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20-40-60 Etiquette---What should I wear?

by Helen Ford Wallace and Lillie-Beth Brinkman and Callie Athey Published: December 9, 2013


By Callie Gordon, Lillie-Beth Brinkman, Helen Ford Wallace

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!

GUEST’S ANSWER: Linda Miller, author of Fashion Matters Blog: Over the years, casual attire has come to mean anything from a polo style shirt and jeans to a pair of khakis and a sweater. It’s a broad dress code, but that also means more choices.

I’m sure when the hosts said “casual attire” they knew some of the guests would come in jeans. But that doesn’t mean your clothing choice was wrong. Americans have been dressing down for years, and jeans seem to be accepted almost everywhere. Personally, I like that you chose to dress up a bit more — for yourself and your party hosts.

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 Athey
Freelance Writer
Callie Athey is 20-something and is a graduate from the University of Oklahoma. She has worked in various positions, ranging from Event Coordinator to Environmental Health and Safety Assistant. Currently, Callie is an Executive Assistant to a...
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