Understanding dress codes

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In St Kilda many events or venues will enforce a dress code. And we are all supposed to know what constitutes the type of dress code required. I for one had no idea what “Business Casual” was before writing this article. So when I went to that charity luncheon in my business-suit-style-pyjamas, I was promptly thrown out of the venue in a less than charitable manner. To prevent faux pas like this in the future, we present some clarification of the less obvious dress codes.

BLACK TIE

Men – wear a tuxedo. No variations.

Women – long and flowing. Try to look as expensive as you can, plenty of bling, so long as you don’t resemble a disco ball

COCKTAIL

Men – Dark suits with a tie. More James Bond than stockbroker.

Women – Short party dresses, add jewellery and accessories to complement the dress. Like an ensemble from a “Sex in the City” promo shoot.

BUSINESS FORMAL

Formal is the key word here. Muted colours, formal shoes. Business formal would be acceptable at a funeral and events that support this dress code will be about as lively.

Men – suit and tie. Think of a stock photo of businessman. Dress like him. You must strive to look as generic as possible.

Women – tailored dress or pantsuit, which are sort of like men’s suits, only 30% less boring.

BUSINESS CASUAL

If you have worked in an office and struggled to make ends meet, then you know business casual. It gives the message “we all acknowledge we need to dress professionally, but we have to wear this stuff every day so give me a little slack”.

Men – slacks and belt with collared clean shirt.

I don’t know why sweatpants aren’t considered slacks since they are the slackest of pants and slacks not considered sweatpants, as men are expected to wear these long black saunas through the summer.

Women – blazer and pants or a pencil skirt with a “fun” blouse.

When in doubt, dress according to what you expect the host to wear. However formal/business wear is meant to highlight your status and wealth and casual is meant to encourage you to wear what makes one feel comfortable in such a setting. So while your Metallica t-shirt is mega comfy, it would not “fit in” with business casual, unless maybe you worked for Metallica.

During our research we found a saying about dress codes. “Dress codes are for men, Women already know what to wear”. So in order not to offend anyone this season I’m moving to a nudist colony. I think I have their dress code figured out.

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