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Fitting the Bill
By Stephanie Mantello
Ultra Formal | Cocktail | Corporate | Costume | Etc. | It's How You Wear Them

What’s the best part of award shows? Seeing what everyone is wearing, of course! But even if you aren’t gliding down the red carpet this year, chances are you’ve got an invitation or two for a holiday party, wedding, or business event. Here’s the lowdown on dressing appropriately for any occasion with a little creativity and without breaking the bank!

Ultra-formal
The Academy Awards, charity balls, your rich cousin’s wedding… it doesn’t get any dressier than this. Almost exclusively evening events, these ceremonies can have strict dress codes, so take advantage and play dress up!

White Tie
This is reserved for the most formal of events. Floor-length gowns with elegant jewelry and, often, gloves are always worn. Men are expected to wear formal tuxedos, usually with tails.

Black Tie
Women should wear long or short evening gowns while men should wear a classic tuxedo. Black attire is always considered appropriate for black-tie events, even at weddings.

Black Tie Optional/Invited/Preferred
The invitation politely requests that men wear a tux, but a dark suit is acceptable. For women, hem lines can be all over the map, but the style is definitely dressy.

Remember to dress appropriately to your date’s attire. It is not in good taste show up in a sparkling, full length gown if your escort is in a suit!

Bright Idea: Borrow it! Unless you are constantly invited to formal events, ask to borrow a friend’s dress or check out vintage and consignment stores for gently worn gowns. If you must buy new, research designers that you like and check out their samples sales. Try to stick with classic styles which will fit in throughout the years.

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