It’s the most wonderful time of the year, family traditions, amazing food, and holiday parties all month long! The last thing you want to think (or worry) about is what to wear. At A.K. Rikk’s, we believe getting dressed should be fun, but sometimes the anxiety associated with these events overshadows the excitement. Will I be dressed up enough? Will I feel comfortable walking, eating, or dancing in my look? What the does “festive attire” even mean? Will somebody else have my dress? These worries can suck the joy out of what is most important about attending the event in the first place- how you feel, the experience itself, and the memories you’ll cherish. Of course, no one dress code fits all. StyleCaster expresses, “While we usually subscribe to the rule that it’s always better to be overdressed than to be underdressed, it’s also super uncomfortable showing up somewhere in a gown when everyone else is wearing jeans and a t-shirt.” A.K. Rikk’s is here to provide you with the products, knowledge, and services you need to dress confidently for every holiday occasion this season!
Decode the Dress Code
It’s hard enough to choose the perfect look when you understand the dress code, let alone when you don’t. We’ll start by helping to decode some of those confusing event categories.
Black Tie Holiday Event
A Black Tie invitation calls for formal attire. According to etiquette specialists at StyleCaster, “This is crystal clear for men—wear a tuxedo. It’s a little more complicated for women, who can technically wear anything from a long gown to dressy separates to a formal cocktail dress. The best way to figure out what to wear is to dress according to what you expect the host to wear. Attending a high-end gala? Then wear a gown. If, on the other hand, you’re going to a work function that calls for black tie, it’s more appropriate to wear a little black dress with a statement jewelry.”
Formal usually means the same as Black Tie, but in some trendier cities like New York or Los Angeles, it could mean a black shirt, no tie with a tux. Women wear cocktail, long dresses or dressy evening separates. A White Tie or Ultra-formal invitation requires men wear full dress, a black tailcoat, waistcoat, a wing collar shirt and a white bow tie. Women wear long gowns.
Black Tie Optional gives you the choice of wearing a tuxedo or formal dress, but it should clue you into the formality of the event, meaning a dark suit and tie would be your other option. Women wear cocktail, long dresses or dressy evening separates.
Creative Black Tie leaves room for trendy interpretations of formal wear. He can go more modern with a tux -- maybe a black shirt, no tie or mixing in patterns and colors. She can stray from black and choose a statement dress long or short or add a bold accessory to amp up your look. Sometimes, themed parties call for dress codes like Themed Black Tie, or other variations of Creative Black Tie. In that situation, you can have more fun with it, choosing a dressy look with a theme or something “festive.”
Cocktail Holiday Event
Cocktail attire means short, elegant dresses for her and a dark, well-fitted suit for him (channeling a timeless Don Draper). The little black dress is the ultimate cocktail dress and appropriate for most special occasions. According to Real Simple, ladies should “turn to rich fabrics, such as lace, chiffon, and velvet, to elevate the typical black. But keep the hemline modest: two inches above the knee max. You can branch out to other shades, too: Jewel tones and icy pastels can be just as refined in simple silhouettes. It’s also perfectly acceptable to splash out in dressy separates—say, brocade cigarette pants topped with a beaded shell. Whichever you choose, fancy footwear is mandatory. (Metallic or jeweled is a sure thing.) The daintier the heel, the more graceful your shoes will look on the dance floor (even if you have two left feet).”
Semi-Formal invites are similar to Cocktail, meaning that tuxes are not required, nor are long dresses. An evening wedding (after 6 PM) would still dictate dark suits for him, and a cocktail dress for her. Daytime semi-formal events mean a suit for him and an appropriate short dress or dressy suit for her. Business Formal is the same as Semi-Formal for him, but for women it suggests that women opt for more tailored dressy suits and dresses. The idea is to still be business appropriate -- which means nothing too sexy or slinky -- but still dressed up.
Casual Holiday Event
Casual dress codes call for dressed-up versions of every day looks. For him, it could be trousers and a sport coat, for her a dressy pants look or comfortable dress. In some cases, like a family party anything goes (including jeans, sneakers, etc.) but for casual work parties it’s good to elevate your day to night look.
Business Casual is a slightly more elevated look dictated by corporate culture. Women, pants and a blazer, or a pencil skirt and a fun blouse is the way to go. Guys can wears slacks and a collared shirt- no jeans or sneakers.
The Perfect Ensemble
Decoding the dress code is just the first step in feeling confident for every holiday occasion. Now, what are you actually going to wear?
We’ve broken that down for you, too! Check out some curated event categories for MEN and WOMEN on our website. Already see what you want? Order quickly and easily from the comfort of your home or office. Keep in mind, though, we have many formal gowns not included on our site due to their exclusivity!
Still unsure of what to wear? Set up an appointment or send us a message. Rely on our expertise! A Personal Shopper will pull numerous looks tailored to your size, event, and personality. Tell our staff where you are going or even send them a picture of the invitation! Your Personal Shopper can do research before you arrive by calling the venue, looking at photos from past events, and pulling valuable information to make sure you are the most prepared. Let us handle the leg work so you can rest assured knowing you are guaranteed to turn heads when you make your entrance.