What to Wear? Dress Code Decoded

The invitation description is crystal clear (NOT!) What do you wear to this bar mitzvah???  Never fear! Here’s the lowdown on dressing down -and up – according to invitation wording.

CASUAL
Casual means relaxed, but it’s still a party, people! Swap heels for cute flats and think “day dress” vs. evening wear. Even separates (skirts and nicer-than-usual tops) are fair game. Men can wear a golf shirt or button down (no tee shirts!) and khakis. Jeans are wearable, too, only if they’re hole-free and not faded/stained.

DENIM & DIAMONDS/ JEANS & BLING
Jeans are a given, but not head to toe. Choose one dark denim piece (jeans, top or jacket) and pair with a more glam item of clothing, like a fabulous designer blouse, red-carpet worthy necklace, or sparkly mini-skirt. Men’s denim should be sharp, not sloppy, with a button down or “date night” shirt.

NO JACKETS, NO JEANS – DRESS IN BETWEEN/ DRESSY CASUAL
Jackets and ties are not expected for men, so a dress shirt and khakis is the way to go. Women get the WIDE open range from business casual to party attire. Choose cocktail pants and a sparkly top, or a dress that you’d feel comfortable wearing during the day as well.

DRESSY ATTIRE/ DRESS TO IMPRESS/ FESTIVE/ PARTY ATTIRE

A cocktail dress or party separates in bright colors are completely appropriate, or add some bling to brighten an LBD (little black dress.) Men can wear a sport coat and slacks with an open collar or a bright tie.

COCKTAIL/ EVENING/ SEMI-FORMAL

For women, this note is much the same as dressy attire, although you could go long as well as short in the cocktail dress department. The bigger difference here is for men, who should go with a dark suit, dress shirt and tie.

BLACK TIE/ BLACK TIE OPTIONAL

This is the dressiest of dressy occasions, so go for it in a floor length gown or extra fabulous cocktail dress. Just remember to choose a dress you can dance in. Men, get out the tux, if you’ve got one. If not, choose a dark suit, white shirt, and the most formal of ties and shoes.

If the invitation goes beyond these commonly seen descriptors and you’re still at a loss as to what to wear, reach out to the hosts, or (if you’re not close to them) check with a mutual friend who’d be in-the-know. And remember, most style and etiquette experts agree it’s better to be overdressed than underdressed for any celebratory occasion!

Need more Mitzvah style inspiration? Check out our Dress Code Decoded board on Pinterest!



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