have a high school reunion to attend and am very confused on
what to wear. The invitation stated "business dressy".
I was just at another social event with the same attire description
and was very disappointed at the array of clothing I saw. Some
women were in evening gowns, others in slacks and sweaters, and
some, myself included, were in blouses and skirts. Some women
were clearly so confused they wore the flashiest outfit they
could find! I actually felt under dressed. My instinct is to
wear the evening/ cocktail gown because I would rather be over-dressed
than under-dressed. However, I don't like not following the rules,
just in case everyone else does. Do you have a recommendation
on what I could wear that would be dressy enough without being
out of place and not make me feel under-dressed?
the whole, I agree with you that it’s better to be a bit
overdressed than to be underdressed. Nonetheless, it’s always
best to “dress up” within the range suggested on the
invitation, as people who are extremely overdressed or underdressed
appear ill informed or perhaps ignorant.
“ Business Dressy” attire (for women)
does not include evening gowns or that type of apparel. The word “business” implies
suits, skirted or pantsuit styles. The word dressy means elegant
or somewhat fancy. The combination, with business as a key word,
still renders a different flavor from typical cocktail or formal
evening wear for women.
With that said, I must admit to being suspicious
of a high school reunion party requesting “business dressy” attire.
It’s clearly not a business event, so it’s possible
that there is a confused label that actually means “semi-formal” attire.
Now why did I take that leap? Business dressy attire equates with
semi-formal wear for men as both allocations dictate that men wear
suits and ties. But for women, there can be a wide gap, which includes
both classic business attire and dressy social wear.
Given the above concerns, I have two recommendations
for you to wear. #1) a dressy pantsuit. #2) a dress (long or short
style) that has a matching jacket. The jacket in both ensembles
keeps you in the business dressy range, but gives you the freedom
of removing your jacket after properly assessing what the other
attendees are wearing.
The second step is to choose a fabric that makes
a dressy statement, but one that is still somewhat businesslike.
Wool crepe is such a fabric. From there, choose a rich color that
looks terrific on you. The suit jacket, either for pants or a dress,
could have some embellishment, such as beading or a fabric trim
like velvet, leather, or suede on the lapel, collar, and/or cuffs.
If you chose the pantsuit, add a blouse or top made of satin, lace,
or metallic type fabric. The blouse or top can also have some sparkle
to it, with a smattering of beads or sequins. If you plan on exercising
the option of removing your jacket, be sure you like the way the
dress, blouse, or top fits and looks when you’re not wearing
For either outfit, choose elegant jewelry, such as
pearls, diamonds, or other semi-precious stones or facsimiles.
Avoid black-tie (ball gown) type jewels for this type of event,
but your overall look should be quite dressy.
With either of these options, you can be confident
that you will be dressed appropriately and that you will make a
smashing statement. Enjoy!
Good luck to you,