Dinner party invitations ping regularly to your inbox or even an occasional paper invite in your mailbox (still a thrill isn’t it?). If you’re like most people you look forward to the event and immediately wonder, “what should I wear?”
Never fear, the talented Ginger Burr from Total Image Consultants has oodles of suggestions and pictures to inspire you on what to wear to a dinner party. Our Q&A with her is below:
When attending a formal dinner party what are some basic rules to follow for attire?
- It is always better to be slightly overdressed than underdressed. It shows that you appreciate the invitation and that you put some thought into what you wear for a special evening.
- Keep in mind who sent the invitation. If it’s your boss or coworker, avoid anything too revealing or suggestive—treat it as a business event. If it is a friend or family member you can be more daring if that’s your style.
- If you do not know how to interpret your hosts’ idea of a ‘formal’ dress code, ask. They will appreciate the question, and you will have peace of mind that what you choose is perfect.
- Nothing says you have to wear a dress. An elegant pair of pants with a pretty top (something with lace, shine or sparkles) will do just as well.
What are good choices for jewelry?
Choosing jewelry depends on both what you are wearing and who you are. If your style and personality run more to things that are classic and refined, then a beautiful diamond pendant would be lovely. If you are someone who is dynamic, spirited or quirky, then your jewelry should reflect that.
Here is an example. Caryl is someone who is spirited, elegant and passionate. A tiny diamond pendant would look out of place on her, but this necklace fits her personality and complements the dress—as do her shoes.
You can also take a simple dress from the office to evening simply by adding a necklace like Kate is doing.
What are good choices for other accessories?
- If you do not want to wear a necklace or the neckline of your outfit precludes wearing one, you can wear more dramatic or sparkly earrings and a bracelet.
- Whether you are attending the dinner party on a Saturday when you have time to prepare or going right from the office, you will not want to carry your daytime handbag or a casual tote bag to a formal dinner party. The nice thing about evening bags is that they can dress up a slightly less dressy outfit, and they are small so you can carry one in your daytime handbag and pull it out to attend the event.
- Your hair is a permanent accessory. Make sure it is styled beautifully. It doesn’t mean you have to have it professionally done (unless you want to). It simply means that you want it to look as beautiful as your outfit.
Recommendations for heels for no heels? If yes to a heel what should you choose?
Whether to wear heels or not is a personal (and sometimes a medical) preference. While many women prefer and feel dressier in a higher heel, you can find beautiful flat shoes or shoes with a more substantial low heel (or even a wedge) that look just as nice.
In either case, your shoes provide another opportunity to express your personality.
Is the little black dress too boring? What are other options or how can you jazz up an LBD?
A little black dress is never boring especially on someone who loves a classic look. It is designed to be simple, and that makes it extremely versatile. To wear it to a formal dinner party, you can dress it up with beautiful jewelry or a pretty wrap (if it’s sleeveless and you worry you’ll be cold) and your favorite shoes.
Also, there is no reason a LBD has to be black. If you look better in or prefer a different color, choose your LBD in, for example, navy, aubergine, forest green, merlot or a deep teal. The key is to keep the color somewhat deep and neutral enough so you can accessorize and the dress design simple so you can dress it up or down as needed.
About Ginger Burr:
Ginger Burr founded Total Image Consultants with the heartfelt belief that whether you are 25 or 85, you deserve to feel radiant and pulled-together every time you get dressed. Her work has reached women from all walks of life who long to connect with their inner essence to create a wardrobe they love. She is the author of the book, That’s So You! Create a look you love with beauty, style and grace and has been interviewed by Worth Magazine, Forbes Magazine and Bloomberg Business Week.