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20-40-60 Etiquette: Deciphering party dress codes

20-40-60 Etiquette: When party planners go ‘festive casual' or ‘elegant casual' on the invitation, what do I wear?
by Helen Ford Wallace and Lillie-Beth Brinkman Published: December 30, 2012

GUEST'S ANSWER: Linda Miller, author of Fashion Matters Blog: Sometimes hosts try to get too creative. Urban casual and elegant casual always leave me wondering. Guests don't want cute terms; they want to know how to dress without guessing.

Is there a look that covers all bases? Not really, but I think a dress comes pretty close. Depending on the color, print and style, it can be dressed up with evening shoes and statement jewelry for a semiformal event or worn with sandals and a straw hat to a beach party.

Callie Gordon is twenty-something, Lillie-Beth Brinkman is in her 40s, and social columnist Helen Ford Wallace is 60-plus. You'll also find a guest answer. To ask an etiquette question, email For more 20-40-60 etiquette, go to

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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