or other arm covering is acceptable.

    • 7

      Pull out all the stops for a "White Tie" event. Gentlemen are required to wear white tie, vest and a tail suit while ladies should wear a long ball gown. This attire designation is used for only the most formal of affairs, such as a dinner with a political or international dignitary.

    • 8

      Make sure that your entire ensemble fits correctly and has been pressed or otherwise prepared in advance. If you are wearing a tuxedo, check to confirm that it still fits before the night of the big event. A little advanced preparation will ensure that you are not embarrassed by your appearance.

Tips & Warnings

  • Women can always fall back on that wardrobe staple of the "little black dress." From summer through winter, for indoor and outdoor events, a black dress that fits correctly will look appropriate at most events, no matter how formal or informal.
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