Dressing Etiquette

Dressing etiquette is the way we communicate with our clothing and dress. Dressing elegant has much to do with dressing appropriately for the occasion. Learn the secret language of clothing etiquette.

Dressing / Clothing Etiquette - this is for all who wants to dress elegant.

Long gone were the days of 'one size fits all'. Before the wide variety of clothing, gentlemen wore suits everywhere and ladies wore dresses. Now with the enormous clothing options, how does one figure out when and where are jeans and a tee shirt appropriate? Where do dresses have their place? Thus, the greater need for the knowledge of clothing etiquette.

Of course, that goes without saying, if you want to be dress elegant, you'll have employ good grooming, and be aware of the dress code for the occasion, whether it is stated explicitly or not.

Now, now, what to wear?

Clothes have a secret language of their own.

They communicate more than we realize. That is why big time movies stars pay ten of thousands of dollars for top stylists to dress them and organize their wardrobe. They need to be dressed in a certain way to send out a certain message - to their fans, the media and the many directors who could send them potential jobs and scripts.

While most of us won't suffer by having our picture splashed in magazines all over in the 'worst dressed list', being inappropriately dressed may just harm you on more ways than one. Sending the wrong message about yourself could jeopardize your chances of desired friendships, love, career. Good impressions count. Sadly, though you may have a heart of gold, most people won't stick around long enough to find out. Sometimes, people just don't have the time.

Have you noticed people who hang out together dress similarly or at least appreciates their style. If you would like to socialize with a more elegant crowd...yes, that's right - you've got to speak the same clothing language (or dress etiquette) as them.

i.e. In short - dress like them.

First Question of Dressing Etiquette

What is the Occasion?

Knowing what is appropriate to wear requires as much good taste as it is to dress elegantly.

(Let's assume your grooming is already immaculate and you have good posture and poise.)

Note the difference, knowing what is appropriate to wear is NOT THE SAME as knowing how to dress elegantly. You may turn up in a white ball gown at your friend's wedding and look elegantly but what you have done - is in very bad taste.

The real mistake in dress etiquette is wearing the wrong outfit for the occasion. Appropriateness and adherence to the dress code are keys to having good clothing etiquette.

The real obvious examples are like the previously mentioned, wearing the wrong shoes - e.g. heels to go on a hike? (what?), revealing clothes in a conservative country or culture, wearing white or black to a wedding, too revealing for anyone else to look without blushing, pajamas to the grocery store etc.

In general, the rule of thumb guide to be in good taste, you try not to draw any negative attention to yourself (or any attention at all, for that matter).

Also, remember that day time clothes are different from evening clothes. Similarly, evening clothes are worn in the evening and never in the day. .

A simple guide to day time dressing:

Wear light-coloured clothes such as whites, beige, pastel, or bright colours (if your complexion deems fit). Dark colours are too harsh. Also wear only natural looking make up, with minimal jewelry, unless you have a glamourous day event. Low to medium heels are appropriate.

A simple guide to evening dressing:

You can afford to go a little more formal. Or not, it is your choice. Black, of course is always welcomed, along with darker, richer colours. Those who practice strict etiquette only wear diamonds at night. It is definitely more tasteful to wear glitter and high heels in the evening but scale your amount of glitz to the type of event.

See my gallery guide to a basic wardrobe.

Going from Day to Night

Dressing Etiquette Tip: Making an Outfit Work From Day to Night

Since we do not always have the luxury of a change of clothes from day clothes to evening clothes, especially when the circumstances warrant it, we have to learn how to make an outfit go from day to night.

If you have an cocktail event after work, you could wear a cocktail dress inside and wear a blouse or cardin over it. You could pair it off with an executive jacket. If your dresscode at work is more professional, stick to little back dresses or structured dresses in navy or cream.

After work, can safety tuck away that outer layer and you can put on accessories such as pearls, or chandelier earrings. Dab on some eyeliner and red lipstick that you've tucked away in your purse and you're good to go.

Common Pitfalls of Dressing Etiquette

In our increasingly casual society, there is a greater need for dress etiquette, especially after all the stories we've heard on bad dress etiquette - the alarming things people wear.

  1. Wearing casual wear to the office
  2. Wearing beach wear in the city
  3. Not dressing in one's Sunday's Best at Church
  4. Wearing bright and colour clothes at a funeral
  5. Wearing entirely black outfits at weddings
  6. Wearing flipflops everywhere.
  7. Ignoring the specific dress code of an event.

Stick to the Dress code

Dressing etiquette also means we honour the dress code, whether it is obviously stated.

Here is the list of events where its dress code is supposed to be 'commonly understood' and may not list a dress code officially.

  1. A coffee
  2. Luncheon / Brunches
  3. Afternoon Tea
  4. Dinner party
  5. Cocktail party
  6. Balls & Galas
  7. Weddings
  8. (apart from the ones written on the invite, no black, no upstaging the bride etc etc.)

A Note Of Caution for Designers / Logos Lover

Dressing Etiquette : For Those Who Love Designers or Logos

Be careful not to be a victim of fashion.

No matter how important you are, or your friends are, never attempt to dazzle with the overuse of clothes, shoes, bags emblazed with designer logos.

Many believe that the more expensive and designer their clothes are, the more elegant. Most of what is in fashion is not a timeless, elegant style.

While most big fashion houses must be commended by their elegant designs, they cannot control how their items will be used.

Keep the use of 'logo designer items' minimal or subtle.

The goal here of dress etiquette is to NOT impress.

Thank you for reading 'Dressing Etiquette'!

Go back to 'Rules' of Etiquette - how to never memorize a rule of etiquette again!

Return from Dressing Etiquette to Elegant Woman Home

Tags: clothing etiquette, dressing etiquette, dress etiquette, clothing and dress, dressing elegant, professional dress


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