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How to dress right for a party

A dress code, when mentioned on the invite to a party, is meant to be followed. Here’s a guide to what each code means

fashion and trends Updated: Dec 09, 2012 01:54 IST
Sujata Assomull Sippy

It is the season to dress up, and there is no reason not to have fun with fashion in the festive months. But, there is a reason why hosts decide to put a dress code on invites.

It tells you immediately what the tone of the evening is and tells you what to expect. Increasing invites are coming with a dress-code, and this actually is very helpful.

Not sticking to it is a sign of disrespect. Yet, you will see women in evening dresses with blinged out accessories for a smart casual high tea, and in a kaftan for an occasion that says traditional. This really is a fashion slap on the face for any host.

Bring it on with a sense of restraint, may be with a sari and a sexy blouse, that has a touch of heritage — like real zari Benarsi or a chic chikan one. Or, if you have the figure (and only if) opt for a fabulous dress.

Clutches and heels are mandatory. There is an air of formality to this style, so, no necklines that go to the navel or dresses that are too short. And unless it is a vintage Yves Saint Laurent Tuxedo suit, you cannot do trousers!

This term is normally seen at a day or high tea invite, or a cosier evening soiree. From smart jeans (not faded or ripped), nice shift dress, kaftan top, printed sari — all work.

With so much choice, it baffles that many women still get the concept of smart casual wrong! Example: bandage dresses are not smart casual. (There is a certain set of Delhi divas who feel it should be their uniform for any event) Accessories should be chic, don’t overdo the bling!

More and more women are opting for saris and when a card says traditional, it really is your best option. No fusion wear please, no kurtis, no drapey dresses and no gowns — that is unless, of course, you are a Hollywood star and gowns are a part of your tradition.

Lehengas and shararas work if it is a more celebratory function — if not, you may look like mutton dressed as lamb! Another safe bet is the suit — be it an anarkali or angrakha.

There is a reason that cocktail dresses are called cocktail — they are not to be worn before it’s time to have cocktails! So, they should not be worn to your daughter’s birthday party or a ladies lunch.

If you must do bandage dresses, then this is the time. You can never go wrong with an LBD (the little black dress) or a chic embellished cocktail sari. There is an elegance to cocktail dressing, so one or two statement baubles is fine, but don’t wear your whole safe!