Thursday, August 28, 2008

Dress Etiquette: What to Wear

Dress & Etiquette

How to dress appropriately and proper etiquette for meals, etc.
What is Business Casual
This page will explain what business casual is for men and women.
Executive Wardrobe Tips
These tips will help you look like an executive for interviews and other events.
Business Attire Do's & Don'ts
These dos & don'ts will help to keep you from making a mistake for interviews, informational
meetings, career fairs, etc.
Guidelines for Attire at Receptions, Presentations and Information Sessions
Simple guidelines to help you figure out what is appropriate and what isn't. Telephone Etiquette 101
Simple telephone etiquette to help you dazzle those recruiters over the phone.
Dinner Etiquette
This page not only gives you information on which fork to use, but also comes packed with images so you can picture what is written.
Rules for Business Dining
These tips will hopefully help you land that ideal job, or big contract, with a few small maneuvers at lunch. Business Etiquette & Professional Presence
This presentation goes over the basics of business etiquette.

Dress Etiquette

From corporate meetings to weddings, knowing how to dress appropriately can be quite a challenge. We understand the phrases “Casual Friday”, “Business Attire”, and “Dress Code in Effect”; however, when it comes to choosing an outfit for a special occasion not qualified by the above list, there are many variables to take into consideration when choosing the perfect outfit. You must take ownership of the challenge by using the clues you are given on the invitation, by the hostess, or by the nature of the event.
Clue Number One: the wording on the invitation. According to, “it is not acceptable to put appropriate attire instructions on the invitation to the ceremony”; however, sometimes a hostess will go against this advice and indicate a dress code on her invitation.
Deciphering the notation at the bottom of the invitation takes some thought. “Black Tie” literally refers to the dress for the males in attendance, so what is a girl to do? Check out: This site defines several of the modern dress codes often found on invitations. “Cocktail”, for example, calls for “an elegant-looking dress in any colour, but no formal gowns”. “White Tie” affairs “are the most formal of all functions”. A woman should wear a long, formal dress, while her male companion should be in “Full Dress, which means a black tailcoat, black pants, and a shirt, tie and vest which are all white”.
This site has some good advice, but it also has some that is particularly too little, too late: “If the bride’s dress has a train...the wedding is formal.” When in doubt, ask someone directly involved in the event. And always remember this good advice found at a wedding is “a gathering of witnesses to the uniting of a couple in the eyes of their creator”. If you can see through your outfit, it should remain in your closet.
Clue Number Two: note the time of year, time of day, and location indicated on the invitation. A beach or outdoor wedding location means that you must also take the elements into consideration. A “brunch” reception or “afternoon tea” calls for an outfit that is quite different from a “cocktail reception”. If you long for some nostalgic, old fashioned advice, log on to: which offers the full text of Emily Post’s Etiquette in Society, in Business, in Politics, and at Home. Keep in mind that this was written in 1922. You will invariably find yourself chuckling at some of the advice. The advice Post offers on how to wear one’s hair at a ball is very amusing.
She believed that women should wear their hair “done” every day, so it is not necessary to get it “done” for a special occasion, noting that “the only time [your hair] is arranged differently is for riding." Later on she redeems herself with advice on tiaras.
Clue Number Three: people are pointing and laughing at you. Unfortunately, it is too late to change. To simplify all the guesswork in advance, here is a short Dictionary for Dressing. This list offers a brief description of what one typically wears to certain events.
WHITE TIE: long, formal dress, jewels
BALL: long sleeveless gown, tiara optional
BLACK TIE: long dress, sleeves optional, minimal elegant jewelry (i.e.:pearls)
FORMAL: similar to black tie (a.k.a: Black Tie Optional)
EVENING: elegant dress (tea or street length) or pant suit
COCKTAIL: elegant-looking dress in any colour, not floor length
GARDEN: element-appropriate dress, more casual, hosiery optional
BRUNCH: skirt and blouse/twin-set
TEA: skirt and blouse
Written By: Tracey Lord
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