My friends will tell you that I have never been privy to the “what are you wearing?” pre event phone call nor have I ever removed fur (faux, of course) at the last minute just in case it was a little “too” much. I have no problem with pearls in a pub or 6 inch heels at a super market. I wouldn’t say I’m over the top, extravagant or even avant garde. I simply dress in what makes me feel fabulous and what I feel is appropriate. I am however very aware that my definition of appropriate does tend to differ greatly from the norm. As a result, I have developed quite a thick skin when I hear comments such as “what on earth is that on your head?” (it’s a peacock) and “don’t you ever wear a flat shoe?” (only on the bus).
I do, however, very much believe in the ‘dress code’. Call me old fashioned or a stickler for the rules but if a host asks you kindly in advance to dress in semi formal attire for their dinner party or in black tie for their gala event then clearly your Levis are not an option. I coordinate parties for a living and each day sees me go through the roller coaster of emotions that are involved with the planning, prepping, sourcing, managing and creating a fabulous event. From an intimate 30th birthday for 10, to a charity fundraising ball for 1000, 100% dedication from hosts and committees involved is required to pull off a successful event. Guests’ response to the dress code can sometimes make or break the evening.
I recently attended a dinner party in a lovely home owned by a friend of a friend. There was such hype prior to the party. Hand written invitations had been sent, wait staff had been booked and the dress code was set as ‘semi formal’. Guests were given more than enough time to source their required regalia.
Let’s be honest, my host had not asked for designer couture or Savile Row suits. Semi formal is not difficult to attain people. For some reason boys tend to do a lot of eye rolling, huffing and puffing when confronted with the semi formal code. Do they not realise cuff links, a collar and a pair of trousers is not a difficult combination?* For the ladies an LBD and a pair of high street heels will cover it (however readers of MOMTD will recognise that I may be a little more creative).
With place cards, themed table settings and outside caterers, the dinner party was a charming event and I was honoured to have been in the presence of such a delightful environment. But by the time pre dinner cocktails had been served I had counted 4 pairs of jeans, 3 pairs of trainers and can you believe 5 rucksacks/back packs - hand luggage at a semi formal dinner party? This had me very confused. Was there a secret holiday giveaway for male guests at the end of the evening’s festivities?
Despite being terribly underdressed, the 501’s and rucksacks thoroughly enjoyed themselves and had no problem guzzling the host’s champagne whilst devouring the 3 course gourmet meal. The fact that these men had not considered the host’s initial requests of bringing a little bit of glamour to her celebratory dinner made me feel somewhat sad. Due to their ignorance, the ambiance she had so badly wanted to create didn’t really come to fruition.
If a man organized a social, mixed game of touch football and the female team mates arrived in Louboutins and dresses that restricted ones’ movement they would surely have something to say. So tell me, how can a man slip under the radar in his Nikes when a pair of Oxfords are clearly the code of the day?
* Disclaimer: I have a handful of super super stylish ‘man’ friends (of both sexual orientation). It’s a shame they weren’t at this party in their brogues and braces as the host would have loved them.