I often find the most difficult part of attending events is figuring out what to wear. Usually the invitation has a suggested dress code, but trying to suss out exactly what the secret code means can be a major undertaking. Long gone are the simple days of “formal, semi-formal,and casual” (meaning: really dress up, wear something in between a ball gown & hoe-down clothes, or jeans are OK as long as they don’t have holes). Several years ago, I received my first confusing invitation asking me to wear “Cocktail Attire.” I thought cocktails were something you drink, not wear. But we figured that out and didn’t look too out of place, I hope.
Next came “Resort Casual”. Once again, I was stymied……a bathing suit? fishing gear? Bermuda shorts with flip flops and a big-brimmed sun hat? That’s what I would wear at a resort if I was feeling casual. Luckily Jim could get guidance on this one from someone who knew the code, presumably because Ben grew up in fancy Charleston Society instead of Venado Lakes where anything above & beyond cut-off jeans would elicit a “whooooaaa, aren’t YOU stuck-up?” and probably a push off the dock into the lake, or at least a beer-dowsing.
The male version of these tricky dress codes is usually much easier than the female version. If you’re not sure, bring the tie & jacket and once you see what everyone else has on you can dump one or both. But “Resort Casual,” turned out to be pretty specific for men, while women had more freedom. I have never seen more men in khakis, pastel shirts with no tie opened just a bit at the top,and blue blazers in one place at one time in my entire life, and I’m not sure I ever want to again. However, Jim did get a new pink shirt out of the deal even though he did not get to wear his favorite sandals and dark socks combination.
No sooner had we mastered Resort Casual than I was faced with “Dressy Casual”. Huh? Which is it…..dressy or casual? A nice dress with tennis shoes? Your best sparkly track suit? And “Festive”? Does that involve a grass skirt or Sombrero? I’ve also done “Smart Casual”. And did you know the definition of “informal” changes depending on whether its day or night?
Now, I have another invitation for another
obligatory really exciting and awesome fundraising event. And here is where the new learning comes into play. For this one we are supposed to wear “Cozy Casual.” My immediate thought was that I need to get a Snuggie.
Then I thought I’d better Google “Cozy Casual”, just to make sure. The Internet isn’t giving me much help with this one. One of the first links that came up was for an actual “Cozy Casual” store. They won’t let me download their copyrighted images, but trust me when I say I can’t really imagine the Fundraising moms having these clothes in mind when they decided on cozy casual. And besides, its too cold for lacy tank-tops over zebra-striped leggings and I can’t afford the black leather jacket with all the zippers.
So moving on to the next Google results……perfect, here’s an article from New York about the cozy casual clothes at a fashion show. If I can just follow their guidelines, I’ll show up looking like a suave and sophisticated, ultra-chic “Cozy Casual” expert. Except I can’t understand a damn word it says: A girlishness and eclecticism are pervading some of the major labels of the week. At DKNY, Donna Karan crossed Bauhaus grid patterns and Deco florals with equestrian and haberdashery influences and gave it all a naughty schoolgirl spin. Skirts were micro short or mini kilts, paired with a man’s overcoat cropped to jacket length, and worn with ankle socks and platform brogues. But there was nothing too junior about the blanket trench trimmed in leather, the collage sweaters and hip tie dresses and the silver-painted faux fur coat. Too cool for school.