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20-40-60 etiquette: Are jeans too casual for a party?

Has the suggestion for wearing “casual dress” to a party come to mean jeans? 20-40-60 etiquette answers, with Linda Miller as guest.
by Helen Ford Wallace and Lillie-Beth Brinkman and Callie Gordon Modified: December 9, 2013 at 2:00 pm •  Published: December 9, 2013

QUESTION: I live in Tulsa. Last weekend I went to a lovely party in a couple's home. On the invitation, it was written “casual dress.” Many of the guests wore blue jeans and they were not all young people. I wore a sweater and slacks, as I felt like “casual” meant no coat and tie. I still feel like it is important to be more dressed up, more than jeans, for parties that we are invited to. I think it shows a lack of respect to just wear jeans unless it is a Western party. What do you think?

CALLIE'S ANSWER: Jeans now are different colors, washes and patterns and are described based on the design and fit — flare jeans, straight jeans, cigarette jeans and low rise, for example. The darker the jean wash or color, the more dressy they look. Celebrities are even getting into patterns and making those look dressy but I won't go into that. Jeans are the go-to for “casual dress.” If you are more comfortable in slacks, go for it! For me, I am sticking with my black straight leg Paige jeans. I love them!

LILLIE-BETH'S ANSWER: I don't think you can go wrong dressing casually for a party in a sweater and slacks. It is generally better to be slightly overdressed than slightly underdressed. As today's world has gotten more casual, certain styles of jeans have gotten dressier and are often acceptable for parties, too, especially when paired with a dressy, classy top.

HELEN'S ANSWER: If the dress code is casual, then the host wants you to be comfortable. You should still make the effort to look your best. If you are a woman, try a pair of skinny slacks with a beaded/sequined sweater and high heels. Or if you must wear jeans, wear the dark ones with a dressy top and heels. If you are a man, a colorful sweater and slacks or jeans are perfect. You might start with a sports jacket. Get festive! It's a party!

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by Helen Ford Wallace
Society Editor
Helen Ford Wallace is a columnist covering society-related events/news for The Oklahoman. She puts local parties online with daily updates. She creates, maintains and runs a Parties blog which includes web casts. She is an online web editor for...
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by Lillie-Beth Brinkman
Lillie-Beth Brinkman is a Content Marketing Manager for the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce. She was previously an assistant editor of The Oklahoman
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by Callie Gordon
Freelance Writer
Callie Gordon, a graduate of the University of Oklahoma, is working at Chesapeake Energy in the Environment, Health, and Safety Department. She was previously an event coordinator for Chesapeake Energy.
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