Cozy Casual

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.

Jim at his first Cocktail Party

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.

My idea of resort casual

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.

The best I can surmise, I’m supposed to wear a way too-short skirt with horses and stand on a platform speaking with an Irish accent.  Given the length of the uniform skirts I’ve seen on some of the girls at school,  that might be right.  And based on the pictures of the models, I’m also not supposed to brush my hair and I need to stock up on ghoul-white Halloween make up.

Looking all Cozy and Casual

Oh good, I think I already have this outfit in my closet

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12 Comments

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12 responses to “Cozy Casual

  1. This is the funniest post I’ve seen since you tried to get the Obama’s to adopt your dog! Afraid I can’t help you there.

    My first faculty social event at Mary Baldwin was a “garden party reception.” My mom happened to be visiting and insisted I needed a tea length dress for such an occasion. Let’s just say I couldn’t imagine many female professors owning tea length dresses, let along wearing them on a day otherwise packed with committee meetings. I wound up calling the Dean’s secretary to make sure; I think she thought I was crazy.

  2. I am so glad I live in California! Two dress codes: beach & formal 😉

    I would be as utterly confused as you and I also immediately thought “Snuggie Party!” when first reading Cozy Casual.

  3. Gwen

    You are clearly moving in a different kind of circle than we are.

  4. Jean

    So what is dressy casual? My 30 years high school reunion is in August. I have NO idea what to wear. I work at home. Casual is working in my pjs. Dressy is jeans and a t-shirt. I don’t think that’s what they mean. In August, the temperature is likely to be in the 80s to 90s at night, too.

    • lewis1212

      No jeans, no shirts with writing. Cropped pants (just above ankle length or so) with a sparkly top (or look for a set…its nice when they put it together for you), or a sleveless dress with sandals (I’d wear a light sweater or colorful jacket over the dress because no one wants to see my fat jiggly arms). A pedicure and jewelry are also musts for dressy casual.

  5. Lisa Heller

    Hilarious, Marcia! I think you’ve gone high faluttin (I have no idea how to spell that) since you’ve left the Fort. I’ve not attended near as many events as you are describing!

  6. CT Mom

    That is so funny, Marcia! Cozy casual? I’ve never heard of it either and business casual is about as dressy as I want to go…

  7. Sheila Holdford

    I am rolling on the floor laughing….. cozy casual is a new one for me, too. however, I got a bright pink Snuggy for Christmas— I figure if you wear it anywhere except for snuggling on the sofa—- then you need 2— one for the back and one for the front. I’m just sayin’

  8. Rachel

    If I read Cozy Casual I think I’d figure fuzzy slippers were a must. I wouldn’t have guessed short skirts…

  9. Mel

    How is being barely clad cozy for the women? Maybe its when the men cozy up to you to enjoy the micro skirts..

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